Empire style (“Empire style”) – style of late (high) classicism in architecture and applied art. Originated in France during the reign of Emperor Napoleon I; developed during the first three decades of the XIX century; was replaced by eclectic currents.
The style of Empire is the final stage of classicism, emerged in the first third of the XIX century. In France, the epoch of Napoleon Bonaparte, the classicism degenerated into a top imperialist style, the essence of which was reflected in its name (from the French empire – “empire”). Style became widespread in many European countries and actively developed during the first three decades of the XIX century.
In imperial France, the empire distinguished the solemnity and splendor of the memorial architecture and palace interiors created by the court architects of Napoleon Charles Persie and Pierre Fontaine
In the Russian Empire, this style appeared under Alexander I. The invitation of foreign architects to Russia was a frequent occurrence, as among the titled persons it was fashionable, and at the beginning of the 19th century there was a passion for French culture in Russia.
For the construction of St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Alexander I invited the beginning French architect Henri Louis Auguste Ricard de Montferrand, who later became one of the founders of the “Russian Empire”.
Russian Empire was divided into Moscow and St. Petersburg, and this division was determined not so much by the territorial sign, as by the degree of separation from the classicism – Moscow stood closer to him. The most famous representative of the St. Petersburg direction of the Empire was the architect Carlo Rossi, among other representatives of this style it is customary to call the architects Andreyjan Zakharov, Andrei Voronikhin, Osip Bova, Domeniko Gilyardi, Vasily Stasov, the sculptors Ivan Martos, Theodosius Shchedrin. In Russia Empire dominated in architecture until 1830-1840.
The revival of the empire in its degenerate forms occurred in Russia during the Soviet period, from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s. This direction of the Empire is also known as the “Stalin Empire”
Empire refers to the so-called “royal styles”, which can be characterized by theatricality in the design of architectural buildings and interior interiors. The peculiarity of the architectural empire consists in the obligatory presence of columns, pilasters, stucco moldings and other classical elements, as well as motifs that reproduce almost unchanged antique samples of sculpture, like griffins, sphinxes, lions’ feet and similar sculptural structures.
These elements are arranged in the Empire in an orderly manner, with the observance of balance and symmetry. The artistic design of the style with its massive lapidary and monumental forms, as well as its rich decoration, the content of elements of military symbols, the direct influence of artistic forms primarily of the Roman Empire, as well as of Ancient Greece and Hellenism, was intended to emphasize and embody the ideas of the might of power and the state, armies
Empire style appreciated the elongated silhouette, created with an eye for antique peplows and tunics. Dresses were sewed with a high waist, under a breast intercepted a girdle, and behind put a platen from a horsehair. The neck and arms were left open. The cloths of the dresses below were embroidered with gold and silver thread, green palm leaves.
The bottom edge was trimmed with chenille, paillettes and sequins. If the dress was elegant, intended for visits and dances, then he often had short sleeves with puffs. Under tunic dresses, they wore shirts or flesh-colored tights. The female body was clearly visible. Sometimes even dresses made of thin materials were dampened with water to adhere to the body . The decollete was also as open as possible.