Kazakov, Matvei

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kazakov, Matvei Fedorovich


Born in 1738 in Moscow; died Oct. 26 (Nov. 7), 1812, in Riazan’. Russian architect; one of the founders of classicism in 18th-century Russian architecture.

From 1751 to 1760, Kazakov studied in D. V. Ukhtomskii’s architectural school in Moscow. Between 1763 and 1767 he worked under P. R. Nikitin in Tver’, where he took part in the drafting of a plan for the city and built the Itinerary Palace for Catherine II. From 1768 to 1774, Kazakov assisted V. I. Ba-zhenov in the planning of the Great Kremlin Palace in Moscow. During this time he mastered the use of classical forms and proportions; this mastery was particularly important in his later work.

Kazakov’s designs demonstrate an organic combination of large-scale urban design, practical planning, and lofty architectural forms. He developed various types of residential and civic buildings, with which he organized great municipal spaces. In this way he did much to define the architectural appearance of Moscow in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Such buildings also determined the scale and character of Moscow’s later construction. Kazakov’s works include the Senate building (1776–87), which now houses the Supreme Soviet and the Council of Ministers of the USSR and in which a large-diameter domed roof was first used in Russia. He also built the university building (1786–93, rebuilt by D. I. Gilardi); the Golitsyn (1796–1801) and the Pavel (1802–07) hospitals; and the manor houses of Demidov (1779–91), Gubin (1790’s), and Baryshnikov (1797–1802). These buildings all display careful composition both from the street and from within. The arched gateways, the widely separated wings, and the wrought-iron open-worked fences facing the center of the street create a vista of the main building situated behind a broad courtyard. The central part of the building, characterized by domes, grand porticoes, and simple, clear design, is massive and imposing. The smooth, severe exterior walls are complemented by a few carefully designed and graphically clear details, such as cornices and window backhands, which create a calm, solemn rhythm.

Integral and modeled architectural forms predominate in Kazakov’s centrally planned structures. These buildings include the Church of the Metropolitan Philip (1777–88), the Voznese-nie Church (1790–93), and the Church of SS. Cosmas and Damian (1791–1803) in Moscow, as well as the mausoleum (1784–1802) in Nikolo-Pogoreloe in present-day Smolensk Oblast.

The expressiveness and ceremonial festivity of Kazakov’s interiors are achieved by the introduction of a grand scale (the Hall of Columns of the House of Trade Unions, Moscow), by the use of sculpture (the Senate and university buildings), and by the use of monumental painting (the “Gilded Rooms” of the Demidov house). Kazakov remained a classicist, although he designed some structures in a pseudo-Gothic style. The basis of these structures remained classical; pre-Petrine and Gothic decorative elements were used only to adorn the facades (the Petrovskii Palace in Moscow, 1775–82; now the N. E. Zhukovskii Air Force Academy).

From 1800 to 1804, Kazakov supervised the drafting of general and “facade” plans (“bird’s-eye view”) of Moscow. He also completed a series of 13 architectural albums devoted to the most important buildings erected by himself and other architects in Moscow. A gifted draftsman, Kazakov mastered the technique of architectural drafting, etching, and drawing. In his graphic work he devoted a great deal of attention to the expression of the volumes of buildings. He was a master of genre drawing, which was then emerging as an art form. Kazakov’s work as a graphic artist includes the drawings Amusement Pavilions atKhodynka Field in Moscow” (1774–75, india ink and pen) and The Construction of Petrovskii Palace (1778, india ink and pen)—both in the A. V. Shchusev Museum of Architecture in Moscow. He also drew views of the Kolomna Kremlin (1778, india ink and pen; now in the Russian Museum, Leningrad).

Kazakov organized an architectural school within the Department of Kremlin Construction. Among his pupils were I. V. Egotov, A. N. Bakarev, I. G. Tamanskii, M. M. Kazakov, R. R. Kazakov, and O. I. Bove.


M. K. (Matvei Matveevich Kazakov). “O Matvee Fedoroviche Kazakove.” Russkii vestnik, 1816, no. 11.
Bondarenko, I. E. Arkhitektor Matvei Fedorovich Kazakov (1738–1813). Moscow, 1938.
IPin, M. A. “Fasadicheskii plan Moskvy M. F. Kazakova.” In the collection Arkhitekturnoe nasledstvo, [fasc] 9. Moscow-Leningrad, 1959.
Arkhitekturnye aVbomy M. F. Kazakova. (Prepared for publication and with text and commentary by E. A. Beletskaia.) Moscow, 1956.
Vlasiuk, A. I., A. I. Kaplun, and A. A. Kiparisova. Kazakov. Moscow, 1957.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.