Outstanding architect Montferrand Auguste: biography, works

St. Petersburg, or, as it was also called,Northern Palmyra, its majestic appearance, not least due to European architects, which Russian monarchs were invited to decorate and arrange. Among them is the architect Montferrand. Many of his works today are some of the most famous symbols of the city on the Neva River and adorn most of the tourist avenues.

architect Montferrand

Auguste Montferrand: biography (childhood)

Henri Louis Auguste Ricard de Montferrand was born in 1786year in Chaillot (now part of Paris). As the architect himself admitted in the future, his parents came up with a legend about their aristocratic origin, adding to the surname the name of the estate that they owned in reality.

After the death of his father Auguste, his mother remarried. Stepfather, who was a famous architect, immediately fell in love with a clever boy and did everything to get a decent education.


In 1806, Auguste Montferrand entered the ParisAcademy of Architecture, where his teachers were P. Fontena, S. Persie and his stepfather Antoine Commare. Under the leadership of the latter he took part in the construction of the church of Mary Magdalene. However, he was soon drafted into the army, and for some time he served in Italy.

On his return to Paris, at the age of 26, AugusteMontferrand married, and after a while he volunteered to join the Napoleonic Guard. In the battle of Arno, he proved himself a brave warrior and was awarded the Order of the Legion of Honor. Perhaps Montferrand would have continued his military career, had there not been a defeat of Napoleon in the Leipzig battle, shortly after which the young man retired.

St. Isaac's Cathedral Auguste Montferrand

Meeting with Alexander the First

Today it may seem strange, but indefeated France to the Russian monarch, most of the citizens were treated without any hostility. Moreover, Auguste Montferrand was just happy when he received an audience with Alexander the First. He presented the king with an album with several architectural projects, on the cover of which was written a dedication to the Russian emperor. Among them were sketches of a colossal obelisk, an equestrian statue, the Arc de Triomphe, etc. The tsar especially liked the fact that a short list of building materials necessary for the implementation of a particular project was attached to the drawings and the approximate cost of the costs was indicated.

Some time after the audience, the architect Montferrand received an official letter, in which he was invited on behalf of Alexander the First to come to St. Petersburg.

Moving to Russia

Auguste Montferrand did not hesitate at all,how to decide on the cardinal changes in your life. In 1816, the architect arrived in the northern capital with a letter of introduction from Abraham-Louis Breguet to Augustine Betancourt. The latter served as chairman of the city planning committee of St. Petersburg, and his patronage could be extremely useful to the Parisian architect. Betancourt was impressed by the letter to Breguet, who in 1770 was his business partner, so he welcomed the Frenchman and agreed to get acquainted with his drawings. His work pleased him, and he invited the young man to take the post of head of draftsmen in the committee headed by him. However, the architect Montferran modestly refused and preferred to be enlisted in the staff as a senior draftsman. The official entry of the talented Frenchman into the Russian service took place on December 21, 1816.

The first building, which the architect Montferrand built in the Russian capital, was the Lobanov-Rostovsky house. It was located on the Admiralty Avenue, and later it housed the War Ministry.

Auguste Montferrand Biography

Saint Isaac's Cathedral

Auguste Montferrand was able to quickly establish himself on the newservice. Since his arrival in Russia it has been more than 7 years, when Alexander the First time announced a competition for the construction of a new cathedral in place of the old Isakievsky. At the same time, an obligatory condition for the approval of the project was the preservation of the already sanctified three altars. In 1813, they again began to look for an architect who could cope with such a task. The highest approval was given to the project, which was presented by Montferrand. It was approved on February 20, 1818. Construction lasted more than 40 years, and it was completed only under the reign of Alexander II.

The work of the architect was generously rewarded. Monferan received a high rank of a valid state councilor and a fee of 40,000 rubles in silver. In addition, he was awarded a gold medal decorated with diamonds.

Alexander Column Auguste Montferrand

Alexander Column

For the first decade of your stay in Russia, except foralready named facilities, Montferran designed the Lyceum Richelieu building in Odessa, the Kochubei Palace, the Industrial Complex in Nizhny Novgorod, the Moscow Arena and others.

In 1829, Nicholas II decided to perpetuatememory of his brother's victory. In his plan on the Palace Square was to rush up the Alexander Column. Auguste Montferrand better than other colleagues coped with the development of her project, especially since for many years already conceived the idea of ​​such a structure. Construction took 5 years and in 1834, before the Winter Palace, the grand opening of this monument took place, which is still considered one of the city's decorations on the Neva. As a sign of gratitude for his works, Montferrand was awarded the Order of St. Vladimir of the third degree, and his fee was 100,000 rubles in silver.

last years of life

After the divorce from his first wife Montferrand, longyears remained alone, until in 1835 he married the former actress, the Frenchwoman Elise Debonier, who remained with him until the last days of his life. The last work of the architect was the project of the monument to Emperor Nicholas the First in St. Petersburg. Death prevented Montferrand from completing this work, and the work was completed by the architect D. Efimov.

Auguste Montferrand

Now you know the details of life, whichlived the architect who built the St. Isaac's Cathedral. Auguste Montferrand spent more than 40 years in Russia and is the author of many buildings, which still cause admiration for the perfection of forms and the originality of the idea.

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