Church of the Kazan Icon of the Virgin (1694), Southwest View, Ustiuzhna, Russia


This southwest view of the Church of the Kazan Icon of the Virgin in Ustiuzhna (Vologda Oblast) was taken in 2001 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 on the Mologa River (a tributary of the Volga River), Ustiuzhna was known already in the mid-13th century for its rich deposits of iron ore. It rapidly became one of the earliest Russian centers of metalworking and achieved special prominence in the 16th century. Ustiuzhna's former commercial importance is reflected in an array of churches, of which the most striking is the cemetery church dedicated to the Kazan Icon of the Virgin. In 1694, funds for rebuilding it in brick were provided by Grigorii Stroganov, one of Russia's wealthiest merchants and a patron of richly ornamented church art. The Church of the Kazan Icon of the Virgin is one of the best surviving examples of the “Stroganov style,” with its white decorative system on painted brick walls. The main structure culminates in five ornamental cupolas and crosses. A secondary cupola crowns the chapel (pridel) of Saint Antipii (on the right), added to the east end of the south facade in the mid-19th century. In 1756-67 the interior was painted with frescoes by a group of artists from Iaroslavl'.

Last updated: January 11, 2016