winter palace
winter palace

At the centre of the new imperial capital was the Winter Palace, dominating the square and decked out by Bartolomeo Rastrelli with nearly two hundred roof-top sculptures.


winter palace

Statuary blends into gilded swirling paintings on plaster in Rastrelli’s characteristically ornate entrance from the square to the palace. Rastrelli’s architecture gave a secular majesty to imperial power. He brought the gold down and in from the domes of churches to highlight the decor in the main Jordan staircase of the Tsar’s glorious Winter palace.


winter palace

Rastrelli was a master in handling processional space. Guests would progress along a great pillared corridor, pass colourfully uniformed servants and then ascend the heroic Jordan staircase.



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