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Zoom lecture:
19th century St Petersburg : The Age of Classicism
Recorded: 20 Jan 2021
Jane Angelini

The Winter Palace
The Winter Palace    

The 19th century, unlike the previous one, is male dominated and there is often a militaristic note to the art and architecture of the period. Paul I built a castle in the centre of St Petersburg, a number of state rooms in the Winter Palace were designed for military parade, the carvings on the vast bronze statue erected in Novgorod to mark the centenary of the founding of the city are a hymn to triumphant militarism. In the wake of the 1812 Napoleonic invasion, Empire style became the de facto idiom and lasted throughout the century. It was hearsay that most of Europe's Empire style furniture ended up in Russia, such was the demand. It clearly suited the aspirations of the nobility. On the other hand, the 19thcentury is a troubled one, dominated by the need to reform the political structure of the country and the alternating fear over doing so. From the middle of the century this slightly ambivalent mood is increasingly reflected in all the arts, literature and music as well as pictorial art and architecture. The growing interest in Russia's Slavic roots leads to what is called the Slavophile movement, a reaction in many ways to the Westernising process begun by Peter the Great.  The Arts and Crafts movement set up at Abramtsevo, near Moscow, is a direct artistic offshoot of this.  By the end of the century the arts were moving in a number of interesting directions, usually close on the heels of the European avant garde but no longer dependant on foreign artists.

Length: I hour 

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