Petrine Baroque

Petrine Baroque (Rus. Петровское барокко) is a name applied by art historians to a style of Baroque architecture and decoration favoured by Peter the Great and employed to design buildings in the newly founded Russian capital, Saint Petersburg, under this monarch and his immediate successors.

Different from contemporary Naryshkin Baroque, favoured in Moscow, the Petrine Baroque represented a drastic rupture with Byzantine traditions that had dominated Russian architecture for almost a millennium. Its chief practitioners – Domenico Trezzini, Andreas Schlüter, and Mikhail Zemtsov – drew inspiration from a rather modest Dutch, Danish, and Swedish architecture of the time.

Petrobarok is the conditional title of architectural style in Russia in the first half of the 18th century. This is a regional historical style in Russian architecture from the time of Peter I and his direct descendants. The most typical buildings of this type are located in the former Russian capital of St. Petersburg, but many of their representatives are in the other big Russian cities.

The reforms of Peter I (1689-1725) affected fundamentally not only politics and the economy, but also art. The era of the petrobaro began to open Russia to the pan-European Hellenistic traditions that have shaped western art since the Renaissance.

In the early 18th century, Russian art had to turn from religious to secular, to learn new genres (portrait, still-life, landscape, etc.) and to find new themes (mythological and historical ). The history of art does not know a more acute twist from the Middle Ages to the modern times than in Russia in the early 18th century.

Restricted in the conditional time frames from 1697 to 1730, this style is a peculiar blend of Baroque styles of Swedish, German and Dutch architecture, of course, with a Russian flavor. There were many influences in it: Baroque, Rococo, Classicism. The style was created with the participation of many masters, mostly western Europeans, but at the will of a man – Peter I, who categorically imposed his personal tastes as decisive in his formation. Its first creator is the Swiss architect of Italian origin Domenico Trezini, first designer and chief architect of the newly built St. Petersburg. At that time there were almost no great Russian masters, and the king was forced to invite foreigners and to send abroad talents abroad.

The “St. Petersburg manner” in architecture, as they called it then, perceives the stylistic elements of the North Baroque – restrained, simple, rational, clear, calm and yet permeated by festive mood. It is characterized by balancing and strict symmetry of plans and volumes, relatively flat, non-luxuriant plastic, restrained use of decorative elements, multicolour and brightness on the facades as well as on the interior. It is only at the end of Peter’s rule that more decorative, subtle, and luscious elements become more widely embedded in the French baroque.

Unlike the popular Baroque period in Moscow (from the 1680s to the early years of 1700), which still includes elements of the Byzantine school, which dominated the Russian architecture for more than 700 years, the petrobaric is characterized by a definite break with these traditions. This was precisely one of the aims of the King’s Reformer – a final break with everything old and conventional – both in thinking, in everyday life, and in the visual space.

A quite peculiar combination of the elements of the Moscow and Petrograd baroque is noticed in the later Elisavetine baroque, which was characteristic of Empress Elizabeth I during the 40s and 60s of the 18th century in Russia. It is characterized by the unrivaled monumentality of the architectural forms, the heroisation of the images in order to glorify the imperial power, but also a certain recognition and a return to the more traditional forms of Byzantine style, manifested in the early Moscow baroque.

Extant examples of the style in St Petersburg are the Peter and Paul Cathedral (Trezzini), the Twelve Colleges (Trezzini), the Kunstkamera (Zemtsov), Kikin Hall (Schlüter) and Menshikov Palace (Giovanni Fontana)

The Petrine Baroque structures outside St Petersburg are scarce; they include the Menshikov Tower in Moscow and the Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn.

Source From Wikipedia