By Ioannis Tzortzakakis

Neapolitan architect Carlo di Giovanni Rossi was born 17 December 1775. With his large-scale projects, he soon become a master of the Empire style architecture in St. Petersburg. Carlo Rossi moved to Russia at an early age with his mother, the ballerina Guertroude Rossi; when she was invited to perform in St. Petersburg. He studied and worked with Vincenzo Brenna. By 1806, he had been a qualified architect. His first project was the neo-gothic St. Catherine Church in Moscow’s Kremlin (destroyed by the Bolsheviks), yet his first major project was the Yelagin Palace, along with its conservatory and pavilions (1816-1818). He also designed the Mikhailovsky Palace (1819–25) (now the State Russian Museum) along with Mikhailovskiy Ploshchad (now Ploshchad Iskusstv or “Arts Square”). The Senate and Synod Building (1829-1834) was his last project after a dispute with the Emperor Nicholas I and his advisors. He died of cholera in St Petersburg (1849), at the age of seventy-three, being relatively unknown and in such poverty that no funds were available to pay for his funeral.

Portrait of Carlo di Giovanni Rossi by B. S. Mityar, 1820.

Mikhailovsky Palace (the Russian Museum) in Ploshchad Iskusstv (Arts Square).

Main vestibule at Mikhailovsky Palace.

Pavillion in Mikhailovsky Garden.

Alexandrinsky Theatre in Ploshchad Ostrovskogo (Ostrovsky Square) .

Mikhailovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre.

Panorama of Palace Square with Rossi’s General Staff Building.

Yelagin Palace, on Yelagin Island.

Senate and Synod Building.

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