By Samantha Hughes-Johnson

On this day (17, November) in 1744, the sculptor and architect Carlo Bartolomeo Rastrelli died in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Born in 1675 in Florence to a wealthy family, Rastrelli spent the initial part of his artistic career in France, moving to Russia in 1716. By this time he was already a successful sculptor and interior designer and had paid his way into the nobility with the purchase the title of count from the diplomatic arm of the Holy See (the apostolic nuncio). 

On his arrival in Russia, Carlo’s practice was taken up mainly with architecture: he worked variously on the planning of Vasilyevsky Island, a palace and park at Strelna and on the Grand Cascade and fountain at Peter the Great’s summer retreat Monplaisir at Peterhof. Examples of his sculptures can be found in the Hermitage Museum, the Russian State Museum of St. Petersburg and at Mikhailovskiy Castle. 

Carlo Bartolomeo Rastrelli remained in Russian until the end of his life. He was buried within the hallowed grounds of the Cathedral of Saint Sampson the Hospitable.  

Image: Carlo Bartolomeo Rastrelli,  Portrait of an Unknown Man (possibly a self-portrait), 18th Century, marble. Wikimedia Commons. 

References: Dmitriĭ Olegovich Shvidkovskiĭ, Russian Architecture and the West. Trans. Antony Wood, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2007.

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