Alexander Brullov

Born: 1798, St Petersburg
Died: 1877, St Petersburg

Architect, painter, draughtsman, lithographer, illustrator, applied artist, teacher. Elder brother of Karl Brullov, half-brother of Fyodor Brullov, brother-in-law of Pyotr Fyodorovich Sokolov. Great-grandson of Hans Georg Brüllo, an ornamental sculptor descended from a family of French Huguenots (Brulleau) who emigrated to Lüneburg in Lower Saxony (1685) and moved to St Petersburg to work at the Imperial Porcelain Factory (1773). Born on Vasilyevsky Island in St Petersburg (1798) to Paul Brüllo (academician of ornamental sculpture) and his second wife Maria-Elisabeth Schroeder (daughter of a court gardener). Studied art under his father at home and architecture under Andrei Mikhailov at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1810–21). Awarded a minor silver medal (1816), major silver medal (1819) and a first-class certificate (1820). Worked on the reconstruction of St Isaac’s Cathedral (1821–22) and contributed three lithographs to Views of St Petersburg and Environs (1821–26). Granted permission to change his surname to Brullov (1822). Travelled with his brother Karl to Italy as a fellow of the Society for the Encouragement of Artists (1822). Visited Riga, Memel, Königsberg, Berlin and Dresden (1822) and spent four months in Munich (1822–23), where he studied Gothic architecture and attended evening classes at the Königliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste. Toured Venice, Padua, Verona, Mantua and Bologna and arrived in Rome (1823). Visited Sicily (1824) and Naples (1824), where he painted watercolour portraits of the royal family and restored the Pompeii baths (1824–26). Lived and worked in Paris (1826–29), where he studied engraving and published Les thermes de Pompéi (1829). Visited London and Switzerland (1827). Painted watercolour portraits of Sir Walter Scott (1827), Count Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias (1820s), Prince Pavel Lopukhin (1830) and Alexander Pushkin’s wife Natalia Goncharova (1831). Returned to St Petersburg (1829), where he was appointed court architect to Tsar Nicholas I (1830). Married Baroness Alexandrine von Rahl (1831), daughter of the tsar’s banker, Baron Alexander Franz von Rahl of Hesse-Kassel (1756–1832). Academician (1831), second-class professor (1832), first-class professor (1842), professor emeritus (1854). Corresponding member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, member of the Accademia di Belle Arti in Milan, full member of the Royal Institute of British Architects in London. Designed many buildings in St Petersburg, including the Mikhailovsky Theatre (1831–33), Lutheran Church of St Peter and St Paul on Nevsky Prospekt (1833–38), Pulkovo Observatory (1834–39), Guards Headquarters on Palace Square (1837–43), Alexandra Hospital (1844–50) and the Auxiliary Building of the Marble Palace (1845–50). Helped to restore the Winter Palace after the fire (1837), designing such interiors as the Pompeian Room, Malachite Room and the White Hall (1837–39). Rebuilt the Anichkov Bridge on Nevsky Prospekt (1839–41) and designed the gaslights and railings on the Annunciation Bridge over the River Neva (1842–50). Taught architecture at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1831–71). Spent the last years of his life studying mathematics, geology and science (1871–77). Died at the age of seventy-eight in his mansion at 21 Cadet Line on Vasilyevsky Island in St Petersburg and buried at Pavlovsk Cemetery (1877).

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