1730 – 1801
Who was Yury Felten?
Yury Felten was born Georg Veldten, into a family of German immigrants to Russia. His father worked for the Russian Academy of Sciences. Young Yury Felten studied on a Russian State scholarship at the Gymnasium of the Academy of Sciences.
In 1744, after the death of his father, Felten moved to Germany. From 1744 to 1749 he studied at Tübingen University, but his financial and personal situation prompted him to move back to St. Petersburg. Felten wrote a letter to Empress Elizabeth, and she extended her hospitality and a scholarship, so he completed his studies at the Russian Academy, graduating in 1752 as an architect.
From 1752 to 1762 Felten worked as assistant to the celebrated architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli during the construction of the Winter Palace and other buildings in and around St. Petersburg. In the 1760s and 1770s he designed a complex ensemble enclosing the south side of Palace Square, now partially incorporated into the present buildings of the General Staff. At the same time, he designed the Old Hermitage, a wing of the growing Hermitage complex on the waterfront, and worked on the winter garden on the roof of the Small Hermitage, as well as extending the museum's galleries.