The Apollo Colonnade (Pavlovsk)


The Apollo Colonnade is one of the masterpieces of park architecture of the late 18th century

The Apollo Colonnade is one of the masterpieces of park architecture of the late 18th century. It was constructed by Charles Cameron in 1782, on the meadow of the upper plateau on the left bank of the Slavyanka river.

The colonnade was designed in the shape of the double ring of Doric columns covered by the architrave. The powerful architectural forms and gray limestone served as the material for the construction communicate the nature of genuine antiquity to it. The majestic outdoor colonnade temple full of light and air is dedicated to Apollo, a patron of sorts for Pavlovsk.

The image of the original Colonnade can be seen in the painted porcelain table in Maria Feodorovna's Boudoir.

When traveling abroad, in 1782 she wrote to Karl Küchelbecker, Pavlovsk major-domo, from Italy: “Pavlovsk Colonnade and Temple are more precious to me than all the beauties of Italy”.

In 1800, at the request of the Empress, the Apollo Colonnade was moved to the bank of the Slavyanka river, opposite to the Palace. Giacomo Quarenghi designed a cascade directed from the Colonnade to the Slavyanka river, going down over the stone slopes and violently foaming under the stone humpback bridge just at the entrance to the river. According to the ancient myth, the Colonnade was supposed to embody Mount Parnassus, where Apollo and the Muses dwelt, with the cascade embodying Castalian Spring, the source of the inspiration. Such images of the Colonnade can be seen at the Andrey Martynov's painting Raspberry Study as well as at the early 19th-century watercolors and engravings by Sylvester Shchedrin, Giacomo Quarenghi, Ivan Chesky, Andrey Ukhtomsky.

However, in 1817, during the heavy thunderstorm, the Colonnade base over the cascade was washed away, collapsing some columns and a part of the entablature. It was decided not to reconstruct the collapsed parts of the Colonnade, as nature itself has created the picturesque ruins there, thus imparting the romantic spirit to the landscape. French poet Jean Pierre Émile Dupré de Saint-Maure, after visiting Pavlovsk in 1823, wrote a poem dedicated to the Pavlovsk gardens, giving a special place to the Apollo Colonnade.

When the Apollo Colonnade was constructed, a bronze statue of Apollo Belvedere was installed at its center; later it was moved to the central circle of the Old Sylvia. A plaster copy was installed in the Colonnade, according to a rare water-color of the early 1820s. In 1826, a cast iron copy of Apollo Belvedere was made and installed in the Colonnade. Traditionally, it was painted white.


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