Russia Moscow Architecture Mansion Ryabushinsky Mansion

Ryabushinsky Mansion

Between 1900 and 1902, Franz Schechtel built a mansion in the Art Nouveau style at 6/2 Malaya Nikitskaya Street in Moscow for Stepan Ryabushinsky – a banker, patron and art collector. The architecture combines monumental forms with the refined decor and sense of intimacy encountered in many merchants’ houses in Moscow at the turn of the century. Many of these features are repeated in the interior decor.

The most remarkable aspect of the Ryabushinsky Mansion is the famous staircase of grey artificial marble. The flowing forms of the banister reproduce one of the most popular motifs in Art Nouveau – waves. An open arch joins the lower vestibule to the Dining Room, which is decorated in a similar style. Creating the sensation of one space flowing into another, Franz Schechtel added serpentine ribbon inlays to the standard factory-made parquetry at the point where the two architectural zones meet. Factory-made parquetry appears to have been laid in the other rooms.

In 1918, the Ryabushinsky Mansion was appropriated by the Bolsheviks and leased out to various Soviet institutions. In the 1930s, the Moscow authorities awarded the mansion to the proletarian writer Maxim Gorky, who had returned to Russia from Italy. After his death, the house was turned into a memorial museum.

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