Church of the Presentation of the Virgin (1688-93), Southwest View, Sol'vychegodsk, Russia


This southwest winter view of the Cathedral of the Presentation of the Virgin in Sol'vychegodsk (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. 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 fully consecrated until 1712, parts of it were functioning by 1691, and the main structure was completed by 1693. The brick facades display profuse limestone decoration--apparently carved in Moscow--in a florid style known as “Moscow baroque.” In addition to the stone columns, window surrounds, and scallop shells (above the gables), the facades are decorated with colorful ceramic tiles. The structure culminates in five baroque domes on high drums. Changes to the exterior have been made over the centuries, particularly in the 18th century, when the exterior gallery (visible here) was transformed from an open terrace into a brick-and-limestone arcade with an ornate cornice, now partially obscured by a roof.

Last updated: January 11, 2016