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Cathedral of St. Vasily the Blessed, Moscow, Postnik and Barma , 1555-60. A landmark of Moscow's skyline since 6 th century Multiple churches built on one foundation. About St. Basil ( Vasily ) . Known by many names “Fool for Christ”

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cathedral of st vasily the blessed moscow postnik and barma 1555 60
Cathedral of St. Vasily the Blessed, Moscow, Postnik and Barma, 1555-60
  • A landmark of Moscow's skyline since 6th century
  • Multiple churches built on one foundation
about st basil vasily
About St. Basil (Vasily)
  • Known by many names
  • “Fool for Christ”
  • Fool: In the orthodox tradition, someone who acts against societal norms due to their spiritual calling
  • Walked unclothed, wore chains, and criticized those that lacked compassion for the poor
  • Prophetic visions of future
  • Canonized in 1588
  • Body enshrined in the cathedral
slide3

The original building was known as Trinity Church

  • The middle building was known as Intercession Cathedral
  • In the 16th and 17th centuries it was called Jerusalem
  • The official name of the church is Cathedral of the Protecting Veil or the Cathedral of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat
  • Theotokos=Mother of God=Marry
slide4

The Cathedral is Moscow's most identifying feature

  • When it was built the church was the city’s tallest structure
  • Located in city’s center, in the main public plaza, Red Square
slide5

Changes/restorations both inside and out

  • The vibrant domes were originally painted in red, white, and gold
  • Many changes to the church were due to the many fires in the city
  • Cathedral built of stone, but the spread of many fires can be attributed to the heavy use of wood in many buildings
  • Survived Stalin’s urban renewal scheme
patronage
Patronage
  • Church originally patronized by Ivan IV Vasilyevich (Ivan the Terrible Born 1530), Grand Duke of Moscow and first Tsar of Russia
slide7

Church built in commemoration of his victory over the Tartars at Kazan in the final Battle of Russo-Kazan Wars

  • Time of the unified expansive Russian empire
  • Nationalistic significance
  • The individual churches are signs of gratitude for events in the battle
  • Largest central building: Church of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God
  • 8 smaller churches symmetrically surround the center one
slide8

The individual churches were consecrated to saints whose feast days coincided with significant dates of Ivan’s conquest

  • Societal belief that God helped Muscovites in military defeat of Kazan
slide9

East: Church of the Holy Trinity

  • Northeast: small church dedicated to saints Alexander, John, and Paul (the New Patriarchs of Constantinople) because Ivan defeated a Tartar on their feast day
  • North: church dedicated to Saints Cyprian and Justina, whose feast day marks the day Ivan’s troops seized Kazan
  • Northwestern church: consecrated to St. Gregory
slide10

West: Celebrates entry of Christ into Jerusalem

  • Southwest: consecrated to Saint Varlaam of Khutyn (the patron saint of Ivan’s family)
  • South: dedicated to the Velikorestskaya Icon of St. Nicholas
  • Southeast: military defeat ton feast day of Saint Alexander of Svir
architects bios
Architects’ Bios
  • Little is known about the architects
  • Due to the style, it is clear that they are Russian and not from Byzantium, France, or Italy
  • Postnik and Barma, but Barma could just be a nickname for PostnikTakovlev
  • Obviously the architects had a sophisticated understanding of engineering
visual analysis of cathedral s facade
Visual Analysis of Cathedral’s Facade
  • The arrangement of the churches may seem simple on a floor plan, but in reality differs radically depending on the angle the viewer sees it from
  • Decretive scheme: geometric forms such as semi circles, diamonds, rectangles, stars, crosses, and triangles
  • The decoration unifies the separate structures
  • The domes have gold crosses
architectural influences and significance
Architectural Influences and Significance
  • St. Vasily’s cathedral illustrates a new style that is uniquely Russian and not Byzantium
  • Tent roofs and onion shaped domes
  • Church of the Ascension in Kolomenskoe which also had a tent roof
overview of imperial portraiture
Overview of Imperial Portraiture
  • Portraiture was popular among nobility during imperial period
  • Portraiture was very different from the Icon painting used by to church to create symbolic idealized image of religious figures
  • Icon painting influenced by eastern
  • Portrait painting influenced by western
slide16

Portraits were expected to look like the sitter (w some degree of idealization)

  • Indicate social status (clothing, accessories, and setting)
  • Statements about political or social relationships
bio of countess samoilova
Bio of Countess Samoilova
  • Born to noble family that traced back to Peter the Great
  • Even among nobility her family was quite wealthy (the size of the painting)
  • Her lifestyle went against the norms of the time
  • She married Count Nicolai Samoilov and divorced 2 years later
slide18

Married an Italian opera singer, French diplomat, and had numerous other romantic relationships (publicly and privately)

  • extravagant parties that brought together both nobility and bohemian writers, artists, and musicians
  • This kind of social mixing was not widely accepted
the portrait
The Portrait
  • Depicted as a fashionable woman and a youthful mother
  • Although she had no biological children, her Italian foster daughter is painted with her
  • The black servant indicates her social class
  • Dog is a symbol of domesticity
artists bio
Artists Bio
  • Karl Briullov was a highly successful Russian painter
  • Important figure in transition from Classicism to Romanticism
  • Briullov received his training at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg
  • Influenced by the French academy
  • Studied in Germany and Italy
slide21

Last Day of Pompeii: most famous work

  • A figure is modeled after Samoilova
  • Included in the background of the portrait
slide23

The portrait is larger than life size

  • The servant is behind the other figures indicating his lower status
  • The dog looks as if he it is excited to see her
  • Although everyone is looking at the Countess, she doesn’t make eye contact with them
  • Her physical contact with members in painting indicate benevolence and affection
  • Her gaze and pose indicate her position in the household
  • Extravagant fabrics and scenery
contextual analysis
Contextual Analysis
  • The painting depicts the luxurious lifestyle of the most privileged members of the noble class
  • Rare for women to have such independence
  • Her social standing allowed her to defy the expectations set for women
slide25

This painting may have been a subtle declaration of the artists love for Samoilova

  • References to Venus, goddess of love
  • Blanket of flowers at her feet
  • Pearl adornments
  • Shawl: traditional wedding gift given to wife from husband