Russian architect Carlo Rossi created several of Saint Petersburg’s famous landmarks during the first half of the 19th century. When he finished Mikhailovsky Palace in 1825, it was one of the city’s most magnificent estates. This main staircase – now the grand entry of the Russian Museum – showcases the architect’s Empire Style artistry. The majestic Corinthian columns lead you up the stairs from the main vestibule. The gray monochromic hue (grisaille) is offset by ornate bas-reliefs and moldings. Notice the frieze of griffins featuring pairs of lions with eagle wings. This same imagery is seen nearby at the ends of Bank Bridge over the Griboedov Canal.