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Home > Gallery > Palekh > Under $500

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Title: Smolny Cathedral
Artist: Lapshin Aleksey
Size: 13x10.5x4
Size (inches): 5x4x1.5
Price : $275 SOLD!


This beautiful architectural landscape was painted by the talented A. Lapshin from the village of Palekh. It shows one of the best Baroque architectural ensembles of Saint Petersburg, the Smolny Cathedral. It is situated on the bank of the River Neva on that very place where under Peter the Great there was a tar yard (Smolyanoy Dvor, as "Smolny" is Russian word for tar) that supplied the Admiralty with resin for the shipbuilding. After few years the tar yard was abolished but the place-name stayed. According to the legends, the daughter of Peter the Great, Elisabeth dreamt of retiring from the world and taking the veil. But she didn't want to leave Saint Petersburg that was the beloved creation of her father, and ordered to erase a convent on the place of the former tar yard. Architect Rastrelli was entrusted to make a design and direct the construction works that were started in 1749. The dazzling blue and white Baroque-style cathedral became the center of the ensemble. The architect combined elements of Russian and European architecture perfectly and harmonically. The rich decor of the facades, abundant use of the gilt, splendid combination of blue walls and white modeling make the cathedral look festive and solemn. Rastrelli died in 1771 and didn't see the ensemble complete. The construction works were stopped at the end of the 18th century and renewed only in the 1830s when architect Stasov started cathedral interior decoration. The spacious hall was marbled, three splendid iconstands were placed, facetted crystal balustrade was constructed in front of the altar and the beautiful rostrum was decorated with the most refined wooden carving. Among the treasures of the cathedral that have preserved till nowadays one should mention icons by A. Venetsianov - Christ's Resurrection and Presentation of the Blessed Virgin. The Smolny Cathedral is the record breaker of the construction terms, as the building has the longest story of erection in the city. It took 87 years to build this famous building. The Smolny Cathedral was consecrated in 1835 as the cathedral of all the Russian education schools for the sake of Christ's Resurrection. The revolution of 1917 became an important milestone in the history of the cathedral. The Smolny Cathedral was plundered and the rich inner decorations were irreparably damaged. For quite a long period the Smolny Cathedral was blasphemously used as a storehouse. Today this magnificent building is used primarily as a concert hall and the surrounding convent houses various offices and government institutions.
To paint this splendid scene the artist has only gold metal paints and the black background typical for all Palekh boxes.
The scene is framed with gold and aluminum beads. The sides of the box are decorated with more complex ornamentation also painted in gold and aluminum.
The box is constructed from paper-mache. Black lacquer is used to paint the exterior of the box while red lacquer completes the interior of the work. The lid is hinged from the left of the composition, and the box rests on four legs. The box is signed with the artist's name, the village of Palekh, and the title ("Smolny Cathedral").

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