Biographies Russian Architects 18th Century Johann Gottfried Schädel

Johann Gottfried Schädel

Born: circa 1680, Wandsbek (Holstein)
Died: 1752, Kiev

Johann Gottfried Schädel was born circa 1680 in the town of Wandsbek near Hamburg. In 1712, he was offered employment by Prince Alexander Menshikov, who was with the Russian army in Pomerania and planning his own palace. From 1716 onwards, Schädel worked exclusively on Menshikov’s palaces on Vasilyevsky Island, in Oranienbaum and on Kotlin island.

Schädel appears to have signed a one-sided contract with Prince Menshikov. Despite his many petitions and official complaints, the architect was refused permission to return to his homeland. He was bound to his projects like a galley slave and often deprived of his modest salary of three hundred roubles. This was very typical of Menshikov, who was a law unto himself. The prince’s hold over Schädel was possibly down to the fact that he was not a famous or independent architect, and only employed to complete the plans of others.

Schädel eventually moved to Kiev, where he designed the belltower of the St Sophia Cathedral and the Theological Academy. He died there in 1752.

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