Architect Zholtovsky Ivan Vladislavovich: biography, work


Zholtovsky Ivan Vladislavovich occupies a fundamental place in the domestic architecture. During his long life, diverse events and impressions, he managed to build many noble estates, industrial buildings and large-panel houses. As you can see, the talent of the architect was truly versatile, professional and virtuoso.


What is the secret of its success and flexibility? How did this gifted master craftsman achieve universal recognition and popularity at the turn of the two empires? What is remarkable about his work for our modern generation? Let's find out.

Normal childhood

The biography of Ivan Zholtovsky dates back to the distant 1867, when a son was born in the family of a poor landowner of the Catholic faith. This bright event happened in the late autumn, in the small Belarusian village of Pinsk, famous for its shipyards.

The young heir-landowner from early childhood loved to draw and gave this occupation a lot of time and effort. He well grasped the forms and volumes of objects, miraculously conveying them on paper.

True to his abilities, young Ivan Zholtovsky immediately after completing his studies at the gymnasium (which, by the way, graduated with a gold medal) moved to St. Petersburg and entered the Academy of Arts. At that time, the young talent was twenty years old.

Principle of learning

Training at the Academy was completed eleven years later. Why did it go on for so long? The fact is that the parents of the young student could not support him in the capital, so the young Ivan himself had to earn his living by participating in various designs and constructions. By the way, this practice did not drown out the extraordinary architectural talent of the Belarusian, but, on the contrary, strengthened it, developed and improved it.


Thanks to the acquired practical skills, the novice architect Zholtovsky could learn the construction from the inside, familiarize himself with all the subtleties of the creative work, and see in action what he had known so far only on paper. Now, with the further design and erection of buildings, the young man could use the knowledge gained and create his own projects, relying on all sorts of details and particular construction. And it did not go unnoticed.

First works

The early works of Ivan Vladislavovich Zholtovsky included sketches of a tenement house, various production structures and railway stations, the restructuring and decoration of the Yusupov Palace in St. Petersburg, and the projects of monuments to the homeopath Hahnemann and the architect Ton.

All the creations of an aspiring architect, who was still studying at the Academy, were distinguished by deep penetration, seriousness of execution and unprecedented creative skill. For some of them, he received distinctive letters and incentive prizes.

Pedagogical activity

Upon completion of his studies, Zholtovsky moved to Moscow, where he was offered a teaching position at the Stroganov Art School.

In the process of teaching, Ivan Vladislavovich encouraged his students not only to draw on paper, but to delve into all the subtleties of construction, starting with laying the foundation and ending with stucco work. He believed that only practice and scrupulous deepening of the details would bring up a real, skilled architect.

However, the teaching work did not distract the architect from his true vocation. He was actively engaged in urban planning.

Early work in Moscow

One of the first buildings erected by architect Zholtovsky in the capital was the home of the Race Society.


The original construction plan was designed according to the requirements in the Gothic style. However, in the process of construction itself, the young architect changed his own project and erected a stunningly spectacular building in which he brightly and unusually combined the style of the Russian Empire style with the Italian Renaissance. The house harmoniously accommodated such different premises as stables, restaurants, office rooms, multi-tiered stands and the racetrack itself.

Other outstanding projects of Ivan Vladislavovich were elegant mansions erected on Vvedenskaya Square and in the Dead Lane, as well as industrial and public buildings built for the Konovalov factory in the village of Bonyachki.

For his considerable contribution to the construction business of the capital, architect Zholtovsky was awarded the title of academician.

Italian style

The creative activity of the architect Zholtovsky was greatly influenced by his acquaintance with classical architecture, the model of which the Russian architect considered the Italian Andrea Palladio.

Imitating him, he created many beautiful and delightful structures, which were based not only on Palladian motifs, but also on his own research and interpretation. One of these buildings is the house of Tarasov, built in 1910.


At first glance, the mansion seems to be an exact copy of the Palazzo Thiene in Venice, erected by Palladio several centuries ago. However, it is not.

