Ivan Starov

(redirected from Ivan Yegorovich Starov)
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Starov, Ivan Egorovich


Born Feb. 12 (23), 1745, in St. Petersburg; died there Apr. 5 (17), 1808. Russian architect; a founder of Russian classicism.

Starov studied at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts from 1758 to 1762 with A. F. Kokorinov and J. B. Vallin de la Mothe. The academy awarded him a stipend to study abroad from 1762 to 1768. He lived in Paris, where he studied with C. de Vailly, and in Rome, where he studied monuments of ancient Greek and Roman art. Starov became a member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts in 1769 and was made a professor there in 1785. From 1769 to 1772 he taught at the academy, where his pupils included A. D. Zakharov.

Between 1772 and 1774, Starov was chief architect for the Commission on Stone Construction in St. Petersburg and Moscow. His first major works included country estates in Bogoro-ditsk (near Tula) and Nikol’sko-Gagarino (near Moscow; now a hospital). These projects, both executed from 1773 to 1776, demonstrated Starov’s compositional inventiveness and systematic development of the devices of early classicism. Starov’s mature period as an urban architect is represented by his plans (1774) for the cities of Voronezh and Pskov.

In 1774, Starov initiated the reconstruction of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery in St. Petersburg. He altered the layout of the architectural complex, creating a circular plaza outside the entrance. He built the imposing Troitskii Cathedral (1778–90) and an enclosure containing a church (1783–85). The austere restraint of the cathedral’s Doric exterior contrasts with the sumptuous-ness of the interior Corinthian colonnades and the grand arch of the iconostasis.

In the 1770’s and 1780’s, Starov designed a number of country estates near St. Petersburg, including one in Taitsy (1774; now a house of rest), one in Sivoritsy (1775–76; now a hospital), and one in Pella (1785–89; not preserved). In these projects Starov successfully integrated the structures with the natural surroundings.

Starov’s most significant work of the 1780’s was the Tauride Palace in St. Petersburg (1783–89). In the latter half of the decade he drew up plans for the Sheremetev House—a type of house-museum—in Moscow. The project was never realized, although the design was one of Starov’s most interesting concepts and the best example of his architectural drawing. (The plans are in the Ostankino Palace-Museum of Serf Art in Moscow.)

In the early 1790’s, Starov worked largely in the Ukraine. He designed the cathedral in Nikolaev and the G. A. Potemkin village of Bogoiavlensk on the Bug River (near Nikolaev). He also drew up the city plans for Ekaterinoslav and Nikolaev.

From 1800 until his death, Starov supervised the construction of the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg.


Belekhov, N., and A. Petrov. Ivan Starov: Materialy k izucheniiu tvorchestva. Moscow, 1950.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.