Panorama of the Nevsky Prospect. Right, the shadow side

    Panorama of the Nevsky Prospect. Right, the shadow side

    Russia, St. Petersburg


    Watercolour painting: V.S. Sadovnikov;
    Lithographer : I. Ivanov;
    Editor: А.М. Prevo

    Paper; lithography, watercolours

    743 х 27 cm


    The horizontal plane features a continuous friso with panoramic view of the right shadow side of Nevsky Prospect covering the area from the Cabinet of His Imperial Majesty to Saint Isaac's Square including the Anichkov Palace, the Alexandrinsky Theatre, the Imperial Public Library, Gostiny Dvor, the City Duma, the Kazan Cathedral, the Stroganov Palace and the Police Bridge. The buildings facades pictured front-face on the Panorama show the development of the Prospect’s buildings in the second half of the 1820s; it depicts all “newest” changes in its image. The picture of the architectural landscape is complemented with numerous staffages of urban dwellers and street scenes adding natural character and agility to the panorama. The pictorial context of the panorama features the accuracy of depicting architectural structures, urban character types, numerous details (for example, sign-boards of the shops, offices, drug stores), making it “quite a valuable document of the epoch”.

    PANORAMA CONTENT (from left to right).

    The Panorama starts with the building known as “The Cabinet of His Imperial Majesty” built in 1805 after Giacomo Quarenghi’s project. Originally designed as a shopping center with a store on the ground floor and living quarters on the first floor the building was assigned for the needs of the palace administration, the so-called “Imperial Cabinet” in 1809, due to that it was rebuilt by architect L.Ruska (fragment 01/14).

    Further on a picture of the Anichkov Palace, is shown. The construction of this imperial palace started in 1741 in Saint Petersburg by architect M.G. Zemtsov and finished in 1751 by F.B. Rastrelli. Designed and constructed originally in the forms of the early baroque style the palace lost its original look in as early as in 1817 due to numerous alterations of architects Starov, Ruska and Rossi. And this is how it looks like on the Panorama by V. Sadovnikov (fragment 02/14).

    Two garden pavilions (1816-1818) closing the territory of the palace garden (fragment 02/14 – 3/14) built by architect K. Rossi, the author of the ensemble of the square in front of the Alexandrinsky Theatre located behind the Anichkov Palace. The new theater (1828-1832) presented not only drama, but also opera and ballet and became the composition center of the square the options of which were designed by R. Rossi in 1816-1827. The first staging of “The Government Inspector” by N.V. Gogol was performed there, plays “Maskarad” by M.Yu. Lermontov and many plays by I.S. Turgenev and A.N. Ostrovsky were staged there (fragment 03/14)..

    Almost at the same time with the theater construction, in the period from 1828 to 1834 K. Rossi built the building of the Public Library located to the right and perceived as part of its older structure located on the corner of Nevsky Prospect and Sadovaya Street (architect Е.Т. Sokolov, 1796-1801), its round façade shapes well this area of the prospect. I.A.Krylov, poet N.I.Gnedich (translator of “Iliad”), poets А.А.Delvig and V.F.Odoyevsky, critic V.V.Stasov (fragments 03/14-04/14).

    The picture of Gostiny Dvor continues the Panorama of Nevsky Prospect, its original project was designed in 1757 by architect F.B. Rastrelli and it featured rich ornamental decoration. Though it was approved by Empress Elizabeth, merchants did not agree with “great capital burdening” as the expensive construction was named in these documents. From 1761 to 1785 the construction works of Gostiny Dvor were run according to the design by architect Jean-Baptiste Michel Vallin de la Mothe who lay aside the pomp and ornamentality of the baroque forms and constructed the building in the classical style (fragment 04/14-05/14).

    Further on, the hexastyle portico with a triangle fronton (architect L. Ruska, 1802-1806) and a tall tower (architect D. Ferrari) overbuilt in 1825 on the site of the partially dismantled Silver Rows (G. Quarenghi, 1784-1787) are located. Originally the tower was used to transmit signals of the optical telegraph from the Winter Palace to Tsarskoye Selo and Warsaw, and from the 1840-s it was transformed into a watchtower. The building of the Silver Rows included City Duma with a huge hall that was used for concerts and literary soirees from the second half of the 19th century (fragment 06/14).

    Architect A.N. Voronikhin (a former serf of the counts Stroganovs') lived to left of the Kazan Cathedral in the corner house in Nevsky Prospect. His project was used to erect the Kazan Cathedral in 1801-1811 (that is linked naturally with the prospect via the grand wide semicircle of the colonnade) on the site of the dismantled private structures and stone church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin (1733-1737, architect M.G. Zemtsov). In 1813 field marshal M.I. Kutuzov was buried in the cathedral. It is where the banners of the defeated Napoleon army and keys from the cities and fortresses conquered by Russian troops were kept for a long time (since 1914 the major part of the war trophies were handed over to the State Historical Museum; fragment 07/14).

    To the right of the cathedral, on the corner of the Kazan Square and Nevsky Prospect the house for churchmen is depicted, which is a part of the Kazan Cathedral complex. Built in the period from 1813 to 1816 by V.P. Stasov it creates a logical transfer of the ceremonial square into the ribbon buildings of the prospect via its restrained architectural forms. Batenin porcelain shop was located on the ground floor of this house, it was famous for its “cleanliness and kindness”, as well as for moderate prices (fragment 08/14).

