Andrei Nikiforovich Voronikhin

Voronikhin, Andrei Nikiforovich

 

Born Oct. 17 (28), 1759, in the village of Novoe Usol’e, in present-day Perm’ Oblast; died Feb. 21 (Mar. 5), 1814, in St. Petersburg. Russian architect; an exponent of classicism. A serf of Count A. S. Straganov; freed in 1785.

Voronikhin began studying perspective and miniature painting and architecture in Moscow with V. I. Bazhenov and M. F. Kazakov; he moved to St. Petersburg in 1779. He lived in Switzerland and France where he studied architecture, mechanics, mathematics, physics, and natural sciences during 1786-90. In 1797 he received the title of academician of “painting in perspective” of the Academy of Art (for his View of a Picture Gallery in Stroganov Palace, watercolor, 1793; Hermitage, Leningrad, and View of the Stroganov Dacha, oil, 1797; Russian Museum, Leningrad). He became a professor at the Academy of Art in 1802.

Voronikhin’s early architectural works (the interior trim of Stroganov Palace in St. Petersburg, 1793; the Stroganov Dacha on Chernaia River in St. Petersburg, 1795-96; and a house on Gorodnia Estate in Kaluga Guberniia, 1798) are distinguished by well-organized composition, and elegance and refinement of detail. Voronikhin continued the best traditions and achievements of Russian architecture. While developing the principles of palace design laid down by Bazhenov, I.E. Starov, and Kazakov, Voronikhin created a new simple and severe type of public building, whose architectural forms expressed the might and grandeur of the Russian state.

Voronikhin’s most outstanding work in its strivings for a grand and monumental style is the Kazan Cathedral in Leningrad (1801-11). The construction of this building on a central thoroughfare laid the foundation for the creation of great urban ensembles on Nevsky Prospekt. The urban construction principle plays a central role in Voronikhin’s subsequent works—the building of the Institute of Mining (1806-11) with a monumental colonnade facing the river and accentuating the entrance to the city from the sea; the plans, never executed, of St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg (1808-10); and Christ’s Cathedral in Moscow (1813). Voronikhin also participated in the construction of the palace and park ensembles in Peterhof (now Petrodvorets, started in the 1800’s) and in Pavlosk (1802-08) and the Bratsevo Estate (today within Moscow limits; early 19th century). All the construction of this period, carried out in the Russian Empire style using new, lightened structures and natural construction materials, exhibits great architectural and artistic expressiveness, achieved by means of well-organized spatial relationships and the contrast between large smooth wall surfaces and colonnades, sculptures, and large-scale, richly luxurious ornamentation.

Voronikhin’s work in the area of applied art, furniture, lighting fixtures, glass panes, and stone and porcelain vases is of great importance. He created these objects to combine organically with his interiors and his architecture.

REFERENCES

Panov, V. A. Arkhitektor A. N. Voronikhin. Moscow, 1937.
Grimm, G. G. Arkhitektor Voronikhin. Leningrad-Moscow, 1963.