1860: Creation of state rooms in the Large Hermitage by the architect Andrei Stakenschneider
Reconstruction of the Large Hermitage started in 1851 under the leadership of Andrey Stackenschneider. A state staircase (later called the Council Staircase) linked the rooms of the State Council on the ground floor with those on the first floor. The vestibule is decorated with red porphyry columns; from here the staircase leads up to a landing where it branched into two flights; the landing is decorated with doubled columns of white marble. On the ceiling is a fine painting showing an allegorical composition by the French artist Gabriel Doyen.
The architect developed the design for the suite of state rooms on the first floor over the course of construction, which lasted eight years. Italian marble, coloured stones from the Urals, numerous valuable woods, inlaid doors, pictorial and mosaic inserts, bronze and gilt - every possible device was used to create an impression of luxury. Particularly worthy of note is the decoration of doors in the large state hall using the Boulle technique (inlay with tortoise-shell and copper).
The Leonardo da Vinci Hall
The Room of Italian Art