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Summary Article: Quarenghi, Giacomo Antonio
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Italian-born neoclassical architect and artist, active in Russia. He became one of the most important Russian architects of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, his many civic buildings helping to create the distinctive neoclassical appearance of central St Petersburg.

He was born in the village of Valle Imagna, near Bergamo in Italy, where he trained as a painter. Largely self-taught as an architect, he was deeply influenced by the neoclassical architecture of the 16th-century Venetian architect Andrea Palladio. His first commission, for example, the reconstruction of the church of Sta Scholastic, Rome 1769–73, was inspired by Palladio's church of Il Redentore (begun 1576), Venice.

In 1779 he was invited to Russia by Catherine the Great to work on projects for the newly created city of St Petersburg. The many commissions he received in Russia, where he remained for the rest of his life, allowed him to develop his talents to the full. Among his works in St Petersburg are the Foreign Ministry 1782–83; the Hermitage Theatre 1783–87; the Alexandrovsky Palace, Tsarskoe Selo 1792–96; the Smolny Institute 1806–08; and the English Church 1814–15. Though he drew heavily on Palladio throughout his career, he increasingly turned to Palladio's own source of inspiration, the architecture of ancient Rome, in order to create civic buildings of an austere grandeur. He was also an accomplished artist, most of his pictures being views of St Petersburg and Rome.

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