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S. V. Zagraevsky

 

New researches of Vladimir-Suzdal museums

architectural monuments

 

 

 

Published in Russian: .. - -. M.: -, 2008. ISBN 5-94025-099-8

 

Introduction

Chapter 1.Organization of production and processing of white stone in ancient Russia

Chapter 2. The beginning of Russian Romanesque: Jury Dolgoruky or Andrey Bogolyubsky?

Chapter 3. About the hypothetical intermediate building of the Cathedral of the Nativity of Virgin Mary

       in Suzdal in 1148 and the original view of Suzdal temple of 12221225

Chapter 4. Questions of date and status of Boris and Gleb Church in Kideksha

Chapter 5. Questions of architectural history and reconstruction of Andrey Bogolyubskys  

                   Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir

Chapter 6. Redetermination of the reconstruction of Golden Gate in Vladimir

Chapter 7. Architectural ensemble in Bogolyubovo: questions of history and reconstruction

Chapter 8. To the question of reconstruction and date of the Church of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin on the Nerl

Chapter 9. Questions of the rebuilding of Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir by Vsevolod the Big Nest

Chapter 10. Questions of the original view and date of Dmitrievsky Cathedral in Vladimir

Notes

 

Chapter 9.

Questions of the rebuilding of Assumption Cathedral

in Vladimir by Vsevolod the Big Nest

 

 

The building up of Assumption Cathedral of 1158-1160, which had come to the state of emergency after the fire in 1185, by high galleries, was the first stone construction of Vsevolod the Big Nest. In Chap. 5 we have shown that not only the building up by the galleries and the construction of new apses took place, but also the relining of the vaults of Bogolyubskys cathedral and the dismantling of four small heads. In this connection it is seen more correct to speak not about the building up, but about the rebuilding of the Cathedral.

According to the chronicle data, this rebuilding was completed in 11891. N.N. Voronin believed that it started in 1185 immediately after the great fire of Vladimir, which took place on April 132. But the beginning of construction in the year of fire is unlikely, since before the erection of the galleries it was necessary to explore the damaged temple, to decide its rebuilding, to find the craftsmen and to hold a large amount of design work. It was hardly possible to do it before the winter. Accordingly, the most probable date for the start of construction is 1186.

Galleries are built of white stone of average quality (yellowish and porous). Their foundations are heterogeneous: their depth from 4 to 8 rows of stone, there are both large and small blocks of varying degrees of treatment, and limestone slabs, and boulders, and wooden logs (lezhni)3.

The plan of Assumption Cathedral in the rebuilding of 1186-1189 is shown at Fig. 35. This temple has 5 naves, 3 apses, 5 domes. Its length (with the apses) is about 37.5 m, width about 30 m. The average width of Vsevolods galleries 5,5 m.

The division of the walls of Vsevolods galleries repeated the division of the walls of the Cathedral of 1158-1160. The arched gables of the galleries are only slightly lower than the arched gables of Andrey's Cathedral, and that gave the rebuilt cathedral some step-type. New apses were made to the east of the old ones. In Chap. 5 we have noted that in the galleries of Vsevolod there were no corner compartments from the north-east and south-east, and eastern small heads were shifted to the west and were much less than western heads.

Additional arch apertures were made in the walls of the cathedral of Andrey Bogolyubsky during the rebuilding to ensure the unity of the internal space of the temple. However, the interior still proved to be narrow and dark (but it could not be otherwise, while having left such a large volume of old walls and having replaced the small heads of the Cathedral of 1158-1160 by the blind vaults).

The choir of the Cathedral after the rebuilding merged with the choir of the Cathedral of Andrey, having formed a large united area. It is likely that the arched bridges, which connected the galleries of 1186-1189 with the walls of the Cathedral of 1158-1160 at the level of the choir (Fig. 80), played a dual role:

they further strengthened the temple, playing the role of arc-boutants between the galleries-buttresses and the walls of Andrews cathedral;

in ancient times they could carry a wooden deck that extended choir to the entire area of the galleries. Such a hypothesis for the western gallery was advanced by N.N.Voronin4, who noted that there was no data for its confirmation. But in fact, this hypothesis still has a confirmation the top edges of the arch bridges are horizontal and have the same height in all galleries. It is unlikely that this could take place accidentally.

 

Arched bridges between the walls of Andreys cathedral and Vsevolods galleries.

 

Fig. 80. Arched bridges between the walls of Andreys cathedral and Vsevolods galleries.

 

Accordingly, the entrance to the choir of the cathedral in the rebuilding of Vsevolod could be arranged in the form of a simple wooden staircase inside the building (although it is likely that the entrance from the north, from "Bishops passage" could occur through a door, which later was mortgaged and has not yet been discovered by archaeological architectural studies).

