THON, Konstantin Andreyevich
(b. 1794, St. Petersburg, d. 1881, St. Petersburg)


Russian architect. He studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1803-15) under the Empire Style architect Andrey Voronikhin, best remembered for his work on the Kazan Cathedral, situated right in the middle of the Nevsky Prospekt. He studied Italian art in Rome from 1819 to 1828, and on his return home was admitted to the academy as its member (1830) and professor (1833). In 1854, he was appointed rector of the architectural division of the academy.

Thon was an official architect of Imperial Russia during the reign of Nicholas I. His major works include the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, the Grand Kremlin Palace and the Kremlin Armoury in Moscow.

In 1830, Thon completed his most ambitious design to date, that of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. The Russian-Byzantine Revival style of his project, intended to underline similarity of the new church with old cathedrals of the Moscow Kremlin, displeased many of his fellows, who wanted to see the cathedral built in the severe Neoclassical style. Nevertheless, the emperor personally approved his design. Thon and his disciples continued to work on the cathedral for the next 50 years, until the master's death in 1881.

From 1838 to 1851, Thon was employed in construction of the Neo-Russian Grand Kremlin Palace and the Kremlin Armoury in Moscow. The grandiose palace, famed for opulent interiors of its 700 rooms and halls, was meant to symbolize the grandeur of the Russian state. It was a daring design which incorporated parts of earlier structures that had been standing on the spot. The palace has served successively as an official residence for the Russian tsars, Soviet rulers, and the Presidents of the Russian Federation. At the same time, Thon rehabilitated the abandoned Izmaylovo Estate into an almshouse for the veterans of the Napoleonic Wars.

After the death of his patron, the Emperor, Thon's failing health prevented him from working on other projects apart from the great cathedral in Moscow.