L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Small Throne Room in the Winter Palace, two nineteenth-century views

Oil painting by Sergei Zaryanko, 1837.

Also called the Peter the Great Memorial Hall, the Small Throne Room was created in 1833 by architect Auguste de Montferrand; after most of the Winter Palace was destroyed by fire just four years later, the room was recreated by Vasily Stasov.

Watercolor by Edward Hau, 1863.

Sergei Zaryanko, see here.

Edward Hau, see here.


Interesting things often happen when G passes through the room and takes a peek at a post I'm working on.  Showing her these two images, I noticed that the reconstruction of this room wasn't as exact as I'd supposed.  The first painting must have been done before the fire; it's dated the same year.  The second painting, made twenty-six years later, shows - among other changes, certainly, that are not so obvious - a much grander chandelier; larger, more elaborate wall sconces; and most noticeably, twinned pilasters rather than singular ones.


  1. it's odd that in the 2 perspectives -the 1/2 domed niche also appears to have different proportions as well. Good catch on the twin pilasters and different chandeliers!

    1. Yeah, I wondered about the niche as well. I think it's a distortion on the part of the painter, though; if you use the later painting to gauge the proportions of the altar-like structure - retablo? - on the platform within the niche - and it's the same painting of Peter the Great, so it couldn't be that different - then there's no way that that structure could really be centered in the niche in the first painting. Also, the decoration within the half-dome doesn't line up with the understood apex of said half-dome. Hau is absolutely trustworthy as a draftsman, so it looks like Zaryanko just fussed - very cleverly - with the proportions so as to make a better composition. And he totally pulled it off; he's such a good painter, that you don't notice his fudging unless you - really - look for it. : )