This print is one of a set of three produced at the Russian Academy of Sciences at the end of the 1720s. Though published during the short reign of Peter II (1715–30), the series gives an insight into St Petersburg at the end of Peter the Great’s life (1672–1725), after 25 years of intense development.
This view shows the timber framed Admiralty before it was rebuilt in stone in 1735. The building complex is largely concealed by the many ships under construction. Russia’s naval might is further emphasised by the magnificent ship sailing on the Neva, which recalls prints produced under Peter the Great as Russia established itself as a sea power.
At the far right of the sheet is St Isaac’s Cathedral. Designed by Georg Johann Mattarnovi (d.1719) and built between 1717 and 1727, the cathedral was newly consecrated in this view. It was dedicated to St Isaac of Dalmatia, Peter the Great’s patron saint, and was the second of four iterations of the cathedral. It was taken apart in 1758 after years of subsistence, due to its proximity to the river, and two major fires.