1764 - 1775: The construction of the Small Hermitage
On the order of Empress Catherine II the architect Yuri Velten erected a two-storey building next to the Winter Palace between 1765 and 1766. He combined features of the fading Baroque style and elements of the new fashion known as Neoclassicism.
Between 1767 and 1769, the architect Vallin de la Mothe constructed a pavilion for Catherine to relax on her own or with her most intimate friends. This contained a state room, several drawing-rooms and a hothouse. Now the Neoclassical style was truly coming into its own, but the austere proportions of the building are still finely balanced with the Baroque architecture of the Winter Palace. The rhythm of the colonnade of Corinthian columns in the second tier emphasizes the architectural unity of two buildings very different in style. The two southern and northern pavilions were then connected by construction of a Hanging Garden (raised above ground level, on the next floor) with galleries running along both sides. The whole architectural ensemble took its name from the northern pavilion and is to this day known as the Small Hermitage. Here Catherine II gave entertainments with games and plays, her so-called "small hermitages" and here she initially housed her first art purchases.
View of the Small Hermitage, the Northern Pavilion
View of the Small Hermitage, the Southern Pavilion