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The Jordan Staircase
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The Armorial Hall
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The War Gallery of 1812
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The Malachite Room
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The Winter Palace is the biggest building in the entire museum complex of the Hermitage. It was commissioned by the daughter of Peter the Great, Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, in 1754 as an official royal residence. Construction went on until 1762. The design was prepared by an outstanding architect of the Baroque style, Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli.
The three-story building occupies a whole block and amazes visitors with its grand scale and splendid ornamentation. The variety of impressions that the Winter Palace produces from different points of view is a result of the different compositional solutions of its facades. Though they share a common symmetry, they have different architectural forms and varying richness of plastic decoration. The whimsical shapes of the window and door casings, the splendid Corinthian capitals of the columns, the curved lines of sophisticated cornices, an abundance of statues and vases on the roof, and the festive colour of the walls lend a sumptuousness to the building which is characteristic of the Russian Baroque style.
The construction work on the Winter Palace was completed after the death of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna. The Palace was the official residence of the Russian monarchs from 1762 till February 1917 when the ruling dynasty of the Romanovs was overthrown in the course of the cout d'etat.
The most important events in Russian history were connected with the Winter Palace and its inhabitants. This is also where the Russian monarchs and members of their family led their private lives. The original palace interiors where the collections of the Hermitage Museum are housed today have not only artistic but also historical value.

 

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