    Then we should mention the palace of count G.G. Stroganov (1752-1754, F.B.Rastrelli), the architectural structure which has survived to the present time. Built in the baroque style the palace was altered a little in the 1790-s by architect A.N. Voronikhin who re-located the main entrance of the palace from the yard to the Nevsky Prospect. A.S. Stroganov, a famous collector and President of the Academy of Arts, owned the house in the beginning of the 19th century (fragment 09/14).

    Next to Stroganov’s palace, there is a bridge across the Moyka river. Since 1777, it has been called the Police Bridge (due to its proximity to the house of general-chief of police on the opposite side of the river Moyka, as well as to the building of the Central Police Office). Built in 1720 it was originally a draw wooden bridge painted green and it was called “Green”. In 1806-1808 according to the project of V.I.Geste the wooden bridge was replaced by the cast-iron one with an original structure, the first one among single-type structures of this kind that were later widely used in Saint Petersburg (fragment 10/14).

    All along Nevsky Prospect, from Anichkov Palace to the Police Bridge with a break near the Kazan Cathedral small trees are depicted on the Panorama, they decorated the prospect until 1841. These five hundred trees were planted along the pavements in 1819, they replaced the plantings that existed along Nevsky since 1800 when there was an avenue in the center of the prospect, along banked ground, decorated with small linden trees on both sides.

    Next to the Police Bridge, there is a house that has survived to the present days, in the 18th century it was owned by N.I. Chicherin. In the beginning of the 19th century it was purchased by “a notable citizen”, A.S. Kossikovsky, whose initials «А.К.» can be seen on the corner round frontons of the building. This house is built on the site of the wooden palace of Empress Elizabeth constructed by F.B. Rastrelli in 1755. There was also a printing house and a bookstore of A.I. Plyushar (the editor of the first Russian encyclopedic dictionary) in the “House with Columns”; that was the name of the house of Kossikovsky in the 30s of the 19th century, and until 1826, there had been «Talon» restaurant mentioned by A.S. Pushkin in his novel “Evgeny Onegin”. In the second half of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin, F.M. Dostoyevsky, I.S. Turgenev were addressing the audience in this house that was called “The Hall of Noble Assembly” at that period (fragment 10/14).

    Further (to the right) on the Panorama there are several houses of which only one is extant at the present time, with a triangle fronton and balconies built in the first quarter of the 19th century according to the strict forms of classicism (architect V.I. Beretti, now it is House No. 13). A.S.Griboedov lived in this house at his friend's A.P.Zavadsky (fragment 11/14) and, according to the legend, wrote here some scenes of his comedy “Woe from Wit”.

    This is the end of the right shadow side of the Panorama depicting the Admiralty Building with the central tower decorated with a spire. Founded in 1704 at the beginning as a fortress and a shipyard, the Admiralty Building was changed twice: in 1732-1738 by I. Korobov, and in 1806-1823 by А. Zakharov. It is depicted on the Panorama after its second reconstruction. Near the Admiralty Building from the side of the prospect, there was an avenue with two small linden trees on both sides. It appeared in 1817 after the ditch was filled up and the dikes surrounding the previous construction were removed. Deep inside the Admiralty Square which since the 1820s became the place for public festivals at the Carnival and Easter weeks one can see the buildings of the Senate and Synod (К.Rossi, 1829-1834) and Horse Guards Manege (G. Quarenghi, 1804-1807); a bit to the left there is the Saint Isaac’s Cathedral (О.Montferrand, 1818-1858). When the Panorama was created the Senate and the Saint Isaac’s Cathedral were not completed yet. V. Sadovnikov depicted them in the picture as completed in order not to destroy the harmony of the festive view of Saint Petersburg center (fragment 14/14).


    The issue of the panoramic lithography of Nevsky Prospect was announced in “Literaturnaya Gazeta” No.15 in 1830: “The Panorama of Nevsky Prospect. Mr. Prevo, the Russian artists’ exhibition supervisor, gives this name to a number of lithographic pictures presenting churches, house and other architectural monuments located on Nevsky Prospect from the Anichkov Palace to the Admiralty Building. These pictures glued together make a scroll or a paper strip around ten arsheens long and six vershoks wide for one side and with the same dimensions of the other side of Nevsky Prospect.”

    Serf artist Vasily Semenovich Sadovnikov (1800-1879) was the author of the watercolour original; self studies and copying the watercolour works and lithographic pictures, life sketches of the architecture and staffage were the basis of his art education. In 1837 after the death of N.P. Golitsina he was liberated from his serf status and in the beginning of 1838 the Council of the Academy of Arts awarded him the title of unclassed artist.

    The first part of the Panorama of Nevsky Prospect (the right shadow part) was created seven years before V. Sadovnikov was awarded the title of the artist. Issuing the second part of the Panorama (the left sunny part covering the area from the Palace Square to the Anichkov Bridge) was held off till 1835. A.M. Prevo (1801-1867) was the publisher of the Panorama; he was the agent of the Artists Encouragement Society and the supervisor of its constant exhibition and sale. The namesakes Ivanovs were the lithographic artists. The first part was made by lithographer I. Ivanov and we have little information about him. The second part was made by P. Ivanov, the draftsman and the lithographer of the Military Printing House in Saint Petersburg.

    Contemporaries noted the accuracy and elegance of the Panorama and were buying it to decorate their houses or as gifts for friends and relatives. For example, in 1836 N.V. Gogol sent it from Saint Petersburg to his mother, back home.

    See: Kotelnikova I.G., Denisov Yu.M. Panorama of Nevsky Prospect by V.S. Sadovnikov. L., 1974.