History of the Street in Art

Vasily Sadovnikov's water paintings

In the rich painting chronicles of the city, a significant place is occupied by water paintings from the artist Vasily Sadovnikov. A copy of one of these paintings "Horse Guards Parade" hangs on the right wall of the entrance to the building from Konnogvardeysky Lane because it is a piece representing the city landscape surrounding the mansion at that historical period. The original painting is in the Hermitage museum.

Watercolor “Parade of the horse cavalry body guards”, 1840 Horse Guard Parade, 1840

The painting is distinct in its accurate representation of the arrangement of troops and its detailed images of ammunition. Along New St.Isaak Street (now Yakubovich Street), with Konogvardeisky Riding Hall (built by the architect Quarenghi at the beginning of the 19th century) and St. Isaac's Cathedral in the background, one can see a double rank of dismounted troops on whose flank is Nicholas I surrounded by his retinue; to the right, there is a group of mounted troops.

Sadovnikov was born on December 16, 1800 and was a bondman of Princess N.P. Golitzina. The artist’s place of birth has not been established as of yet. However, even if Sadovnikov was not born in St. Petersburg, he apparently lived in the capital from a young age and showed an early interest in drawing.

In the 40s, Sadovnikov produced his best water paintings. His desire to combine detailed presentation of architecture with life in the city’s streets was implemented in the water paintings from those years and his works provide the fullest and most vibrant expression of the image of St. Petersburg of that time.

Watercolor “View of  Isaac’s Square from  Malaya Morskaya Street”, 1841 Isaakievskaya Square from Malaya Morskaya Street, 1841

Isaakievskaya Square, one of the busiest parts of the city, repeatedly drew the attention of the artist. The painting is particularly interesting due to its scenes of everyday life. The group of citizens represented in the painting acquire an independent value, pushing the architecture to the background.

View of the building site of St. Isaac's Cathedral and  Square Construction of St. Isaac’s Cathedral and Square

The cathedral was constructed by the architect, O.Montferrand, between 1818 and 1858; that is why for many years contemporaries saw the building decked in scaffolding.

In the Hermitage collection of V.Sadovnikov’s paintings, there are fifteen water paintings of views of St. Petersburg, which together with works by other artists from 1847, were sent as a present to Queen Victoria. In 1956, during a visit by a Soviet government delegation to the UK, the Queen presented them to the Soviet Union and they were subsequently deposited in the State Hermitage Museum. According to archive documents, it is known that these views were drawn from nature.

Yakubovich St., canvas, oils Yakubovich Street, oil on canvas, , painting by the modern St. Petersburg artist, Victor Egorov (2002)
View of  St.Isaac's Cathedral and the New St. Isaac Office Centre from Yakubovich Street, pastel, charcoal Isaac’s Cathedral from Yakubovich street, pastel, fusain, painting by the St. Petersburg artist, Vera Larionova (2010)