December 23, 2011

Church of the Intercession (1743, 1761), Interior, View East with Upper Tier of Icon Screen and Nebo ("Sky," or Painted Ceiling), Liadiny, Russia

This interior view of the wooden Church of the Intercession of the Mother of God at the village of Liadiny (Kargopol’ District, 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. The main space of the Church of the Intercession of the Mother of God, built around 1762, contains a partially preserved, four-tiered iconostasis and a superb painted panel ceiling known as a nebo (sky). This view includes the fourth tier--the Prophets Row--of the iconostasis, with an icon of Christ Pantokrator in the center. The painted ceiling is supported by 12 ribs extending at a slight upward tilt toward a central ring, which frames an image of God the Father. The 12 oil-painted panels rest upon the ribs; no nails are used. The main panel of the ceiling is the Crucifixion, placed above the center of the iconostasis. To the left of the Cross stand Mary the Mother of God and Mary Magdalene. To the right are Saint John and Longinus the Centurion. The left panels depict Archangel Michael, Saint Matthew (with the angel), and Archangel Rafael with the youth Tobias. The right panels depict Archangel Gabriel and Saint John (with the eagle). Winged seraphim grace all of the panels. The ceiling corners display images of trumpeting angels.

Church of St. John Chrysostome (1665), Southwest View, Saunino, Russia

This southwest view of the log Church of Saint John Chrysostom (near Kargopol', 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. The Church of Saint John Chrysostom, whose basic structure dates from 1665, was built in a cemetery at the edge of the village of Saunino. Its noble form represents the best traditions of north Russian log architecture. The main part of the church is a cube of notched pine logs supporting an octagon that culminates in a "tent" tower (shatër) clad in five plank tiers and a cupola covered in aspen shingles. A large refectory (trapeznaia), added onto the west side of the church after construction of the main structure, has its own altar, marked on the south side by a smaller cupola (visible here). The elevated entrance to the church originally would have been on the west side, but a rebuilding of the refectory in the late 19th century included a new entrance at the south corner. Standing separately, to the south of the church, is an unusual hexagonal bell tower, also with a "tent" roof. The church interior has a partially preserved iconostasis and a painted ceiling (nebo) in the traditional style of northern religious art.

Cathedral of the Annuciation (1560-84), Southwest Panorama with Vychegda River, Sol'vychegodsk, Russia

This southwest 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) is in an area of many salt springs. In the 16th century it became 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 Stroganovs’ practice of supporting the arts, including the Cathedral of the Annunciation, the last of the great masonry churches of the Russian north, during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. Work on the cathedral began in 1560 and apparently was concluded in the early 1570s, although the cathedral was not formally consecrated until 1584. The church is only two bays in length, but it has the five cupolas typical of major Russian churches. The exterior originally culminated in curved gables (zakomary), whose outlines are still visible beneath a four-sloped roof dating from the 18th century. The large neoclassical bell tower was added in 1819-26.

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

This southwest view of the Cathedral of the Presentation of the Virgin in Sol'vychegodsk (Arkhangel'sk Oblast) was taken in 1999 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 elaborate icon screen on the interior required several more years to complete. The church is distinguished by the limestone decoration--apparently carved in Moscow--on its brick facades. In addition to 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. Changes to the exterior have been made over the centuries, particularly in the 18th century, when the gallery--originally an open terrace--was enclosed in a brick and limestone arcade with an ornate cornice (now obscured by a roof).

Cathedral of the Annunciation (1560-84), East View, Sol'vychegodsk, Russia

This east view of the Cathedral of the Annunciation at Sol'vychegodsk (Arkhangel'sk Oblast) was taken in 1999 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) is in an area of many salt springs. In the 16th century, Sol’vychegodsk became 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 Stroganovs’ practice of supporting the arts, including the Cathedral of the Annunciation, the last of the great masonry churches of the Russian north during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. Work on the cathedral began in 1560 and apparently concluded in the early 1570s, although the cathedral was not formally consecrated until 1584. The church is only two bays in length, but it has the five cupolas typical of major Russian churches. Additional chapels were attached at the north (on the right) and south corners. The exterior originally culminated in curved gables (zakomary), whose outlines are still visible beneath a four-sloped roof dating from the 18th century.

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.