STAROV, Ivan
(b. 1745, St. Petersburg, d. 1808, St. Petersburg)

Exterior view

1783-89
Photo
Tauride Palace, St. Petersburg

Between 1783-89 Catherine II had one of the great monuments of Neoclassicism built for her favourite, Gregory Potemkin. After his success in annexing Crimea (Tauride), this Field Marshall was rewarded with the honorary title of Prince of Tauride and given a palace. For the first time in Russian palace architecture, the architect Ivan Starov separated state apartments from residential rooms, thus signaling a clear rejection of the Baroque. Rather than being situated along the main façade, the state rooms are located deep in the central axis. From a vestibule, entry is gained through an octagonal domed hall into a transverse gallery, and from there into a conservatory. The gallery was designed as a festival hall and was combined with a domed hall on the Roman model. The passageways and crosswalks to the main hall, which was oval in shape, were magnificently expressed in two open colonnades, each with 18 Ionic columns. High windows and a conservatory establish a relationship between the building and the surrounding nature.

The Tauride Palace served as the model for countless houses of the nobility built in and around St. Petersburg.