Chambers of Bishop Joseph Zolotoy (1764-69), East Facade, Vologda, Russia


This photograph of the chambers of Bishop Joseph Zolotoy in Vologda was taken in 1995 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. Before the founding of St. Petersburg in 1703, Russia depended on a northern route through the White Sea for trade with western Europe. One of the main centers on this route was Vologda, whose importance is reflected in architectural monuments such as this distinctive structure. Located in Archbishop's Court adjacent to the Cathedral of Saint Sophia, this residence was built for Archbishop Joseph in 1764-69 (architect unknown) and demonstrates the influence of secular palace design on religious institutions during the 18th century. The colorful decoration of the residence--the use of painted trompe-l'oeil rustication and other decorative elements on the main brick façade, itself painted red--represents a provincial adaptation of an ornamental approach to architecture prevalent in Muscovy at the end of the 17th century. The building has recently been carefully renovated, although little remains of the original interior, apart from a few magnificent tile stoves characteristic of 18th-century Russian palace interiors.

Last updated: January 11, 2016