This is the first book to show the development of Russian architecture over the past thousand years as a part of the history of Western architecture. Dmitry Shvidkovsky, Russia's leading architectural historian, departs from the accepted notion that Russian architecture developed independent of outside cultural influences and demonstrates that, to the contrary, the influence of the West extends back to the tenth century and continues into the present. He offers compelling assessments of all the main masterpieces of Russian architecture and frames a radically new architectural history for Russia.
The book systematically analyzes Russian buildings in relation to developments in European art, pointing out where familiar European features are expressed in Russian projects. Special attention is directed toward decorations based on Byzantine models; the heritage of Italian master builders and carvers; the impact of architects and others sent by Elizabeth I; the formation of the Russian Imperial Baroque; the Enlightenment in Russian art; and 19th- and 20th-century European influences. With over 300 specially commissioned photographs of sites throughout Russia and western Europe, this magnificent book is both beautiful and groundbreaking.
Dmitry Shvidkovsky is vice president of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts, and professor and head of the Department of the History of Architecture, Moscow Institute for Architecture. He is the author of The Empress and the Architect: British Architecture and Gardens at the Court of Catherine the Great, published by Yale University Press. Yekaterina Shorban is senior research fellow of the Department of the Register of Architectural Heritage, State Institute of Art History.