However, you should not build a contemptuous mine, they say, "Kustodiev sold to the Bolsheviks." Recall that most of the paintings of great artists were written to order. The same B. Kustodiev, it seems, not only out of love for the Fatherland, painted the portrait of Emperor Nicholas II, but also received a decent payment for this painting. Even after the revolution, in the time of famine, two young scientists, Prof. P. L. Kapitsa and N. N. Semenov, paid the artist for their double portrait with a bag of millet and a live rooster. These products were received by young physicists for repairing a mill in a village near St. Petersburg. So, ultimately, the picture was paid for by the "reactionary kulaks". And it should be remembered that in the last years of his life the artist was sick and practically immobile. So the order from the Bolsheviks was very useful to him.
For me, this picture was the source of two discoveries. First, upon detailed examination, it turned out that the Uritsky Square is the Palace Square. Has it ever been renamed? Looking into the encyclopedia, I found that, in fact, renamed, and not only her. In the pre-war Leningrad there was neither Nevsky Prospect, nor Sadovaya Street, nor St. Isaac's Square. And Liteyny Prospect was not there either. All of them received Soviet names.
Nevsky Prospect became a street on October 25, St. Isaac's Square - Vorovskogo Square. Liteyny Prospect became Volodarsky Prospect. But Sadovaya Street was called July 3rd Street. This glorious date in Soviet history textbooks of my time was associated with "shooting a peaceful demonstration of the workers." But from the description of the events of those days, even in Soviet textbooks, it became clear that this was the first and unsuccessful attempt to seize power by the Bolsheviks. Renaming affected not only streets and squares. The Winter Palace was called the Uritsky Palace. Fortunately, although St. Isaac's Cathedral was not renamed Vorovskiy. In 1944, most of the Leningrad streets slowly returned the old names.
The second discovery I made was also striking; it was enough just to get a close look at the picture of Kustodiev. The Winter Palace, which I was used to seeing bluish-greenish, with white columns, was red! The first thing that was thought of was that the Bolsheviks who had come to power repainted the facade in a revolutionary color.
Nothing like this! It turned out that the color of the Winter Palace in terracotta color was approved in 1901 by Nicholas II. In the same color painted and the General Staff building. This color of the Winter Palace can be seen in the picture by P.P. Sokolov-Skaly "Storm of the Winter Palace", which was written in 1947, the thirtieth anniversary of the revolution. This picture illustrated history books, although it was not at all historical. But for the formation of the legend of the shooting of the Aurora and the storming of the Winter Palace by the Red Guard troops, this did not matter much. Two or three generations believed in this legend, and many people were shocked when they began to say that the storming of the Winter Palace, if it could be called a storming, was completely different. The crushing of already established legends is always shocking.
It is unlikely that the usual color of the coloring of the Winter Palace could be attributed to the legends. But the fact that the Winter Palace for 250 years of its existence changed its color more than once, struck me no less than any veteran of the revolution and the Civil War would have affirmed that there had been no storming of the Winter Palace.
Although, if you think about it, there is nothing surprising in this. Winter Palace was built exactly as a home. And the housing must be periodically repaired, including repainted, based on the tastes of customers and architects.
The builder of the current building of the Winter Palace, the architect B.F. Rastrelli (1700 - 1771), completed his work in 1762. The palace was painted with light yellow paint, and stone carvings were highlighted with white lime. This coloring is visible in the paintings depicting the views of St. Petersburg in the last quarter of the 18th century. The plaster of the Rastrelli times of this particular color has also been repeatedly discovered by restorers.
Under Paul I, the color of the palace was preserved, only the yellow color became more intense. From 1819 to 1829 on the opposite side of Palace Square under the direction of the architect K.I. Rossi (1775−1849) erected a magnificent General Staff building. Naturally, the architect realized that its construction should be in harmony with the building of the Winter Palace. Therefore, upon completion of the construction, the General Staff was painted in a grayish color, highlighting white stone ornaments and columns. Subsequently, both buildings were painted uniformly. The ensemble is so ensemble!
In 1837, in the reign of Nicholas I, there was a fire in the Winter Palace. The palace demanded a serious renovation, which was led by an architect V.P. Stasov (1769 - 1848). After this reconstruction, the palace was painted with paint that had an ivory shade. The remains of this plaster, too, found by restorers.
In the reign of Emperor Alexander II, the color of the facades of the Winter Palace was changed. The palace began to paint a more dense yellow ocher paint, not highlighting the stone decor. And in the 1880s, under Emperor Alexander III, the Winter Palace began to be painted yellow. Stone patterns and columns again began to allocate, but not white, but brownish, terracotta paint. At the same time, in the Winter Palace, the wooden gates were changed to wrought metal. Metal gates appeared in the arch of the General Staff. In the films about the October Revolution, the gates are heroically stormed by the Red Guards and sailors.
With the accession of Nicholas II, it was ordered to paint both the Winter Palace and the General Staff building in terracotta, red-brick color. This color can be seen in the picture of B. Kustodiev.
In such a terracotta-red color, the Winter Palace remained until the end of the 1920s, when experiments began on a new coloring of its facades. In 1927, the palace was painted gray, in 1928-1930 - in a gray-brown gamut. In 1934, the Winter Palace attempted to paint it with an almost orange-colored oil paint. It is of this color that the Winter Palace is depicted (albeit from above) in the painting by the artist V. Kuptsov “Airplane Maxim Gorky”, created in 1935.
But it turned out that the oil paint damages the stones of the facade of the palace. Therefore, in 1940, the decision was made to remove it. But the Great Patriotic War began, and the facade of the Winter Palace was masked with gray paint.
In 1945-1947, a representative commission of architects and builders proposed painting the Winter Palace with natural lime colors: the walls were emerald-bluish in color, the columns, cornices and window framing were white, and the stucco decor was golden ocher. My generation remembered the Winter Palace and the Hermitage painted in such colors that seemed completely natural and almost invented by Peter the Great invented.
Although, as historians tell us, the facades of all the Winter Palaces that existed since the times of Peter the Great, had a yellow-white color of various tonalities. So the great Rastrelli did not come up with anything from himself, having offered to paint his creation in exactly this way. It seems that he understood perfectly that light and warm colors would be very useful under the gloomy sky of the northern capital.