Belgrade University, Serbia
Bound with Russia by Orthodox religion, Slavic origins and historical connections, Serbia readily sheltered vast Russian emigration caused by the October Revolution. Influencing the local architectural scene, prolific creative potentials and impeccable professional experience of Russian architects marked the shaping of the urban sceneries throughout Yugoslavia. An exceptional creative figure stands out in particular amongst the protagonists of Yugoslav interwar architecture, academician of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Arts, Nikolai Petrovich Krasnov.
Vast artistic production in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, which brought Krasnov closer to the professional beginnings in Crimea, represents the final phase of the architect’s career. After a number of flamboyant palaces designed for the Russian Imperial elite, versatile architect was once again put into service as an industrious, ever occupied state architect. Entwining Yugoslav architecture with the experiences of the fallen Empire, Krasnov’s extraordinary oeuvre of vibrant, mannerist forms elevated him to the international heights of the architecture of academism. Charismatic personality of a keen ear for the needs and wishes of his clientele, Nikolai Petrovich was extremely popular amongst the contemporaries, enjoying the favor of both Imperial Romanov and Royal Karadjordjevic families alike. Shaped by the unpredictable life path — raised in a modest, patriarchal environment; professionally and socially matured in contact with the Imperial elite; hardened by the trials of exile — Krasnov, without doubt, had a deep insight into human nature, a certain comprehension of a soul, which granted his art immortality.
With great responsibility for the legacy of Nikolai Krasnov, who indebted us with his significant contributions, landmarks of the twentieth century architecture of academism, we would like to incite the international audience to reflect upon the inspiring life path and prolific art of one of the most interesting, yet still not internationally recognized, Russian architects of the interwar period. Deepening the understanding of his intricate work, we would accentuate the interdependence of Krasnov’s architecture and his personality and unpredictable life path. Finally, comparing and analyzing chosen examples of Krasnov’s Crimea and Yugoslav architecture, we would present the broad range of Russian creative influences and discuss the relations between Russian and Serbian national artistic traditions.