Petrine Baroque

Period: 1700s–1730s
List of representatives:
Ivan Nikitin
Kikin Hall, St Petersburg, 1714–20

Peter the Great wanted Russia to follow the common European path of political, economic and cultural development. The emperor invited many West European architects, sculptors, painters and applied artists to help create the new Russian capital of St Petersburg, founded by the tsar on the Gulf of Finland in 1703.

Each master working in St Petersburg introduced the traditions of his own country and school of architecture. The result was Early Russian or Petrine Baroque – a bewildering mixture of Italian Baroque, early French Rococo and Neoclassicism, Dutch civil architecture and several other styles and movements.

In this sense, Petrine Baroque is purely a nominal description and was not even strictly Baroque at all. This reflects the still unclear tendency of this early period before the subsequent evolution of Russian architecture into the High Baroque under Peter’s daughter Elizabeth in the middle of the eighteenth century.

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