Friday, March 12, 2010

Postcard Friendship Friday! If It's Not Baroque, Don't Fix It

Today In History: Today's postcard, from Russia (with love) shows the University of Moscow which was built by Mikhail Lomonosov with the encouragement of Elizabeth I, Empress of Russia. The University, said to be the oldest university in Russia was founded on March 12, 1755. If you say you are in the class of '99, the question would be: Was that 1799, 1899, or 1999?

This drawing is of the original University building.

Elizabeth was the daughter of Peter the Great and followed in his footsteps by encouraging education, the arts and of couse the beautiful architecture, which is known as Elizabethan Baroque.
The baroque style swept Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries. The word baroque probably comes from the Italian, barraco and is a term first used to describe the asymmetrical rough edged pearls. Baroque came to mean elaborate and profuse ornamentation. This style of architecture was promoted by the Council of Trent. The command was to build with a style of motion, shade and shadow and to elaborately display the wealth and stability of the Church while honoring God with a effusive display of art.

Elizabeth I's grandiose Winter Palace by architect Bartolomeo Rasterelli is an example of the Elizabethan baroque style.

The beautiful Smolny Cathedral, also by Rastrelli, is another lasting ornate monument to her reign

The Sant'lvo Cathedral is a fine example of Spanish Baroque with it's beautiful corkscrew tower. The motion, shade and light of this style is very evident here.

Not surprisingly, England was not the least bit interested in what Europe was doing. It wasn't until Sir Christopher Wren designed St. Paul's Cathedral that the Brit's enjoyed their own version, known as the English baroque style.

Amazing 360 degree view of the interior of St. Paul's Cathedral

While Europe and England raised these confections of wonder, the people of the New World were lucky to have a roof over their heads. One-room, rough hewn log cabins chinked with mud and plaster were the style of the day in the "suburbs". The more populated areas reveled in the Federal, Colonial and Cape Cod styles of architecture. Sturdy, staid and independent. Just like the new Americans.

The Governor's house, in Williamsburgh Virginia, built by Wren, is known as Flemish Bond style.

The brickwork shown above is an example of Flemish Bond.

So, as usual, I digress. We started in Russian confections, and ended up in a Williamsburg brick. On the way we found a beautiful baroque pearl necklace which, by the way, retails at about $7,900 but can be had on sale for a mere $2,999 if you hurry.

For more Postcard Friendship Friday fun, hurry over to Beth's at The Best Hearts Are Crunchy.


jeannette stgermain said...

What a winter palace! It looks bigger than a mall:) With the Russian royalty, its intriguing that she as a woman had so much influence (as a European, not a country were I would expect it from).
In classical music the Barogue period is my favorite (Bach, etc.)

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I find it quite surprising that Russia's first university was quite so late. I was only last night reading about St Paul's Cathedral and the Great Fire. If it hadn't been for that and so much rebuilding needed, no doubt there would have been little Baroque style at all.

Beth Niquette said...

How absolutely wonderful! Lovely blog--beautiful postcards!

Happy PFF!

Postcardy said...

I took a history of architecture course once, but it was a long time ago and I have forgotten most of what I learned.

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

Gorgeous postcard, images and narrative on your post.

Blessings & Aloha!
( of your little ones on your sidebar are adorable.)

Irene said...

I love your title, and what a lot of facinating information. Thank You, Happy PFF

Joy said...

Long time ago I visited Moscow and the University buildings are built to a huge scale, but then it is a huge country. Baroque to brick, some wonderful architecture and interesting story.

Mary said...

I enjoy reading the leaps from one subject to another. They make total sense to me!

Lyneen said...

Great history... loved learning about Baroque in Russia and Europe. Happy PFF

Vintage Postcard Gallery said...

once again, a wonderfully informative post! i have given you a "Sunshine Award" and linked to your blog in my latest post! xx debs