Ivan Vladislavovich presented his work in another way: the house of Tarasov, as opposed to the medieval mansion, air and weightless. Its proportions are not weighted to the top, but lightened. They are harmoniously combined with the ideas and requirements of the time.

Passion for the Renaissance was reflected in almost all the works of Zholtovsky. During his life, he visited Italy more than twenty times, where he observed and explored many of his favorite architectural monuments. Thanks to his numerous sketches, measurements and watercolors, the Russian architect was able to develop and improve the classical style, creating his own modernized style.

Revolution and emigration

The architect Zholtovsky reacted calmly to the events of 1917. He continued to create his masterpieces, was introduced to Lenin, several times discussed with him the issues of reconstruction and construction, was engaged in teaching.

At the age of forty-six, Ivan Vladislavovich went to Italy, as they said, on special assignment. However, most likely, this trip was an attempt to emigration, which lasted only three years. Then the architect returned. At home, his drawings and designs were still in demand and desired.

The first work in the Union

Immediately after the return Zholtovsky charge three important projects. He rebuilt the State Bank on Neglinnaya (in whose design he uses order facades and pilasters), builds the MOGES boiler house (built in the avant-garde style, with glass facade walls) and the Government House in the Republic of Makhachkala .

Residential arrays

The subsequent projects of Ivan Vladislavovich were residential buildings. Architect Zholtovsky, creating these residential areas, introduced into them the graceful elements of Venetian palaces. A striking example of this is the seven-story building on Mokhovaya Street.


The house is decorated with a semi-colonnade for eight units, decorated with capitals and fusts. The upper two floors are designed in the form of a loose entablature and are completed with a protruding cornice.

Interesting and multifaceted was the design of the rooms in the building - the ceilings were decorated with decorative paintings, and each door had its own pattern.

Among other multi-apartment buildings built by Zholtovsky, residential buildings on the Bolshaya Kaluga and Smolenskaya Squares stand out, the planning of residential areas in Sochi is also the work of the architect.

Reconstruction of the Moscow Hippodrome

The next task of the Soviet architect was the restructuring of the building and the stands of the Moscow Hippodrome, which suffered during the 1949 fire. Reconstruction lasted for five years, and this is what has been achieved.


According to the anti-religious policy of the time, all the mythological ornaments in the form of pagan nymphs and goddesses were removed from the external facade of the building. There are only sculptures that carry a zoological and sports idea.

Other innovations in the design of the hippodrome were a massive colonnade, as well as all sorts of stucco Soviet and horse themes.

Public buildings

Among other public and urban buildings of Ivan Vladislavovich, the “Slava” cinema, opened in 1958, stands out a year before the architect’s death.


In a beautifully designed building with a height of three floors and a capacity of about nine hundred people there were two auditoriums. Four columns of the cinema “Slava”, connected in pairs, were completed with a triangular pediment with a carved arch, which was effectively emphasized by the through relief.

End of life

As you can see, Ivan Vladislavovich Zholtovsky worked until his death, which overtook him in the ninety second year of life. The most recent works of the unsurpassed master were the House of the Supreme Economic Council and the building of the Stroganov State Academy, as well as the Livadian sanatorium “Gorny” (Crimea), designed by a talented architect after his death.

Rewards and memories

The man who created a huge number of industrial and public buildings in the style of classicism, who became one of the founders of the impressive Stalinist architecture, was awarded several honorary titles, awards and orders. He is still remembered for his considerable contribution to the development of the capital and Russian art, which he made during his long professional career.

Yes, it is he - Ivan Zholtovsky, whose memory is still kept in the hearts of grateful descendants. The prospect in the Belarusian Pinsk was named after the talented architect, as well as the street in Prokopyevsk - the city of Kemerovo region. In honor of Zholtovsky, in 2008, the medal “For Outstanding Contribution to Architectural Education” was instituted.

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