One of the oldest and finest of the aristocratic residences in St. Petersburg, the Stroganov Palace has a prominent location on the corner of Nevsky Prospekt and the Moika River Embankment, and now houses part of the collections of the State Russian Museum.
The Stroganov family had been prominent merchants since the 15th century, but rose to the ranks of the aristocracy only in the reign of Peter the Great. The family was brought to national prominence by Baron Sergey Griogoryevich Stroganov in the reign of Empress Elizabeth, and by his son Count Alexander Sergeevich Stroganov, who was a leading St. Petersburg administrator and ended his life as President of the Academy of Arts and Director of the Imperial Public Library. It was the former who commissioned the building of the Stroganov Palace from Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli in 1752. The exteriors that he created were completed in 1754, and remain intact to this day, one of the most prominent masterpieces of late Baroque in St. Petersburg.
The most impressive interiors of the palace, however, are those created by Andrey Voronikhin, architect of the Kazan Cathedral, who was employed by Count Alexander Sergeevich to remodel the interior decor in the neoclassical style. Many of these have now been restored and opened to the public as the State Rooms in the eastern enfilade of the building, among them the remarkably ornate Mineral Study, which housed Count Alexander's library and collection of precious stones and minerals, and the Picture Gallery, which was once home to his impressive art collection, including works by Rembrandt and Poussin.
The building was passed by the government to the Russian Museum in 1988, and the Stroganov Palace has been the subject of intensive restoration work ever since. External restoration was completed in 2003, while the results of work on the interiors are now gradually being revealed.