Pseudo-Russian Style

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Pseudo-Russian Style


a conventional designation for several eclectic directions in late-19th-century Russian architecture, each of which had a different conceptual origin.

In the 1830’s church architects adopted, with official approval, a Russian-Byzantine style. In keeping with the official recognition by the Russian Orthodox Church of a connection between Byzantium and Russia, the architects borrowed many structural devices and decorative motifs from Byzantine architecture (as seen in the sketches of churches drawn by the architect K. A. Ton in the 1840’s). Another direction in the pseudo-Russian style developed under the influence of romanticism and Slavophilism (for example, the buildings designed by the architect A. M. Gornostaev). It was characterized by the use of arbitrarily interpreted motifs from ancient Russian architecture (Pogodin Hut, Moscow, 1850’s, architect N. V. Nikitin).

In the early 1870’s populist ideas influenced the appearance of a new democratic version of the pseudo-Russian style. It involved simply the decoration of buildings with motifs borrowed from Russian folk embroidery and wood carving. This direction, which characterized buildings designed by the architects V. A. Gartman and I. P. Ropet, became known as ropetovshchina. The movement was promoted by V. V. Stasov. It spread first to the design of wooden exhibition pavilions and small urban dwellings and later to the design of monumental stone architecture.

By the early 1880’s, ropetovshchina was superseded by a new official pseudo-Russian style, which copied almost exactly the decorative motifs of 17th-century Russian architecture.


Il’in, M. A., and E. A. Borisova. “Arkhitektura [2-i pol. 19 v.].” In Istoriia russkogo iskusstva, vol. 9, book 2. Moscow, 1965.
Kirichenko, E. I. [”Arkhitektura vtoroi poloviny 19-nachala 20 vekov.”] In Kratkaia khudozhestvennaia entsiklopediia: Iskusstvo stran i narodov mira, vol. 3. Moscow, 1971. Pages 367–74.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The same set of fierce and fearless models-Alex, Anastasia, Angelina and Evgenia-also took turns posing in front of the State Historical Museum, built in pseudo-Russian style in the 1870s, its red bricks setting off Cinco's creations.

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