The Lantern Study
The Pilaster Study is followed by the Lantern Study, one of the most amazing interiors of the Pavlovsk Palace, an architectural miracle created by architect Andrey Voronikhin in 1807. According to the original plan of Vincenzo Brenna, this room was intended to be used as the library of Emperor Paul I.
Preserving the existing volume of the room, Andrey Voronikhin removed the outer wall, replacing it with a semicircular bow window, a so-called “lantern” that projects into the Private Garden. The bow window is formed by an ionic colonnade of white artificial marble with glazing between the columns, which creates the illusion of the study “flowing” into the natural environment of the Private Garden. The coffered arch of the semi-rotunda increases the height of the office. That's the first time Andrey Voronikhin did stucco rosettes of caissons in the form of daisies, unlike the usual classical samples. The wide arch of the bow window is supported by two caryatids by Vasily Demut-Malinovsky. The soft green color of the walls echoes the fragrant greenery of the bushes outside the windows. Garlands of wild grapes are twining along the high arc of the plafond. The lunettes depict allegories of sciences and arts in a gray-green scale, based on sketches by Giovanni Battista Scotti. Streams of light pour through the window walls of the Lantern Study, creating strong black-and-white contrasts between the illuminated and shaded parts of the study. The Lantern Study, being the favorite study of Maria Feodorovna, also served as her private library and art gallery.
About forty paintings by Western European artists of the 16th–18th centuries are the main decoration of the Study. In the center of the wall on the right at the entrance to the Lantern Study, there is a masterpiece of the collection of paintings of the Pavlovsk Palace: The Holy Family with the infant Saint John The Baptist by the master artist Agnolo Bronzino. This painting is surrounded by Mary Magdalene by Carlo Dolci, Rest on the Flight into Egypt by Francesco Albani, the diptych The Virgin Mary and The Archangel Gabriel by Guido Reni. On the opposite wall in the center, there is a painting Virgin, Child, Elizabeth and John the Baptist (an Italian 17th-century copy of the piece by Andrea del Sarto), which echoes the work of Bronzino. On the same wall, two paintings of the French school attract attention: The Presentation at the Temple and Madonna in Sorrow.
At the end of the study, opposite the bow window, there are mainly works of the Italian school depicting Madonna: The Holy Family with St John the Baptist by Bartolomeo Schedoni, Madonna and Child and Praying Madonna by Sassoferrato, Madonna and Child by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Empress Maria Feodorovna purchased all these paintings. The large painting The Appearance of the Madonna and Child to Saint Alexius (Alessandro Turchi, the 17th century) was bought for the Empress by her youngest son, Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich. To the right of the fireplace mirror are two more masterpieces of the collection: The Head of the Apostle Bartholomew by the famous Spaniard Jusepe de Ribera and Christ and the Samaritan Woman, the small painting, but excellent in composition and color, by Pierre Mignard, the court artist of Louis XIV (from the collection of Pierre Crozat, the famous French collector of the 18th century, which was purchased by Catherine II).
In the center of the office, there are escritoires by Roentgen with a lot of necessary writing materials and objects: blotters, inkwells, paperweights, stands for papers and letters, and miracle candlesticks. At the table, there is a mahogany paper bin with gilding and an embroidered border, made per the drawing by Andrey Voronikhin. According to the project by Andrey Voronikhin and especially for the Empress' library, low white bookcases with black moldings and decorative masks on the ends were made, as well as the set of tables and chairs painted black and decorated with carved gilded ornaments and ornamental embroidery on the upholstery (the furniture lost during the fire of 1944 was recreated from scratch based on documentary materials). On the marble shelves of the cabinets, there are various products of decorative art: two sets of vases made of green jasper with gilded bronze decor (Peterhof Lapidary Factory, the early 1800s), painted porcelain vases of the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, a unique clock with a music box in a mother-of-pearl case (Austria, Vienna, the early 19th century), as well as two marble busts by the German sculptor Christian Daniel Rauch: Alexander I, the favorite son of the Empress, and Alexandra Feodorovna, her favorite daughter-in-law.
On the mantelpiece, there are first-class works of French gilded bronze of the 18th century: paired decorative ornaments in the form of antique oil lamps with the figure of a Reader, and candelabra in the form of vases with flowers. The mahogany screen in front of the fireplace (made as per the drawing by Andrey Voronikhin) is decorated with gilded carvings and decorative satin embroidery on cloth.
Behind the bow window, is the Empress's Private Garden with its fragrant smell. Here, in the afternoon, sitting at her desk, Empress Maria Feodorovna wrote letters to family and friends, made entries in her diary, read books, and compiled catalogs of collections. In between these activities, she admired the paintings and the garden blooming outside the window.
The Lantern Study on the floor plane