Author Topic: Catherine Palace Restoration  (Read 99737 times)

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Offline ArchitectCS

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Re: Catherine Palace Restoration
« Reply #45 on: October 22, 2008, 01:58:54 PM »
Thanks so much for the link-fascinating stuff!  Just from looking at some of the pictures of the paint scrapings, it looks like the palace was originally a darker blue (sort of an azure) than what is used today.  That, along with the gilding, should be pretty spectacular.

Does anyone have good pictures of any of the newly restored rooms?  I've seen some bits of the second and third anterooms, but nothing all that substantial.  I'd love to know how Catherine the Great's rooms are coming, as well as the work on the chapel.


Offline Douglas

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Re: Catherine Palace Restoration
« Reply #46 on: October 22, 2008, 05:10:57 PM »
Easier way to translate web page from Russian to English:

Go to Google Translate....Text and Web.   Enter the URL of the Web page and language you wish to translate to.  Click...a near perfect translation will appear for you.

I did it and it works great.

Douglas....Los Angeles

Offline G.Michael

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Re: Catherine Palace Restoration
« Reply #47 on: November 14, 2008, 07:47:25 PM »
The Italian team leading the restoration effforts uncovered the original blue of the palace . . . .

Was blue really the original color? I've seen a painting of the palace that makes it appear a more traditional stucco color, a dull yellow or cream (although I can't figure out how to post the image).


Offline ArchitectCS

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Re: Catherine Palace Restoration
« Reply #48 on: November 17, 2008, 07:45:14 AM »
I remember reading in a book once that the Catherine Palace was originally yellow, but the book didn't cite a source and wasn't very scholarly.  I assumed it was a mistake.  G.Michael, if you want to send me the picture, I can post it for you.

Chad

Offline ArchitectCS

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Re: Catherine Palace Restoration
« Reply #49 on: November 17, 2008, 12:23:58 PM »

Here is the photo G.Michael was talking about (and thanks for sending it to me!)



The palace is indeed a shade of pale yellow.  I can't imagine how different the palace would look with this color scheme, but I have to admit, I prefer the blue.  I wonder if Catherine the Great changed the color?  You can see the church wing has been extended and the statues are no longer on the roof, so the image must be from her reign or later. 

I seem to recall an engraving or watercolor of the Winter Palace with a somewhat similar color scheme as well.


Offline Cathy

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Re: Catherine Palace Restoration
« Reply #50 on: November 18, 2008, 02:12:52 PM »
I think that Rastrelli remodelled the Winter Palace (he completed the previous reincarnation under Empress Anna) and completed it just after the death of Elizabeth in 1762. Under Rastrelli it was painted yellow and white. He then went on to create other palaces in St. Petersburg and the Catherine Palace in TS so it would not surprise me the learn that he had it painted yellow and white too.

Offline ArchitectCS

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Re: Catherine Palace Restoration
« Reply #51 on: November 18, 2008, 02:24:55 PM »
The only thing I find hard to believe would be how truly blinding the palace would be.  The roof was some sort of silvery material, and all the trim and statues were gilded (which was not done at the Winter Palace, to the best of my knowledge).  Combine that with a white and yellow color scheme and on a sunny day the palace would be absolutely blinding.  In all honesty, I am a huge Rastrelli fan, but all that would be too much even for me.  The blue is an elegant choice and helps to 'cool' the palace, so to speak.  I can't wait to see it all redone-the blue and gold should be dazzling. 

Offline Cathy

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Re: Catherine Palace Restoration
« Reply #52 on: November 19, 2008, 07:53:35 AM »
I have seen the Catherine Palace 'in real life' 3 times now. Each time the colour blue has been a different shade (at least in part) and the gilding has been different tones. There was still much to do in 1996 because the back sections had not been restored completely. In 2006, the blue was lovely but the gold was very strong and bright. Now, in 2008, the blue is not as pretty as it was in 2006 but the gilding has been toned down to a dull colour which I like better. Not all mind you - the roof is bright.
The Smolny has been (and actually still is) many shades of different blues.
I loved the shade of blue of St. Nicholas Cathedral the best but even it changes with every painting.
I love seeing pictures of the Winter Palace, Peterhof and the Anichkov in dark red but I like the current colours best.
I've seen the Stroganov green and pink and I liked the green best but my Russian friends like the pink.
I would love to see a picture of the Winter Palace in yellow.
I LOVE the many colours in St. Petersburg. 
They repaint buildings a lot!!!

