Domenico Trezzini, the first architect of St. Petersburg, left not so many documents after himself. These are mainly letters and plans. His only surviving work of art is a watercolor sketch of an angel for the spire of the Peter and Paul Cathedral.

Surprisingly, the exact location of this valuable document has not been specified until recently. Through decades, only low-quality black-and-white photocopies of the drawing were reproduced in books and online publications, followed by an outdated source indication.

In the year of the 350th anniversary of the great architect, we at the Golden Trezzini Awards Arrangements Committee decided to fill this gap. After several months of consultations with state archives, we received the exact inventory number of Trezzini's drawing and its first ever high-resolution digital copy. We also received a scan of Domenico Trezzini’s letter to Prince Alexander Menshikov, which actually consisted the drawing. It is now verified that the letter and the drawing are kept at the Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts (RGADA) in Moscow, and we thank the archive staff for their kind help with making the scans!

By the way, the angel we can see now on the spire of the Peter and Paul Cathedral is not that one made after Trezzini's sketch. Trezzini's angel was installed in 1724, but only stayed on its place for 32 years. In 1756, it was ruined by lightning and fire. Afterwards, the sculpture was damaged in storms or fires several times, and the current is already the fourth! Depicting a flying angel with a cross in his hands as well, it is not a copy of the angel by Trezzini. The latter can only be imagined by the drawing.

Domenico Trezzini. Sketch of an angel for the spire of the Peter and Paul Cathedral. 1722 (two versions of a digital copy)

Domenico Trezzini's letter to Prince Alexander Menshikov. 1722.


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