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Giacomo Quarenghi

1744 Valle Imagna – 1817 St. Petersburg

Giacomo Quarenghi is known primarily as an architect, although he was originally trained as a painter by Anton Raphael Mengs in Rome at a very early age. He soon discovered his gift for architecture, however, and engaged in an intensive study of the works of his great predecessor, Andrea Palladio. Quarenghi rapidly gained considerable renown as a master builder and was invited to the court at St. Petersburg by Catherine II of Russia in 1779. He became the Empress’s favourite architect, retaining this prominent position under the emperors Paul I and Alexander I. His rigorous classicism in the style of Palladio exerted a far-reaching influence on architecture in the Russian royal capital of the time.