Quarenghi, Giacomo

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Quarenghi, Giacomo


Born Sept. 20 or 21, 1744, in Valle Imagna, near Bergamo, Italy; died Feb. 18 (Mar. 2), 1817, in St. Petersburg. Architect; representative of Russian classicism of the late 18th century and the early 19th. Italian by birth.

In 1761, Quarenghi began studying painting in Rome under A. R. Mengs and S. Pozzi; later he turned to classical architecture and the work of Palladio. In 1780 he began working in Russia, where his first important project was the English Palace in Peterhof, now Petrodvorets (1781-94; entirely destroyed by the fascist Germans in 1942), a classically simple, imposing building with powerful Corinthian colonnades.

Quarenghi’s main works include the Academy of Sciences (1783-89), the Currency Bank (1783-90), the Hermitage Theater (1783-87), the Obukhovskaia Hospital (1782-87, rebuilt), the Ekaterininskii Institute (1804-07), the Cavalry Guards Manège (1804-07), and the Smol’nyi Institute (1806-08)—all in Leningrad. They are characterized by clarity of design, simplicity and precision of composition, and majestic modeled ibrms, achieved by placing imposing colonnades before smooth wall surfaces. Among the country palaces Quarenghi designed are the Alexander Palace (1792-96) at Tsarskoe Selo (now Pushkin), the center of whose main facade is emphasized by a ceremonial courtyard spatially linked with a park by an open majestic colonnade. He was a skillful builder who saw to it that his designs were carefully executed.

Quarenghi’s numerous drawings meticulously depict old Russian architectural monuments, buildings by contemporary architects, and genre scenes, notably the Teremnoi Palace in the Kremlin, Mikhailovskii Castle, and Kolomenskoe (all india ink and watercolor, the Hermitage, Leningrad); Skating on the Neva (india ink and watercolor, Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow); and Panorama of the Kremlin (watercolor and india ink, A. V. Shchusev Architecture Museum, Moscow). Quarenghi published engraved albums of his designs for the Hermitage Theater and the Currency Bank (1787 and 1791) and the first volume of his collected designs (1810).


Taleporovskii, V. N. Kvarengi. Leningrad-Moscow, 1954.
Grimm, G. G. Kvarengi. Leningrad, 1962.
Arkhitekturnye proekty i risunki D. Kvarengi iz muzeev i khranilishch SSSR. Leningrad, 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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