Quarenghi, Giacomo Antonio Domenico

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Quarenghi, Giacomo Antonio Domenico (1744–1817). Bergamo-born architect, working in Russia from 1779, who united developing Russian Classicism, Palladianism, and burgeoning Neo-Classicism. His first significant known work, the reconstruction of the Benedictine Church of Santa Scolastica, Subiaco, near Rome (1769–77), is a clever variant on the interior of Palladio's Il Redentore. After a spell designing for English clients (e.g. an altar for the chapel at Wardour Castle, Wilts (1772–4) ), Quarenghi left for Russia (where he was patronized by Empress Catherine II (1729–96) ): there he became a prolific designer, working on the grandest of scales in an impressive Neo-Classical style, and creating a series of important buildings in and around St Petersburg. At the English Palace, Peterhof (1781–9—destroyed), and the Hermitage Theatre (1782–7), for example, he employed a monumental Palladianism, and in both the State Bank (1783–90) and Academy of Sciences (1783–9), St Petersburg, he exploited monumental colonnades set against simple unadorned stark elevations. Precision, clarity, and severity were to predominate as his French-inspired Neo-Classicism developed: examples include the Imperial Pharmacy, St Petersburg (1789–96), Jusopov Fontanka Palace (1789–92—with semicircular courtyard), and Alexandrovsky Palace, Tsarskoe Selo (1792–6—with small courtyard embellished with two elegant Corinthian colonnades set within the main courtyard). With M. F. Kasakov and Ivan Petrovich Argunov (1727–1802) he designed the Sheremetev Palace, Ostankino (1791–8), in which Palladianism and the grandest Neo-Classicism merge.

Quarenghi used Greek Doric for his Horse Guards Building (1804–7), and Roman Imperial architecture for his Narva triumphal arch (1814), which draws on the Antique Roman arches of Titus and Constantine and the refinements of Percier and Fontaine's Arc du Carrousel in Paris. His work, which defined the heroic and severe character of early C19 St Petersburg, laid down the direction for the development of Russian Neo-Classicism. Many of his designs were published in 1810 and 1821.


Burini (ed.) (1995);
CoE (1972);
G. Hamilton (1983);
Korshunova (1986);
Meeks (1996);
Middleton & and Watkin (1987);
Placzek (ed.) (1982);
Quarenghi (1821, 1994);
Jane Turner (1996);
Zanella (1988)