Cathedral of the Annunciation (1560-84), Interior, West Wall, Fresco of Last Judgment, Sol'vychegodsk, Russia


This interior view of the Cathedral of the Annunciation at 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. Located near the confluence of the Vychegda and Northern Dvina rivers, Sol’vychegodsk (Salt of the Vychegda) became, in the 16th century, the center of vast trading operations owned by the Stroganovs, whose wealth was based on salt. The patriarch of the dynasty, Anika (Ioannikii) Stroganov (1497-1570), began the Stroganov practice of supporting the arts. Construction of the cathedral extended from 1560 to the early 1570s, but the church was not formally consecrated until 1584. The interior was painted with frescoes in the summer of 1600. They were painted over in the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly after a fire in 1819. Restoration since the 1970s has uncovered original frescoes on the west wall, the central part of which is visible here. As is typical in medieval Russian churches, the west wall depicts the Last Judgment, with symbols of the Apocalypse. The upper part displays Adam and Eve (the Expulsion from Paradise). On the lower part is an inscription about the painting of the frescoes, as well as a sacred towel motif.

Last updated: January 11, 2016