Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli

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For other people named Rastrelli, see Rastrelli (disambiguation).
Portrait of Count Rastrelli painted by Lucas Conrad Pfanzelt (1716–1788).

Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli (Russian: Франче́ско Бартоломе́о (Варфоломе́й Варфоломеевич) Растрелли; 1700 in Paris, France – 29 April 1771 in Saint Petersburg, Russia) was an Italian architect whose entire career was spent in Russia. He developed an easily recognizable style of Late Baroque, both sumptuous and majestic. His major works, including the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg and the Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo, are famed for extravagant luxury and opulence of decoration.[1]


In 1716, Bartolomeo moved to Saint Petersburg, Russia, accompanying his father, Italian sculptor Carlo Bartolomeo Rastrelli (1675–1744).[1] His ambition was to combine the latest Italian architectural fashion with traditions of the Muscovite baroque style. The first important commission came in 1721 when he was asked to build a palace for Prince Demetre Cantemir, former ruler of Moldavia.

He was appointed to the post of senior court architect in 1730. His works found favour with female monarchs of his time, so he retained this post throughout the reigns of Empresses Anna (1730–1740) and Elizabeth (1741–1762).

Rastrelli's last and most ambitious project was the Smolny Convent in St. Petersburg where Empress Elizabeth was to spend the rest of her life. The projected bell-tower was to become the tallest building in St Petersburg and all of Russia. Elizabeth's death in 1762 prevented Rastrelli from completing this grand design.[1]

The new empress, Catherine II, dismissed baroque architecture as an old-fashioned "whipped cream", and the aged architect had to retire to Courland where he supervised the completion and decoration of the ducal palaces.

His last years were spent in obscure commerce with Italian art-dealers. He was elected to the Imperial Academy of Arts several months before his death.[1] A square in front of the Smolny Convent has borne Rastrelli's name since 1923.

References in modern culture[edit]

He is the subject of a composition, Rastrelli in Saint Petersburg, written in 2000 by Italian composer Lorenzo Ferrero.

Ten extant buildings by Rastrelli[edit]

# Image Name Location Date
1 Rundalen1.jpg Rundāle Palace Pilsrundāle near Bauska
2 Biron Rezidenz.jpg Jelgava Palace Jelgava
3 Peterhof Fountains 01 - Big Cascade 02.jpg Peterhof Palace Peterhof near St. Petersburg
PeterhofEastChapel.jpg Peterhof Palace Chapels Peterhof near St. Petersburg
4 St. Andriy's Church in Kyiv.jpg Saint Andrew's Church Kiev
5 Смольный собор 2.jpg Smolny Convent St. Petersburg
6 Spb 06-2012 Vorontsov Palace.jpg Vorontsov Palace St. Petersburg
7 DSC00991, Catherine’s Palace, Pushkin, St. Petersburg, Russia.jpg Catherine Palace Tsarskoe Selo (Pushkin)
Pushkin Catherine Park 01.jpg Hermitage Pavilion Tsarskoe Selo (Pushkin)
8 2005-08-10 Kiev Mariinsky Palace 123.JPG Mariyinsky Palace Kiev
9 Строгановский дворец (24).jpg Stroganov Palace St. Petersburg
10 Spb 06-2012 Palace Embankment various 14.jpg Winter Palace St. Petersburg

Boris Vipper has speculated that Rastrelli's last (and unfinished) design was for the Neoclassical Zaļenieki Manor near Mitava.

Demolished buildings[edit]

# Image Name Notes Location Date
1 Muzej lefortovo.png Annenhof Built of wood, replaced by Catherine Palace (Moscow) Lefortovo District, Moscow
displaced 1736
burnt down 1746
2 Winter palace 1740s.jpg Anna's Winter Palace Replaced by Winter Palace Saint Petersburg
demolished 1754
3 Summer Palace St Petersburg.jpeg Summer Palace Built of wood, replaced by Saint Michael's Castle Saint Petersburg
demolished 1797
4 Kremlinduran.jpg Winter Kremlin Palace Replaced by Grand Kremlin Palace Moscow Kremlin
rebuilt 1798
demolished 1837


  1. ^ a b c d Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli. Encyclopædia Britannica

External links[edit]