The palace is a prime example of early classicism architecture
The palace was designed by architect Antonio Rinaldi, whose portrait can be found on a marble bas-relief installed on a sidewall of the main staircase at the palace’s entrance. The portrait’s existence resulted from the request by the original owner of the palace, Count Orlov, who wanted to express his admiration for the talent of the architect. In the middle of the XIX century, the palace was rebuilt according to the project of architect Alexander Bryullov.
The three-storey stone building stands out in the panoramic view of the Palace Embankment with its massiveness and magnificence. The strict beauty of its architectural style is emphasised by the diverse texture and colourfulness of natural stone used in the decoration of its façades and interiors. Pilasters and columns evenly alternate with windows, and thanks to the selection of different types of stone, the whole composition is filled with calm grace.
Different varieties of marble were used during the construction of the palace, mainly from domestic deposits discovered in the 1760s along the shores of Ladoga and Onega lakes. Pink Tivdian marble is used to decorate the clock tower, attic and pilasters, uniting the two upper floors of the building. The window frames are made of grey Ruskeala marble, and the decorative wreaths between the windows of the second and third floors are made of white Ural marble. The plinth part of the building, made of Vyborg pink rapakivi granite, has a beautiful rough texture thanks to special surface treatment.
In front of the eastern façade, there’s a monument to Alexander III by P. P. Trubetskoy, which was mounted on Vosstaniya Square in 1909-1937. To the east of the building there is a monument to A.V. Suvorov by M. I. Kozlovsky on Suvorovskaya Ploshchad'.
A new stage in the life of Marble Palace began in 1992, when it was transferred to the State Russian Museum. Since then, systematic examination and scientific restoration of the unique monument have been carried out.