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Architect Bazhenov: interesting facts from life. The architecture of Moscow in the second half of the 18th century

The story of the architecture of the city of Moscow would be incomplete without mentioning the name of such an outstanding Russian architect as Vasiliy Ivanovich Bazhenov.

Gentle gothic - this is the style of most of Bazhenov's surviving creations. In this manner, the Tsaritsyno complex was built. Most of the buildings and structures were very damaged, but the restoration work carried out during the Soviet era and in the post-Soviet period helped to restore most of them.

Childhood and youth

The exact place and date of birth of Vasily Bazhenov is not known. He was born on March 1, 1737 or 1738, he died on August 2, 1799. The great Russian architect was from the family of a small church official. According to one information, he was born in Moscow, on other - in Maloyaroslavets, and moved to Moscow at the age of three months. In 1753, Vasily entered the discipleship of Dmitry Ukhtomtsev. He received his first lessons in architecture and construction. The future architect Bazhenov did not complete the full course of study, since the family's difficult financial situation forced him to quit his studies and go to work. In 1755 he began to study at Moscow State University. The first biographer Bazhenov, Kiev Metropolitan Eugene Bolkhovitinov, wrote that Vasily also studied at the Slavic-Greek-Latin Academy. Subsequent researchers this fact was refuted. Probably, in this way the cleric tried to raise the prestige of the educational institutions subordinate to him.

Manifesting talent

In 1758, Vasily Bazhenov, among the top 16 students on the recommendation of Ivan Shuvalov, was sent to St. Petersburg to the newly established Academy of Arts. His first exam talented student Vasily Bazhenov passed brilliantly and won first place in the ranking of progress. The chief architect of the Russian Admiralty, Chevakinsky, became the personal mentor of a very promising young man, very capable and intelligent.

Three years later Vasily Bazhenov and Anton Losenko became the first students of the Academy of Arts, awarded scholarships.

Further training in the craft took place in Paris in the workshop of Charles de Vaillie. Subsequently, the architect Bazhenov became the main propagandist of French neoclassicism in Russia and, according to the ideas of De Vaillie, established the stylistic canon of neoclassical Moscow.

He returned to Russia in May 1765 with brilliant reviews of his immaculate professional and moral qualities. Nevertheless, the new leadership of the Academy subjected his work to strict examination and demanded a new draft of the thesis . A young Russian architect was seen by Catherine II and her son Pavel. Heir to the throne commissioned Bazhenov project and construction of the mansion on Kamenny Island, and in 1766 Grigory Orlov entrusted him the erection of the Arsenal. This is the end of Vasily Ivanovich's activity in St. Petersburg. Architect Bazhenov moved to Moscow, where he lived and worked until the end of his life.

Kremlin Palace

Catherine proposed the idea of renovation of the dilapidated palaces of the Moscow Kremlin. Bazhenov enthusiastically set to work. Already in 1767, he presented to the highest consideration a fantastic project of the Grand Kremlin Palace. Orlov doubted the feasibility of building such a huge building, but the architect in his vision of the Imperial residence remained adamant and by the end of the summer of 1768 completed the creation of the project. According to his plan, the largest palace complex in Europe, executed in the style of neoclassicism, was to turn out. He had to replace the old Kremlin completely. In the unchanged form it was planned to preserve only cathedrals that were not visible from the side of the river, for they were obscured by the walls of the future palace. According to the plan, the entire southern side, that is, the six-hundred-meter wall from the Konstantinovskaya tower in the east to Borovitskaya in the west and further along the western wall of Arsenal to the north, was to occupy a new four-story palace. His Bazhenov planned to place directly on a steep slope between the plateau and the Kremlin wall, which was supposed to be demolished. The architect provided for the laying of stone buttresses to prevent the building from slipping into the river. It was planned to strengthen the shore in bulk and tarred logs.

According to the project, the historic cathedral square was preserved, and in the eastern part of the Kremlin it was necessary to break a new one. It was to begin the new radial streets going from the center to the north, north-west and north-east. From the palace there was an exit to Tverskaya Street. The implementation of the project was to be the beginning of the modernization of all of Moscow. In 1775, together with the efforts of Peter Kozhin and Nikolai Legrand, the plan was formally approved.


In the summer of 1775 Bazhenov developed the first project Tsaritsyno, which has not survived to the present day. Bazhenov's buildings were a coordinated complex of separate buildings in the Russian neoclassical style. After the completion and coordination with the Empress, this plan was approved. The dominant object was to become a palace consisting of two buildings connected by a greenhouse. One wing was intended for Catherine, and the second - for her son and heir Paul. As a design, traditional Russian colored tiles with ornaments were planned. Catherine objected and insisted on a simpler version - the walls of red brick with white ornaments and yellow glazed roof tiles.

Bazhenov began the construction of the complex from the front row of small buildings, gates and bridges, decorated with a fine elegant finish, which was later lost. In 1776 the decorative Figured Bridge across the ravine was finally completed. The work went hard because of the lack of highly qualified masters and interruptions in financing.

