Russian Architecture and the West

Dmitry Shvidkovsky; Photographs by Yekaterina Shorban; Translated by Antony Wood

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An unprecedented account of the history of Russian architecture and its previously unrecognized links to the Western tradition

This is the first book to show the development of Russian architecture over the past thousand years as a part of the history of Western architecture. Dmitry Shvidkovsky, Russia’s leading architectural historian, departs from the accepted notion that Russian architecture developed independent of outside cultural influences and demonstrates that, to the contrary, the influence of the West extends back to the tenth century and continues into the present. He offers compelling assessments of all the main masterpieces of Russian architecture and frames a radically new architectural history for Russia. The book systematically analyzes Russian buildings in relation to developments in European art, pointing out where familiar European features are expressed in Russian projects. Special attention is directed toward decorations based on Byzantine models; the heritage of Italian master builders and carvers; the impact of architects and others sent by Elizabeth I; the formation of the Russian Imperial Baroque; the Enlightenment in Russian art; and 19th- and 20th-century European influences. With over 300 specially commissioned photographs of sites throughout Russia and western Europe, this magnificent book is both beautiful and groundbreaking.

Dmitry Shvidkovsky is vice president of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts, and professor and head of the Department of the History of Architecture, Moscow Institute for Architecture. He is the author of The Empress and the Architect: British Architecture and Gardens at the Court of Catherine the Great, published by Yale University Press. Yekaterina Shorban is senior research fellow of the Department of the Register of Architectural Heritage, State Institute of Art History.

"Russian architecture has been interpreted as something different, something essentially un-European.  But Shvidkovsky, in this challenging, magisterial and sumptuously illustrated book, argues that this is quite wrong, and that links with the west have always been evident in Russian architecture..." --- Gavin Stamp, Building Design

"Shvidkovsky stands on the shoulders of giants: his generous acknowledgements are a Who's Who of European and Russian architectural historians.  The result is a thrilling architectural grand tour, not dry scholarship." --- Adam Wilkinson, Architect's Journal

"Shvidkovsky, one of Russia's leading architectural experts, traces foreign influences in Russian construction back over a thousand years, systematizing Russian styles and schools into an understandable, convincing progression. The photography by Yekaterina Shorban . . . combines with the text to make this a museum piece in its own right, preserving in several hundred pages the wealth and beauty of ten centuries of Russian architecture."—Paul E. Richardson, Russian Life

"Professor Shvidkovsky has once again given us a superb and scholarly work on the architecture of Russia." - Architectural Review

"This work is the most detailed publication of specific foreign influences, including Byzantine, Italian Renaissance, Elizabethan, Baroque, 18th-century Enlightenment, 19th-century, and especially 20th-century architecture. . . . One of the outstanding features of this book is the superb illustrations with details of all buildings discussed. These 300 color and black-and-white photographs by Shorban are almost as important as the text by Shvidkovsky. . . . Highly recommended."—Choice

"The author's knowledge of new research in the field is demonstrated throughout, and he cites recently discovered documents that record a group of English architects or master craftsmen who were sent by Elizabeth I to work at the court of Ivan the Terrible betwen 1567 and 1571."   -Andrew Hopkins, Apollo Magazine

"Some 250 luscious colour photos plus 150 black and whites illustrate this handsome book. Equally persuasive is the author's argument that, contrary to accepted opinion, the West loomed large in Russian architectural design and practice as far back as the 10th century."—Wall Street Journal (Christmas Gift Books)

"Handsomely illustrated. . . . A learned and visually rich tome which is on interest beyond architecture."—Ruth Wallach, Slavic and East European Journal

"It is...a pleasure to welcome Russian Architecture and the West, a major contribution to the history of Russian architecture by David Shvidkovskii....there can be no doubt that [this] excellent book will serve as a lasting resource for the study of Russia's architecture."—William C. Brumfield, Slavic Review

Winner of a 2007 Professional and Scholarly Publishing Award for Excellence in the Architecture and Urban Planning Category, given by the Association of American Publishers.

Selected as a 2008 AAUP University Press Book for Public and Secondary School Libraries.

Short-listed for the 2008 Sir Banister Fletcher Award presented by the Authors' Club.
ISBN: 9780300109122
Publication Date: May 31, 2007
480 pages, 9 1/2 x 11 1/4
150 b/w + 250 color illus.