S. V. Zagraevsky
Published in Russian: Çàãðàåâñêèé Ñ.Â. Íîâûå èññëåäîâàíèÿ ïàìÿòíèêîâ àðõèòåêòóðû Âëàäèìèðî-Ñóçäàëüñêîãî ìóçåÿ-çàïîâåäíèêà. M.: Àëåâ-Â, 2008. ISBN 5-94025-099-8
Questions of the rebuilding of Assumption Cathedral
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 Bogolyubsky’s 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
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
The division of the walls of Vsevolod’s 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 Andrew’s 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.
Fig. 80. Arched bridges between the walls of Andrey’s cathedral and Vsevolod’s 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 "Bishop’s 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 (
The portals of Vsevolod’s 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).
Fig. 81. Assumption Cathedral. Southern wall.
N.N. Voronin showed that Vsevolod’s galleries had almost no "own" sculptural decoration: few zooantropomorphous reliefs were brought from the walls of Andrey’s 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 Vsevolod’s 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 Bogolyubsky’s 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
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
82. Cathedral in
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
First, the perspective hollows of the walls of Vsevolod’s galleries are a direct reminiscence of such hollows in the walls of the cathedral of Andrey Bogolyubsky.
Secondly, the windows in
83. Cathedral in
Third, except for window frames, similar to
Fig. 84. Cathedral in
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 Vsevolod’s galleries have different
thickness (from 1.7 to
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 Vsevolod’s galleries, despite the fact that Andrey’s temples and all subsequent Vsevolod’s temples were decorated very richly.
Secondly, due to the fact that Vsevolod’s 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 Vsevolod’s 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 Vsevolod’s 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
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
Vsevolod’s "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
© Sergey Zagraevsky