Walking through the halls and along the avenues of the Pavlovsk palace and park complex, one cannot help feeling an admiration for the versatile talent and inexhaustible imagination that are embodied in the surrounding landscape and architecture. Nature and the daring creative effort of man, the solemn grandeur and the heartfelt simplicity - all this is Pavlovsk.
"Pavlovskoye, begun 1777", reads an inscription on an obelisk commemorating the foundation of Pavlovsk. This country residence, named after its first owner, Paul I, son of Catherine II, was built in the royal hunting grounds on the banks of the Slavianka, three kilometres from Tsarskoye Selo (now the town of Pushkin).
Among those who contributed to the building and decoration of Pavlovsk were such brilliant architects as Charles Cameron, Vincenzo Brenna, Giacomo Quarenghi, Andrei Voronikhin and Carlo Rossi; the celebrated Russian sculptors Ivan Prokofyev, Ivan Martos, Mikhail Kozlovsky, Fiodor Gordeyev and Vasily Demuth-Malinovsky; the talented artists Giovanni Scotti, Andrei Martynov and Johann Mettenleiter, and that unsurpassed master of perspective painting and genius of landscape gardening Pietro Gonzaga.
Forming a single architectural and artistic whole with the park, the Pavlovsk palace employs in its design such relationships of architectural volumes and masses that, despite its rather small dimensions, the palace's building produces the impression of a majestic monumental edifice which, at the same time, is organically set in the surrounding landscape.
Erected on a hill, the palace takes in the earliest and the latest rays of the sun. The rising sun is reflected in the mirrors of the halls and the palace seems to be lit from within like a precious stone.
The suites of the Pavlovsk palace belong to the best achievements of Russian architecture. The round, oval, octagonal, rectangular and square halls and rooms of the palace are faced with artificial marble or coloured stucco and covered with paintings or moulded ornaments. The strict articulation of the smooth walls is enlivened by a delicate range of the rosy, greenish, golden, white and lilac hues of the interior finish and decor.
The play of colour is enhanced by the well-planned illumination of the palace. While the flood of light streams into the Italian Hall through the glazed part of the dome, it penetrates the Grecian Hall through the tall windows, and also flows in through the windows of the adjacent Halls of War and Peace. The Picture and Church Galleries have rows of windows on both sides. Light also contributes to the charming atmosphere of the Little Lantern study.