Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
Russian architects of the second half of the 18th century considered the spread of the Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio’s ideas their aim and duty: “Let there be Palladian fancy in my homeland” — Nikolai Lvov wrote. During the last decades the problem of the great Italian architect’s influence upon both Russian masters and foreign ones working in Russia was reviewed many times in art history studies. However, the problem of the “Palladian fancies” of the palaces and country houses owners has been somewhat overlooked; this theme was indirectly considered in the studies dedicated to the artistic patronage of some famous aristocratic families’ members.
The Razumovskys were famous for their building passion — they commissioned numerous palaces and country houses. Art historians have noted different features of Palladian architecture in the Razumovsky palaces while examining them as part of various prominent architects’ legacy. In this account we shall attempt to comprehend the part played by Palladian tradition in the formation of the Razumovsky family members’ artistic taste in the second half of the 18th century — beginning of the 19th century.
The palace of the former Ukrainian hetman Kirill Razumovsky in Baturin, most likely built after a design by Charles Cameron, became a textbook example of Palladian architecture. This building is the final result of Kirill Razumovsky’s building passion. However, the “Palladian fancy” is self-evident in his earlier architectural commissions — including Giacomo Quarenghi design for the Gostilitsi country house near St. Petersburg and the Baclan palace, an unknown architect’s creation. There is an opinion that the Baturin palace’s author might have been Adam Menelaws, who worked with Lvov and took part in the creation of yet another Kirill Razumovsky’s country house — Yagotin.
The undertaken research has revealed that the Razumovsky family members (Kirill Razumovsky among them) preferred the Italianate architectural tradition to all others — for instance, the “gothic style” which was rather popular during this period. Numerous buildings of this family in Moscow, Moscow Region, Ukraine and even the Viennese palace of Andrey Razumovsky are vivid examples of the “Palladian fancy” of their owners.