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

Friday, January 10, 2020

From the architect's hand - watercolors of the Livadia Palace by Nikolai Krasnov, before 1917


The Livadia estate became a summer residence of the Russian imperial family in the 1860s, when architect Ippolito Monighetti built a large palace, a small palace, and a church there. In 1894, Alexander III died in the small palace, and his successor later decided to replace the large palace with a new construction. (The small palace was destroyed by retreating Germans during World War II.) The architect Krasnov began work on designs beginning in 1909, and construction on a new white limestone palace began in April 1910. After seventeen months, and at a cost of about four million rubles, the palace was inaugurated on 11 September 1911. The Imperial family was thrilled with their new home and remained in residence during the fall of 1911; Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna celebrated her sixteenth birthday there with a grand ball held in her honor. They stayed again during the spring of 1912, the fall of 1913, and the spring of 1914. History - war and revolution - precluded any other visits. After the Tsar's abdication and imprisonment, there was some talk of exiling the imperial family to the Livadia estate, but that was not to be their well-known fate. The palace was later used as, variously, a "rest home for the workers", a tuberculosis sanitarium, and a mental institution. Famously, it was the site of the Yalta Conference held in 1945. Today, the 116 room palace - in good condition, but almost entirely bereft of its original furnishings - houses a museum devoted to both the imperial family and to the Yalta Conference.

Pre-Revolution photographs.


Nikolai Petrovich Krasnov (23 November 1864, Khonyátino village, now Stupinsky District, Moscow Oblast - 8 December 1939, Belgrade), Russian architect and painter. He began attending the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture at the age of twelve and later became the protegé of Sergei Tretyakov. In 1887, at the age of only twenty-three, he took up the post of Chief Architect in Yalta, a position he held with great success for twelve years. Even before his tenure ended there, he had taken private commissions from members of the Romanov family and the aristocracy; his largest and most famous design was for the new Livadia Palace for Nicholas II, completed in 1911. After the Revolution, he eventually settled in Belgrade, where he continued his work, designing many prestigious buildings, and where he is still revered.


These images were sourced from the website of author and publisher Paul Gilbert.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely watercolors, especially the way he dealt with the iron gate.