Nevsky prospekt, 1830-1835
The panorama of Nevsky prospekt created by Vasily Sadovnikov in 1830-1835 presents a picture of a street far more architecturally harmonious than it is today. The three- and four-storey houses form a front of almost uniform height and style. The facades are smooth expanses of plastered wall broken by neat rows of evenly spaced windows, infrequent balconies, and non-emphatic, understated archways and front doors, and topped by gently pitched, almost flat roofs. Decoration consists of the restrained application of a limited repertoire of elements (bands of shallow rustication, simple cornices, Classical pediments and head mouldings over some windows, pilasters rather than columns, and very occasional bay windows). This shallow decor does not contradict the general two-dimensional flatness of the street front. The plaster is painted in a restricted range of pastel shades of yellow, white, and grey/blue. Overall, the impression is of a tranquil, well-ordered environment. The individual houses here are content to stand in line, shoulder to shoulder, presenting a united front. They have yet to start jostling one another or flexing their architectural muscles to catch the attention of passers-by.