THE RUINED TOWER AND OBSERVATORY AT TSARKOE SELO, RUSSIA, J Tearnof

THE RUINED TOWER AND OBSERVATORY AT TSARKOE SELO, RUSSIA, J Tearnof

c. 1790 to c. 1820 Russia

Offered by Charles Plante Fine Arts

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The Palaces and Parks of Tsarskoë Selo or 'Village of the Tsar' provided a retreat from St Petersburg for the Russian Court and Government for various times of the year. The enormous Catherine Palace was the favourite residence of Catherine the Great (1762- 1796), who studied the concept of the English garden through her architects and collaborators including the English landscape designer John Bush (d.1795). This is the Ruined Tower (1771-73) one of the three major garden buildings by the architect Yury Felten (1730-1801), set in gardens laid out in the English Picturesque style, much influenced by Sir William Chambers work at Kew Gardens and in his book A Dissertation on Oriental Gardening (1772).

The gardens at Tsarskoë Selo were particularly desirable in the summer months and picturesque mood-evoking buildings and garden designs on the English model evolved, as so prized in France or Germany. The building of follies, or structures designed as 'ruins', as in this half-submerged example, recall the Roman Forum, for example, reminding the spectator of the civilisation found in the rest of Europe and so eagerly sought for Russia. The poetic concept of a wistful romanticism redolent of the south, so intensely encapsulated by Goethe, much read in Russia, and then by Heine with his concept of the snow-bound pine-tree yearning for the warmth of the south, is prevalent in this ravishing view captured by the Russian artist Tearnof.

The summer setting is enhanced by elegantly dressed figures, giving scale and movement to the structures; the two men on the tower underline its more prosaic function as an observatory.
N.A. Yevsina, 'Tsarkoë Selo', in the Dictionary of Art, vol 10, 1996
Dimensions
Height 255.00 cm (100.39 inches)
Width 203.00 cm (79.92 inches)
Medium
Watercolour and gouache with gum Arabic
Signed/Inscribed
Signed:Signed: J Tearnof
Charles Plante Fine Arts

Charles Plante Fine Arts
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London
SW1V 4EH

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