Church of the Presentation of the Virgin (1688-93), Interior, View East toward Icon Screen, Sol'vychegodsk, Russia


This interior view of the Cathedral of the Presentation of the Virgin in Sol'vychegodsk (Arkhangel'sk Oblast) was taken in 1996 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. This spectacular church was built for the Presentation Monastery, founded in 1565 by the Stroganov family as part of their trading compound at Sol’vychegodsk. Construction began in 1688 with the support of Grigorii Stroganov, soon to become prominent in the reign of Peter the Great. Although the church was not consecrated until 1712, parts of it were functioning by 1691, and the main structure was completed by 1693. The interior has a rare vaulting system that supports the large structure and its five cupolas without free-standing piers. The effect is one of bright spaciousness, intensified by the lack of frescoes. Instead, the interior space is dominated by a magnificent seven-tiered iconostasis, carved by Grigorii Ivanov and installed in 1693. The iconostasis consists of a gilded wooden frame with an intricately carved grapevine motif and a small amount of statuary. The icons were painted on canvas with oil paints by the Stroganov artist Stepan Narykov and show strong Western characteristics.

Last updated: January 11, 2016