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Golden Ring architecture and art



Golden Ring architecture and art

The majority of the Golden Ring's surviving architectural monuments date from spurts of building and rebuilding after the collapse of Tatar power. Most (particularly the fort-monasteries of Suzdal) were bankrolled in the 16th century by the Moscow princes, and from the 17th century by the Church (as happened in Rostov) and a new class of rich merchants (as in Yaroslavl).

But the buildings that gave the region a key place in the story of Russian architecture were constructed before the Tatars came. Most important are three 12th century buildings in and near Vladimir: the cathedrals of the Assumption and St Dmitry, and the Church of the Intercession on the Nerl. These are the vital link between the architecture of 11th century Kiev and that of 15th century Moscow - early northern interpretations, in majestic, finely carved white stone, of Kiev's Byzantine brick churches.

The Vladimir-Suzdal region was also a chief inheritor of Kiev's Byzantine artistic traditions, though only a few fragments of 12th and 13th century frescoes survive in the Vladimir and Suzdal cathedrals and in the old church at Kidiksha. (Some icons also survive in Moscow and St Petersburg museums.) While still primarily Byzantine, these works show a bold use of color and a range of human emotions that heralds later Russian developments.

This 'Vladimir-Suzdal school' came to an end with the Tatar invasions, and Novgorod was left to continue the development of Russian art. Art revived, prolifically, in the Golden Ring from the 15th century onwards but never regained its earlier pioneering role - though the colorful, realistic late 17th century murals by Gury Nikitin of Kostroma and his followers, which adorn several Golden Ring churches, shouldn't be missed.

Wooden Architecture. Along the roads and in the villages of this region are many northern-style 'gingerbread' log houses, decorated with bright paintwork, carved doorways and window frames - and often a pensioner at the front with a bucket of vegetables for sale.

At Suzdal, Kostroma and Palekh, old wooden houses and churches are assembled in museums of wooden architecture - a convenient way to see some beautiful feats of 16th to 19th century carpentry.

Crafts. The region is also famous for art on another scale. The villages of Palekh, Mstyora and Kholuy, all north-east of Vladimir, became centers of icon painting as early as the 13th century and later developed special skills at working in miniature. When the 1917 revolution destroyed the market, many painters here turned to lacquer miniatures of legendary or historical scenes on papier-mâché boxes, a technique first developed in the 19th century around the village of Fedoskino, north of Moscow. Nowadays, most people know these tiny works of art as 'Palekh boxes'.

Other regional traditions include the crystal and glasswork of Gus-Khrustalny near Vladimir, the textiles of Ivanovo, and finift, the finely painted enamelware of Rostov-Veliky.

Moscow. Cities of the Golden Ring of Russia.

Moscow. Cities of the Golden Ring of Russia.

Sergiev Posad. Cities of the Golden Ring of Russia.

Sergiev Posad. Cities of the Golden Ring of Russia.

Suzdal. Cities of the Golden Ring of Russia.

Suzdal. Cities of the Golden Ring of Russia.

Rostov-Veliky. Cities of the Golden Ring of Russia.

Rostov-Veliky. Cities of the Golden Ring of Russia.




About Golden ring

Golden ring history

Architecture and art

Tour to the Golden Ring



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