St Isaac's Cathedral would be like Rome without St Peter's or Paris without Notre Dame. Situated in the centre of Leningrad, practically on the bank of the Neva River, this stupendous building dominates the city's skyline. St Isaac's is one of the greatest domed buildings in the world: it is 101.5 metres high, weighs about 300,000 tons, and occupies more than a hectare. In this unique architectural monument created in the first half of the nineteenth
century we find architecture inseparably combined with decorative art - painting, sculpture, and mosaics. The profusion of colours and variety of materials used in the interior of the Cathedral is truly staggering. More than 400 kilograms of gold, 1,000 tons of bronze
, and 16,000 kilograms of malachite went into its decoration. Apart from the overall designer and supervisor of the Cathedral's construction, Auguste Montferrand, many gifted Russian artists participated in the project: the painters...