The lisenes of the galleries of 1186-1189 are decorated by semi-columns with leafy capitals. The diameter of semi-columns is less than on the cathedral of Bogolyubsky (35 cm to 45 cm), and this allowed N.N. Voronin to say truly that in the galleries of Vsevolod "thirst for fractional details" is seen5. The arches of the arched gables of the galleries broaden to the top, as in the Cathedral of 1158-1160.

The portals of Vsevolods galleries have carved archivolts, porebriks and columns, were decorated with leafy capitals, and were significantly elongated in width, being in harmony with the general longitudinal orientation of the facades, but somewhat lowering the "solemnity" of the decoration of the temple.

The profile of the socle of the galleries has the form of a simple deflux, except for the socle of the apses (where the profile is Attic). The galleries are decorated by the arcature-columnar zone with porebrik. This zone on the southern wall of the galleries is very different from other zones of the walls and apses: it is deeped into the wall, and the columns are standing on the deflux (Fig. 81; on the other walls the columns "hang" freely).

 

Assumption Cathedral. Southern wall.

 

Fig. 81. Assumption Cathedral. Southern wall.

 

N.N. Voronin showed that Vsevolods galleries had almost no "own" sculptural decoration: few zooantropomorphous reliefs were brought from the walls of Andreys cathedral6 (Fig. 36). "Own" sculptures of zooantropomorphous type are present in the galleries in only a few consoles of the arcature-columnar zone. The spaces between the columns of the galleries were painted, as well as in the Cathedral of 1158-11607.

The windows of Vsevolods galleries diverse:

in the first tier, the windows are severe and deprived of profiling;

in the second tier, they are richly profiled, decorated with rosettes and "burdocks";

in the apses and the side parts of the eastern wall they have a profile, which corresponds to the profile of the windows of Bogolyubskys cathedral.

Assumption cathedral after the rebuilding of 1186-1189 lost its "tower-type" and acquired the proportions, stretched horizontally. Architectural forms of the rebuilt cathedral became extremely "powerful". Apparently, in connection with this N.N. Voronin believed that the temple, rebuilt by Vsevolod, became an independent architectural work, and wrote that Assumption cathedral was "the greatest achievement of Vladimir architects of Vsevolod"8.

A.I. Komech not only agreed with N.N. Voronin that the Cathedral in the rebuilding of 1186-1189 was an independent architectural work9, but believed that in 1186-1189, as in 1158-1160, a German architect worked at the temple10. The researcher based his position at the opinion that the forms of Vladimir Cathedral in Vsevolods rebuilding are similar to the forms of the Cathedral in Worms (second half of XII century, Fig. 82), and that these temples have similar window frame profiles and perspective hollows in the walls11.

 

Cathedral in Worms. Detail of the general view (western part).

 

Fig. 82. Cathedral in Worms. Detail of the general view (western part).

 

In Chap. 2, we have shown that the closeness of pre-Mongolian architecture of North-Eastern Russia to late Romanesque is not in doubt. The similarity of some architectural details lets us suggest an overall architectural influence of the Cathedral in Worms on Assumption cathedral (as on all architecture in Western Europe and North-Eastern Russia, contemporary to the "landmark" Worms temple). But there are too many arguments against the opinion that the Cathedral in Worms (like any Western European or Byzantine temples12) was a direct source of the rebuilt Cathedral of Assumption, and even more so against the opinion that an architect from Western Europe worked in Vladimir in the second half of 1180s.

First, the perspective hollows of the walls of Vsevolods galleries are a direct reminiscence of such hollows in the walls of the cathedral of Andrey Bogolyubsky.

Secondly, the windows in Worms cathedral have completely different form than in Vsevolods galleries (Fig. 83).

 

Cathedral in Worms. The eastern facade.

 

Fig. 83. Cathedral in Worms. The eastern facade.

 

Third, except for window frames, similar to Worms by profiling, there are windows of other forms and profiles in Vsevolods galleries (see above).

Fourth, in Worms cathedral the arcature and sculptural decoration are completely different (Fig. 84).

 

Cathedral in Worms. Arcature, columns, sculptures.

 

Fig. 84. Cathedral in Worms. Arcature, columns, sculptures.

 

Fifth, Worms cathedral is united by a common idea and common logic of construction implementation. In the case of Assumption Cathedral, we see the layers of architectural thought of two different eras Andreys and Vsevolods.

Sixth, it was hardly worth inviting Western architect only to rebuild Vladimir Assumption cathedral, having left not only the walls and pillars, but even the central head of the old temple.

Seventh, an invitation of Western architect was a very long diplomatic procedure (we have seen that in Chapter 2). Vsevolod had very short time for it in 1185 after the fire.

Eighth, the walls of Vsevolods galleries have different thickness (from 1.7 to 1.8 m), the layout of their parts is irregular, arched bridges have warps and different width, the foundations are of different types, and archaic lezhni were used in the foundations13.

