1758-1762, architect A. Rinaldi
An indispensable part of the grand suburban residences of the XVIII century, is that they were different kinds of "entertainment" constructions. They were designed for a carefree pastime of the tsar and his entourage, for "summer ceremonies" and receptions. There was also a tradition of building in summer residences, the "toy" fortresses, that were used for entertainment of the imperial and grand children. In Oranienbaum, the similar fortress "Peterstadt" was constructed for the Grand Duke Peter Feodorovich, the future emperor Peter III.
In outline, the fortress resembled a twelve-pointed star, with its rays embordering the ramparts and the wide moat. Here, there were military buildings, the lutheran church, as well as the imperial palace that, unlike other buildings, had two floors. Of all the "Peterstadt" constructions, only the palace and the Honorable gate have preserved. The miniature palace of Peter III, by the refinement of its proportions and the elegance of the decor, is one of the most consummate works of the architecture of the XVIII century. It was the first independent work of Antonio Rinaldi in Russia, bearing the features of Rococo - a style, that was not widespread in our country.
The dimensions and the unobtrusive exterior design of the palace, have the character of an intimate country residence. This building was not intended for receptions and ceremonies, but served as a place to relax after military exercises. In these elegant interiors, the host's own wonderful and friendly world was reigning - the world of a musician and a passionate collector. The ground floor is occupied by the service premises, that do not have any artistic decoration. On the first floor there are six rooms: the Front room, the Pantry, the Picture Hall, the Study, the Bedroom and the Boudoir. The purpose and the layout of the rooms are fully consistent with the palace etiquette and everyday life. Despite the small sizes of the premises, the palace character is emphasized in all of them - not by the sumptuousness, but by the subtlety and the elegance of the materials used. Rinaldi turned to the decorative techniques, that were often used in the Russian architecture. The interior lacquer panels of the Palace of Peter III, reminiscent of the Lacquer cabinet in "Monplaisir", and the tapestry style of hanging the paintings in the Picture Hall, was a commonly used decorative technique for designing the halls of the imperial palaces, in the first half of the XVIII century.
The Palace of Peter III was hardly damaged during the Second World War, and today it appears in its original form. The visitors have a unique opportunity to walk through the halls, that keep the memory of an unusual Russian Emperor, as well as to go down the covert spiral staircase from his chambers, onto the territory of "Peterstadt" fortress.
The museum exhibits the personal belongings of Peter Feodorovich: the cocked hat, the scarf and the uniform of the colonel of the Holstein infantry regiment. As commandant of the fortress, he often appeared in this attire on the palace balcony to greet his people.
Today, the palace of Peter III, is not only a rare architectural monument of the XVIII century, and the first of the preserved works of A. Rinaldi; it is also the place of concentration of the first-class works of the Russian arts and crafts, as well as the originals and copies of the paintings by the Italian, Dutch, German and Flemish painters of the XVII-XVIII centuries.
The Palace of Peter III will be closed the whole 2017 year for the restorarion.