Artistry, craftsmanship and history come together

The good people at Dark Roasted Blend have published a very interesting article about the Royal Residence of Tsar Alexis I in Kolomenskoye, Moscow. Here’s an excerpt.

Tzar Alexey Mikhailovich ordered his royal estate (formally called the “Summer Palace”) to be built in 1667, high over the banks of Moscow river in Kolomenskoye – and it was designed and built by two genius carpenters Senka Petrov and Ivashka Mikhailov: self-taught, without a single saw, or a nail!

The original 17th-century Summer Palace (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

This fantastic ménage of fairy-tale shapes, inspiring textures and architectural influences spanning the West, the East and the Phantasmagorical, was rightly called “The Eighth Wonder of the World” after its completion – and sure enough, it stood on almost equal terms with European palatial and garden masterpieces of the time… all the while managing to look and feel completely different, completely Russian and completely amazing.

. . .

… the glory days of Russian baroque were short and soon replaced by the strict Neo-Classical manner. Sure enough, the old Russian romantic fairy tale style was replaced by significantly more subdued (and should we say “boring”) palace… and the wooden wonder residence was demolished to clear space for it.

The only thing left behind was the wooden model… a very intricate and detailed model, mind you, which ultimately enabled modern Russian architects to recreate the palace.

Model of the Summer Palace

As a testament to new-found Russian pride in their past and imperial culture, and obviously thanks to the more affluent coffers of the Moscow government, a good thing took place in 2009… an unexpectedly good thing: the palace was to be restored, in full detail, to former royal glory of Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich’ times.

And this is how it looks now:

There’s much more at the link, including many more photographs. They make fascinating viewing! I hate to think how much this reconstruction must have cost, but I have to admit, as a piece of recreated history, it takes some beating . . .


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