Ninth, the arcature-columnar zone of the southern wall is located below such zones of the other walls. N.N. Voronin believed that the southern zone was made so to be better seen from below (from the other bank of the Klyazma)14, but the logic in this case could only be opposite the lower parts of the cathedral were closed by the edge of the steep and by the walls, and, consequently, the zone was to be raised above. In this regard, we support the position of A.I. Nekrasov, who called this arrangement of the zone of the southern wall "a major defect and architectural absurdity"15.

Tenth, the form of the socle is different in the walls and apses of the galleries.

Eleventh, the Chronicle absolutely unequivocally asserts that Vsevolod "did not look for craftsmen from the Germans, but used the craftsmen of the clergy of the Holy Virgin and of his people"16.

We can not accept without reservations also the point of view of N.N. Voronin and A.I. Komech that the Cathedral in the rebuilding of 1186-1189 was an independent architectural work. This also has a number of reasons.

Firstly, there are virtually no "own" sculptures in Vsevolods galleries, despite the fact that Andreys temples and all subsequent Vsevolods temples were decorated very richly.

Secondly, due to the fact that Vsevolods craftsmen combined the division of the galleries with division of Andrey's cathedral, not only symmetry, but any logic disappeared in the division of the northern and southern walls of the temple in the rebuilding of 1186-1189.

Thirdly, as we have seen in Chapter 5, the replacement of old small heads and location of the new ones were dictated primarily by constructive necessity.

Fourthly, the height of the galleries, which gave the Cathedral a new look, was also caused by constructive necessity the galleries played the role of buttresses.

Fifthly, we have said above about the diverse nature of architectural decisions of the walls, foundations, socles and arcature-columnar zones of Vsevolods galleries.

Sixthly, the inner space of the rebuilt temple, despite the erection of new light drums and punching the arch openings in the old walls, became dark, narrow and labyrinth-like, and that contradicted to the basic principles of arising Gothic style. The tower form, which approached the temples of Yuri Dolgoruky, Andrey Bogolyubsky and subsequent Vsevolods ones to architectural achievements of early Gothic and Romanesque17, also disappeared from Assumption cathedral.

Thus, there are no "own" architectural solutions in the galleries of Vsevolod, which could have given us the possibility to assume the cathedral in the rebuilding of 1186-1189 as an independent architectural work, and moreover as "the greatest achievement of Vladimir architects of Vsevolod.

We should formulate in a different way: the rebuilding of 1186-1189 gave Assumption Cathedral of Andrew Bogolyubsky fundamentally new look, no less unique than the appearance of the temple before the rebuilding. It was in no case accidentally, there was an extremely successful decision of Vladimir craftsmen, who fulfilled two purely utilitarian objectives to strengthen and expand the temple of 1158-1160.

Vsevolods "architectural pragmatism" often manifested itself in the building up of the temples by "unaesthetic" galleries (St. Demetrius and Nativity cathedrals), and in "non-prestigious" plinthite construction (Assumption cathedral of "Knyaginin" monastery, part of the walls of Vladimir citadel). In the case of Vladimir Assumption cathedral that "architectural pragmatism" was expressed in the fact that Vsevolod the Big Nest did not demolish Bogolyubskys temple and build a new one on its place, but preferred to expand and strengthen the old cathedral. Thanks to this Vsevolods decision, the walls, pillars and central head of Andrey Bogolyubskys cathedral were preserved, and we are able to judge reliably how a masterpiece of ancient Russian architecture Assumption cathedral of 1158-1160 looked like (see Chap. 5, Fig. 42 and 43).

 

Chapter 10. Questions of the original view and date of Dmitrievsky Cathedral in Vladimir

 

Sergey Zagraevsky

 

Introduction

Chapter 1.Organization of production and processing of white stone in ancient Russia

Chapter 2. The beginning of Russian Romanesque: Jury Dolgoruky or Andrey Bogolyubsky?

Chapter 3. About the hypothetical intermediate building of the Cathedral of the Nativity of Virgin Mary

       in Suzdal in 1148 and the original view of Suzdal temple of 12221225

Chapter 4. Questions of date and status of Boris and Gleb Church in Kideksha

Chapter 5. Questions of architectural history and reconstruction of Andrey Bogolyubskys  

                   Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir

Chapter 6. Redetermination of the reconstruction of Golden Gate in Vladimir

Chapter 7. Architectural ensemble in Bogolyubovo: questions of history and reconstruction

Chapter 8. To the question of reconstruction and date of the Church of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin on the Nerl

Chapter 9. Questions of the rebuilding of Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir by Vsevolod the Big Nest

Chapter 10. Questions of the original view and date of Dmitrievsky Cathedral in Vladimir

Notes

 

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