The palace is an outstanding sample of early Neoclassicism in Russia
The Marble Palace is a unique architectural monument of the second half of the 18th century. Built on the place of the Post Yard of Peter the Great's times, it has become a splendid end of the gala Palace embankment of the Neva.
The construction of the palace, started in 1768, lasted for 17 years and was completed in 1785. The main construction material of the exterior and interior decorations of the building was a natural stone: granite and marble of different colours, that imparted the palace a unique originality and afterwards gave it the name of the Marble Palace.
The Marble Palace amazed contemporaries by its luxury, magnificence of interiors, and beauty of sculptural and painterly decorations.
However, the first owner of the palace Grigory Orlov did not live to see its magnificence. He died in 1783 when the interior decoration of the palace had not been completed. Catherine II bought it from Grigory Orlov's heirs and gifted it to her grandson Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich on the occasion of his marriage to Princess Julianna Henrietta of Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld. She accepted Eastern Christianity and got the name of Anna Fyodorovna.
The Main Staircase is decorated with grey Ural marble. The stairs are made of dark grey sandstone. Paris' Judgement plafond by the German painter of the 18th century J. Krist is located in the centre of the Main Staircase ceiling.
Stone decoration of the Marble Room amazes by the variety of colours, elegance, richness, perfection of marble's processing, excellent style of its selection, and overall arrangement. Seven marble sorts of Greek, Italian, Ural, Karel, and Siberian rocks were used in the decoration of the Marble Room. The room is decorated with bas-reliefs by F. Shubin and M. Kozlovsky and Venus's Triumph plafond by S. Torelli.
A new stage in the life of the Marble Palace began in 1992, when the building was rendered to the Russian Museum.
In January 2020 it is celebrated the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica by Russian seafarers F. F. Bellingshausen and M. p. Lazarev. The exhibition dedicated to the year of Antarctica in Russia features about 100 works of painting, graphics, sculpture, numismatics, decorative and folk art from the collection of the Russian Museum.In January 2020 it is celebrated the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica by Russian seafarers F. F. Bellingshausen and M. p. Lazarev. The exhibition dedicated to the year of Antarctica in Russia features about 100 works of painting, graphics, sculpture, numismatics, decorative and folk art from the collection of the Russian Museum.