In 1777 Bazhenov demolished the old wooden house of the former owners of the manor and began the construction of the main palace. He was erected for eight years. To the two main buildings was added one more - central, for Paul's children. Governor Jacob Bruce, who examined Tsaritsyno in 1784, was puzzled by the absence of the main, official building. But he nevertheless sent an ecstatic report to Catherine.

Termination of work on the Tsaritsyn project

In June 1785, Catherine unexpectedly visited Tsaritsyno and remained dissatisfied with the slow pace of work. The Empress's palace was rated as unfit for living: very dark rooms, low ceilings, narrow staircase. This year the relationship between Catherine and Paul irreversibly deteriorated. The Empress dealt with the issues of succession to the throne. And the twin palaces became a politically incorrect phenomenon. Catherine ordered to demolish the buildings and erect a new main palace. Bazhenov and Kazakov were ordered to develop new projects. Architect Bazhenov presented his project by the end of 1785, but he was rejected, and Vasily Ivanovich was dismissed. Ekaterina chose Kazakov's project. The palace of Bazhenov was demolished in the summer of 1786. There is an opinion that Catherine did not accept the Bazhenov project because of Masonic symbols and Gothic style. This can not be true, as Kazakov in his projects preserved and repeated Gothic and Masonic symbols.

Kitchen cabinet

In Tsaritsyno one more building of Bazhenov - the kitchen building, or the Bread house - has been preserved. This square building with rounded corners was originally intended for kitchens, storeroom-storerooms and dwelling for servants. The entrances to it are made from the inside - so that servants and various economic movements do not come to the attention of the guests and owners of the estate. In the basement of the white stone lined with glaciers, which perfectly keep the temperature. The whole facade is decorated with various symbols: loaves of bread with saltcellars, garlands of wine glasses, Masonic rulers, etc. Currently, the Bread House is used for concerts and other cultural events. Sometimes it hosts banquets.

Middle Palace

The opera house, or the Central Palace of Catherine, with two-headed eagles on the facade parapets was originally intended to be used for small official receptions, as well as for concerts and performances in the summer. For a very long time the palace was not used. Only walls remained of him. In 1988, eight years of restoration work began. Fine acoustics of the building allows you to conduct concerts in it. There are also exhibitions of works of art.

Pashkov House

Vasily Bazhenov is an architect who created one of the world famous symbols of Moscow. This is the Pashkov House built in 1785-1786. The recognizable structure can often be found in paintings, prints, postcards, postage stamps, boxes of sweets, etc. After withdrawing from the project "Tsaritsyno" Vasily Ivanovich Bazhenov began to take private orders from wealthy Muscovites. So, on Vagankovskom hill he built a magnificent palace of white stone for captain-lieutenant of the Semyonovsky regiment and his wife. The facade of the building looks in the direction of Starovagankovsky alley, and the back side is facing the Kremlin. It is assumed that in this way the architect demonstrated to the Empress his resentment for Tsaritsyno.

After the death of the childless Pashkov owners, the house was inherited by a distant relative who, happily marrying a rich bride, the daughter of a gold miner, was able to keep the structure in order. Subsequently, Pashkovs sold the house to the treasury.

Revival of the Russian style in architecture

Adherent of the neoclassical Russian architectural school, graphic artist, architect and teacher Vasily Bazhenov and his colleagues and students Matvei Kazakov and Ivan Starov created the Russian national architectural language interrupted by Peter I. At that time, Rinaldi, Cameron and others.

The sad fate of a talented architect

The early manifestation of the talent of the architect led Bazhenov to the circle of rich, power-ridden magnates and politicians-courtiers. Inexperience in commerce and diplomacy led to tragedies in the personal and professional life of Vasily Ivanovich. Two of his main building projects were abandoned for political or financial reasons. He failed to implement his project for the reconstruction of the Grand Kremlin Palace. The Imperial Palace in Tsaritsyno, which was to become the core of the entire Tsaritsin complex, was destroyed by Catherine II. Another project, the building of the Moscow State University, was the occasion for an acute conflict with the former benefactor of the architect, Prokofy Demidov, and led Bazhenov to complete bankruptcy. Before his death Vasily Ivanovich was most worried about the fate of his children, because he was afraid that they would not be involved in the construction business, which he considered dishonest and treacherous.

The Legacy of Bazhenov

The legacy of Bazhenov is still not fully understood. There are doubts about the authorship of some objects attributed to him. In particular, as to whether Bazhenov-architect Pashkov House was building? There is an opinion that this is the work of his students, whom he prepared a lot during the years of teaching at the Academy of Arts. After the death of Catherine, Paul I appointed Vasily Ivanovich Vice-President of the Academy. Many researchers have studied his heritage, in particular Igor Grabar, Shvidkovskiy DO. Thanks to them, much, though not all, became clearer. In "Notes on the sights of Moscow" Karamzin compares the projects of Bazhenov with the Republic of Plato and the utopia of Thomas More. Maybe that's why they were not implemented.

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