Lvov, Nikolai

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

L’vov, Nikolai Aleksandrovich


Born March 4 (15), 1751, on the estate of Nikol’skoe-Cherenchitsy, near Torzhok, in present-day Kalinin Oblast; died Dec. 21 or 22, 1803 (Jan. 2 or 3, 1804), in Moscow. Russian architect and theorist of architecture, graphic artist, poet, musician, and inventor.

For the most part, L’vov was self-educated; he studied architecture on his own. In 1783 he became a member of the Russian Academy and in 1786 was made an honorary member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts.

L’vov was a representative of Russian classicism of the second half of the 18th century. In his theoretical statements he called for the mastering of the legacy of classical art and for the careful consideration of the conditions of Russian life and nature. His architecture (country estates, private residences, churches) consists predominantly of compact, centrally domed buildings with a laconic decorative plan. His works include the Neva gates of the Peter and Paul Fortress (1784-87) and the main post office (1782-89) in Leningrad; Boris and Gleb Cathedral (1785-96) in Torzhok; estate buildings in Moscow, Kalinin, and Novgorod oblasts; the rammed-earth Prioratskii Palace (1798-99) in Gatchina; and illustrations for Ovid’s Metamorphoses (india ink, Russian Museum, Leningrad).

L’vov was one of the founders of the landscape style in Russian garden and park design. He developed methods for rammed-earth construction, heating, and ventilation. He was also concerned with economic problems and the search for and development of coal deposits.

L’vov’s poetic work (verses, narrative poems, fables, texts of comic operas) was influenced by sentimentalism and emerging Russian romanticism. Striving to bring poetry in closer contact with folk creativity, he made extensive use of folk vocabulary and accentual meters. In the text of his comic opera Coachmen at the Relay (published and produced in 1787), L’vov made use of lyrics from coachmen’s songs. He compiled a two-volume musical collection entitled Collection of Russian Folk Songs With Their Parts, Set to Music by Ivan Prach (1790). He published one of the first translations of the Icelandic saga, Song of the Norwegian Knight Harold the Brave (1793), and also translated works by Petrarch and Sappho.


Russkaia pirostatika ili upotreblenie ispytannykh uzhe vozdushnykh pechei i kaminov, parts 1-2. St. Petersburg, 1795-99.
Traktat o sadovo-parkovom iskusstve. [St. Petersburg, 1797-99.]
Predislovie i primechaniia kpervoi knige traktata A. Palladio. St. Petersburg, 1798. [Works.] In Poety XVIII v., vol. 2. Leningrad, 1972.


Koplan, B. I. “K istorii zhizni i tvorchestva N. A. L’vova.” Izvestiia AN SSSR, 1927, vol. 21.
Kulakova, L. I. “N. A. L’vov.” In htoriia lstoriia literatury, vol. 4, part 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1947.
Livanova, T. N. Russkaia muzykal’naia kul’tura XVIII v., vols. 1-2. Moscow, 1952-53. (See index of names.)
Budylina, M. V., O. I. Braitseva, and A. M. Kharlamova. Arkhitektor N. A. L’vov. Moscow, 1961.
Nikulina, N. I. N. L’vov. Leningrad, 1971.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.