Nikolay Durasov’s Palace in Liublino

The manor or ‘palace’ takes a particular place in the composition of the estate as it is situated asymmetrically in relation to other buildings, standing on a high hill above the pond and surrounded by a picturesque park.

The palace was built in 1801-1805 inclassical style according to a project of Moscowarchitect Ivan Egotov. As it was conceived by the customer, a rich Moscowlandowner Nikolay Durasov, the palace was to have the form of an Order cross in plan to eternalize the fact that the Order of St. Anna, 1st class, was awarded to Durasov in 1800. Complying with the taste of his customer, Egotov projected the building as a centric construction with a combination of the cross and the circle in its plan.

In the center of the composition there is a rotunda with a dome that is surmounted with a statue of St. Anna. Four wings equal in size are attached to the rotunda perpendicularly. Over some of the first floor premises Ivan Egotov constructs additional rooms that adjoin the dome. Along the outside perimeter of the building there is a two-row column gallery that turns the rooms of the ground floor into a light and elegant enfilade with marvellous capitals that serves as the main decoration of the palace and shows its architectural grandeur.

The interior composition of each room corresponds completely to its functions. In the decoration of gala halls and reception rooms the architect shows all the spectre of his brilliant talent while the interior of service rooms and easements looks simpler and purely practical.

The central halls located one above the other are decorated with painting that imitates architectural elements such as caissons, fluted pilasters and sculptural reliefs. The upper central hall with big semicircular windows and dome roofing gives an impression of open air space. The roof and walls of the round hall on the ground floor were decorated by Giovanni Battista Scotti, famous Italian decorator who worked inMoscowin the XIX century.

Both halls in the wings of the cross-shaped building are notable for a richness of architectural, sculptural and painting art: one can see columns and pilasters with composite order capitals, cornices with rich ornaments as well as ceiling and wall bas-reliefs. The walls of the Marble hall were faced with white marble; on the ceiling there is a plafond decorated with The Feast of Bacchus painting. The walls of the Pink hall were faced with imitative pink marble and side walls were decorated with landscape paintings. On the ceiling one can see grisaille paintings and small colourful rosettes.

The richness and magnificence of the interiors contrast with the laconic design of the façades. All the four façades are identical and the technique applied to elaborate them was rather plain.  Longitudinal walls have a smooth surface; the windows and the wall surface proper are very well proportioned. Side walls of the wings are emphasized with triple windows with pilasters and bas-reliefs over them. Fine bas-reliefs must have been made by two different masters whose names are unknown. Colonnades and the through arches of the supporting vaults make up a wonderful composition full of light and dark contrasts. The gala entrance to the palace is on the east side.

After Nikolay Durasov’s death (1823) none of the subsequent owners of the estate brought any changes into the exterior or interior of the palace.

Soon after the October Revolution Nikolay Durasov’s palace came to be used as a railroadmen’s clubhouse (till 1929). Then the building was served numerous purposes and functioned as Militia Administration, Gas-pipeline Section Management, art workshops, hostels, living premises and storage facilities. In 1948, the Marine Hydrophysical Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences was located in the palace.

In 2005, Nikolay Durasov’s Palace became part of the museum-reserve and an exposition was opened in its halls.

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