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Pavlovsk

Pavlovsk is a town situated in Russia, 30 km from and under jurisdiction of Saint Petersburg, just to the south of Tsarskoye Selo. Its population is of 14,960 (2002 census). The town developed around the Pavlovsk Palace, one of the most splendid residences of the Russian imperial family. It is part of the World Heritage Site Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments. At the end of the 1770s the twenty-five year-old Pavel, Catherine the Great son, acquired his own home, court and a second family. Catherine was, however, begrudging in assigning money to Pavel and his palace and often reproached the young couple for excessive expenditure. She did however invite the man who was later to become her favourite architect, Charles Cameron, to come from Scotland to construct a palace in Pavlovsk. Charles Cameron arrived in Russia in 1779. He was an ardent admirer of the great sixteenth century Italian architect Andrea Palladio, whose creations displayed a whimsical interlacing of modern ideas with the heritage of Ancient Rome. Cameron began his activities in Russia with the erection of the Temple of Frendship in Pavlovsk, which the young heirs to the throne dedicated to Catherine II in an attempt to sooth any ill feeling between them. His next task was construction of the Apollo Colonnade at the entrance to the park, followed by the Dairy a nd a number of other buildings. Among those who contributed to the building and decoration of Pavlovsk were such brilliant architects as Charles Cameron, Vincenzo Brenna, Giacomo Quarenghi, Andrei Voronikhin and Carlo Rossi; the celebrated Russian sculptors Ivan Prokofyev, Ivan Martos, Mikhail Kozlovsky, Fiodor Gordeyev and Vasily Demuth-Malinovsky; the talented artists Giovanni Scotti, Andrei Martynov and Johann Mettenleiter, and that unsurpassed master of perspective painting and genius of landscape gardening Pietro Gonzaga. Forming a single architectural and artistic whole with the park, the Pavlovsk palace employs in its design such relationships of architectural volumes and masses that, despite its rather small dimensions, the palace's building produces the impression of a majestic monumental edifice which, at the same time, is organically set in the surrounding landscape. Constructed on a hill, the palace takes in the earliest and the latest rays of the sun. The rising sun is reflected in the mirrors of the halls and the palace seems to be lit from within like a precious stone. The suites of the Pavlovsk palace belong to the best achievements of Russian architecture. The round, oval, octagonal, rectangular and square halls and rooms of the palace are faced with artificial marble or coloured stucco and covered with paintings or moulded ornaments. The strict articulation of the smooth walls is enlivened by a delicate range of the rosy, greenish, golden, white and lilac hues of the interior finish and decor.

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