The Mystery of St. Isaac's Cathedral: unfinished, which claimed the life of its creator
• The Mystery of St. Isaac's Cathedral: unfinished, which claimed the life of its creator
Name Auguste Montferrand should be well known to every citizen of St. Petersburg, after all the efforts of the French architect were erected Kazan and St. Isaac's Cathedral, which became the symbols of Russia's northern capital. Montferrand fate was full of riddles and mysterious coincidences, and his death at the end of the 40-year construction of St. Isaac's Cathedral, and does not consider accidental.
Portrait of Auguste Montferrand.
Full name of the famous architect - Henri Louis Auguste Ricard de Montferrand. He is originally from France, but at home is practically unknown, because up to 30 years (the journey in Russia) does not have time to excel. In his youth, Auguste received special education, but his student years coincided with the era of the Napoleonic Wars, and the young man, like thousands of other Frenchmen, was forced to leave school and go to the front. During his military career, Auguste had visited in Italy, as well as take part in the Battle of the Arno, for which he received a military award.
After returning to civilian life, Auguste Montferrand realized that he wanted to engage in architecture, but in France opportunities to prove himself he was not. Then he took a fateful attempt: the Emperor of Russia sent drawings folder Alexander I. The Emperor praised the work of budding architect and asked him to move to Russia.
The project of St. Isaac's Church ahritektora A. Rinaldi. Lithograph pattern Montferrand. 1845
After moving Auguste was not only a new nationality, but also a new name - August Avgustovich. In Russia, he agreed to participate only in large-scale projects, and two years later he received an offer to design St. Isaac's Cathedral. Cathedral fate was complex: three times before it was rebuilt by architects such as Chevakinsky, Rinaldi and Vincenzo Brenna. Successful was only the fourth attempt - the project Montferrand, and for its implementation took about four decades. Construction of the century so long that in the light of rumors, as if the life of the architect will break as soon as the project will be completed.
View of St. Isaac's Cathedral under construction in 1838 Tinted lithograph. F. Benoit, the original by Montferrand.
Construction was complicated by the peculiarities of the soil of St. Petersburg. Build a massive building on marshy ground was not easy, the workers spent five years only then to score the required number of piles (they numbered 10, 7000!). By the death of prophecy, which supposedly hung over Montferrand, it can be treated differently, but the architect died a month after the consecration of St. Isaac's Cathedral. Cause of death was complications from pneumonia.
St. Isaac's Cathedral. Lithograph by F. Benoit with rice. AA Montferrand.
Interestingly, the Montferrand bequeathed to bury his body in the cathedral, but the Emperor Alexander II's request is not complied with. The reason turned out to be the pride of the architect: the cathedral installed sculptures of saints, bowed his head in greeting Dolmatskogo Isaac, and only carved image Montferrand did not attach the bow pose, he is shown with his head. At the initiative of the architect's widow, his body was buried in the French capital.
The bust of Auguste Montferrand in St. Isaac's Cathedral.