Offline G.Michael

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Re: Catherine Palace Restoration
« Reply #53 on: November 19, 2008, 08:54:33 PM »
The only thing I find hard to believe would be how truly blinding the palace would be. 

A quote from AlexanderPalace.org:

"The contemporaries were literally blinded by the magnificence of the adornment, marvels about the palace were related, saying even, that its roof was made of gold. The story is told, that when the Empress Elizabeth arrived with the whole of her court and the foreign ministers to inspect the finished palace, everyone, struck by its splendor, hastened to express his enthusiasm; the French ambassador alone did not say a word; the Empress remarking his silence, desired to know the reason of his indifference; he answered, that he did not see the most important thing, 'a casket for this jewel'."


Offline G.Michael

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Re: Catherine Palace Restoration
« Reply #54 on: November 19, 2008, 10:26:14 PM »
For what it's worth, "A History of Russian Architecture," by William Brumfield, 1993, seems to offer contradicting evidence. In one paragraph about the original appearance of the palace, we find a description of "gilded atlantes supporting white columns against a turquoise background." But later in the very same paragraph, we find a quote from an English traveler, William Coxe, who saw the palace soon after it was completed. Coxe describes "a brick edifice stuccoed white."

Can we reconcile a "turquoise background" with "stuccoed white?"


Offline Douglas

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Re: Catherine Palace Restoration
« Reply #55 on: November 19, 2008, 10:37:22 PM »
I suppose one could figure that the new 'white stucco'  was later painted 'turquoise'.  At least that would make sense.

Offline Nick_Nicholson

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Re: Catherine Palace Restoration
« Reply #56 on: November 20, 2008, 07:38:34 AM »
When he says "Stuccoed white" he simply means that the brick was covered with a final coat of white plaster.  That is a mention of construction method, rather than a comment on the building's decoration.  White stucco was always a ground for a painted finish.  In italy, stucco was often pink or ochre, which was intended as a final decorative finish. 

Also, that picture of the Catherine Palace is misleading.  The "Yellow" that people see is actually the yellow paint that the artist used to show the gilded window surrounds, lintels, and caryatids that cover the surface of the building.  If you look at the right hand side of the picture, you can clearly see the blue-painted capital bases, stairs,and hints of wall.  It is the perspective that makes the building appear yellow (gold)  I think the yellow haze was the artist trying to show how brilliantly gold the surface of the building was.
Nick Nicholson
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Offline Nick_Nicholson

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Re: Catherine Palace Restoration
« Reply #57 on: November 20, 2008, 07:40:41 AM »
Finally, that watercolor dates from the 1830's or 40's (look at the carriages and costumes) and we know that the palace was blue at that point.
Nick Nicholson
New York City

Offline Cathy

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Re: Catherine Palace Restoration
« Reply #58 on: November 22, 2008, 02:25:13 PM »
I think that Nick is right - if one looks at the watercolour painting on the cover of the book Tsarskoe Selo, The Imperial Summer Residence, 2005 Alfa-Colour Art Publishers, one can see the yellow between the white pillars but as a closer image to the eye - the blue is clearly visible on most of the palace. I think that it is only there to clearly show the pillars.

It is common in Russia for many buildings (from homes to offices to palaces) to be constructed in brick, covered in a white stucco or cement-like stuff :-) and then painted the famous pastel or the darker shades and colours.

Has anyone ever seen an image of the winter palace in yellow?

Offline G.Michael

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Re: Catherine Palace Restoration
« Reply #59 on: November 23, 2008, 01:11:32 AM »

Has anyone ever seen an image of the winter palace in yellow?

Yes, I have a couple of images lurking somewhere in the depths of my collection. Let me dig around for them.

As for the above-posted image of the Catherine Palace, if the artist didn't intend to depict the exterior colors as yellow and white, then I hope he flunked art school. He may have been looking at a blue palace, but he painted a yellow one.