Carlo Rossi bigraphy, stories - A Russian-Italian architect

Carlo Rossi : biography

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Carlo di Giovanny Rossi was born on 18 December of 1775 in Naples. Since 1787 together with his mother, Gertrude Rossi, who was a famous ballet dancer, and his stepfather, an outstanding ballet dancer, Charles Le Picq, he moved to Russia, Saint-Petersburg, where his step-father was invited to.

Being connected with arts since his childhood, Rossi studied architecture with the help of Vincenzo Brenna. In 1795 he started his education at Admiral Architect Board as a drawer. Since 1796 Rossi was Brenna’s assistant at Michailovsky palace building. In 1801 Carlo Rossi became an architect assistant of 10 class. In 1802 Rossi was for academic mission to finish his architect education in Italy. He spent two years there.

In 1806 Rossi became one of the architects of the Office. However, the first job he got was not a position of an architect but a place of a painter at porcelain and glass manufactures. In August of 1808 Rossi was sent to Moscow to the expedition of the Kremlin building. The buildings which were created by Rossi’s projects, such as new gothic Catherine’s church and the wooden theatre at Arbat square, didn’t remain. In 1809 Rossi was involved in reconstruction of the Putevoi palace of Catherine II in Tver.

In 1815 Rossi came back to Saint-Petersburg. In 1816 he was appointed to be a member of Building and hydraulic system committee. Reconstruction of Anichkov palace in 1816, a few pavilions, the library at Pavlovsky palace of 1815-1822, and Elagin palace with greenhouse and pavilions of 1816-1818, were the first of Rossi’s creation in Saint-Petersburg.

The main sphere of Rossi’s activity remained creating city architect groups. It was mostly thanks to Rossi that Petersburg obtained its new face, changing into the real centre of the giant empire, proud of its victory in the war with Napoleon. Rossi architecture had harmonic combination of forms, typical for architecture, forms of allegoric sculpture and innovatory structural methods (such as metallic overheads).

The outstanding architectural talent of Rossi was embodied in architect groups of Michailovsky palace with adjoining garden and the square (built in 1819-1825), Palace square with the splendid arched building of Principal Staff and Triumphal Arch (built in 1819-1829), Senate square with the buildings of Senate and Synod (built in 1829-1834), Aleksandryiskaya square with the buildings of Aleksandryisky theatre (1827-1832), the new building of Imperial public library with two similar lengthy buildings in Teatralnaya Street (now it’s called Rossi’s street).

Having had conflicts with emperor Nikolai’s circle, Rossi retired in 1832, quitting every architect activity. On the last Rossi’s buildings was the bell-tower for Yuriev monastery, built not far from Novgorod.

The architect died on 6 April 1849 in Saint-Petersburg. He was buried at Volkovo Lutheran cemetery. Later his remains were moved to necropolis of Aleksandro-Nevskaya lavra.

Carlo Rossi’s buildings were:

Catherine’s church in the Kremlin of 1808

Reconstruction of Putevoy palace of Catherine II in Tver (1809)

Reconstruction of Anichkov palace (1816)

A raw of pavilions and the library of Pavlovsky palace (1815-1822)

Elagin palace with the greenhouse and pavilions (1816-1818)

The architect group of Michailovsky palace with the surrounding garden and the square (1819-1825)

The architect group of Palace square with the buildings of the Principal Staff and Triumphal Arch (1819-1829)

The architect group of Senatskaya square with the buildings of Senate and Synod (1829-1834)

The architect group of Aleksandryiskaya square, the new building of the Imperial public library and the two prolonged buildings in Teatralnaya Street (today’s Carlo Rossi’s street) (1827-1832)

Bell-tower of Yuriev monastery (1841)

Rossi’s pavilion in Pavlovsk (which was the monument in the name of Maria Fedorovna) was built in 1913 with Rossi’s project of 1813. The architect was Schmitt and the sculptor Beklemeshev.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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