Bartolomeo Carlo Rastrelli

Rastrelli, Bartolomeo Carlo


Born in 1675 in Florence; died Nov. 18 (29), 1744, in St. Petersburg. Sculptor of Italian origin.

Rastrelli visited Paris about 1700, where he proved himself a master of baroque sculpture (for example, the funerary monument of the Marquis de Pomponne in the Church of St. Merry in Paris, marble, 1703–06, destroyed in 1792). In 1716, Rastrelli went to St. Petersburg at the invitation of Peter I to work as an architect and sculptor. He also cast medals and designed fountains, gardens, and theatrical machinery and sets. Peter wanted Rastrelli to introduce all his techniques to Russian masters.

Rastrelli worked primarily as a sculptor in Russia. In his works, especially his portraits, baroque splendor and magnificence combine with a faithful rendering of texture to convey with fidelity and conviction the characteristics of the subject. This combination is evident in such works as Peter I (bronze, 1723, Hermitage, Leningrad), Portrait of an Unknown Man (possibly a self-portrait, bronze, 1732, Tret’iakov Gallery, Moscow), Anna Ivanovna With Her Blackamoor (bronze, 1733–41, Russian Museum, Leningrad), and A. D. Menshikov (marble, Russian Museum, Leningrad; executed by I. P. Vitali in 1849 from the wax original, now lost). Rastrelli’s equestrian statue of Peter I (bronze, 1743–44), which was erected in front of the Engineers’ Castle in St. Petersburg in 1800, is imbued with a feeling of grandeur and solemnity.

Rastrelli participated in the design of the Grand Cascade at Peterhof (he designed masks of lead and other materials) and in the design of the Triumphal Column in honor of Peter I and the Northern War (begun in 1721).


Arkhipov, N. I., and A. G. Raskin. Bartolomeo Karlo Rastrelli: 1675–1744. Leningrad-Moscow, 1964.