Church of the Epiphany (1787), Interior, View East with Nebo ("Sky," or Painted Ceiling), Oshevensk, Russia


This interior view of the log Church of the Epiphany at Oshevenskoe (Kargopol' District, Arkhangel'sk Oblast) was taken in 1998 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. Oshevenskoe extends along the right bank of the Chur'iuga River near the Dormition Monastery, founded by the monk Alexander Osheven in 1453. The interior of the Church of the Epiphany, built in 1787, has a remarkable four-tiered iconostasis and painted ceiling. This view includes the fourth tier--the Prophets Row--with an icon of the Mother of God of the Sign (Znamenie) in the center. The painted ceiling, known as a nebo (sky), here consists of 16 ribs attached to the octagonal walls and extending at a slight upward incline toward a central ring, which frames an image of Christ Pantokrator (Ruler of All). The 16 panels are laid upon the ribs; no nails are used. The main panel of the ceiling is the Crucifixion, placed above the center of the iconostasis. To the left of the Cross in this view are Mary the Mother of God, Mary Magdelene, and Archangel Michael. To the right are Saint John the Divine, Longinus the Centurion, and Archangel Gabriel. This interior is among the most impressive examples of the artistic culture of the Russian north.

Last updated: January 11, 2016