Реферат: The Archangel Cathedral

At the very edge of Borovitsky Hill there rises one of the finestedifices of the Moscow Kremlin. This is the Archangel Cathedral. As legendgoes, back in the 13th century a wooden church stood in its place,one dedicated to the Archangel Michael, the recognized patron of the Russianprinces in their military affairs. In 1333, a whitestonechurch was erected on its site to become the main princely cathedral. In 1340,Grand Prince of Moscow Ivan Kalita was buried here.From that time on, the cathedral served as a necropolis.

In the late 15th century, Moscow, now the capital of apowerful centralized state, underwent another round of reconstruction andembellishment. In 1505-1508, a new Archangel Cathedral replaced the old one.Its erection marked the completion of the ambitious construction project in thelate 15th-early 16th century Moscow Kremlin. Built to thedesign of Alevisio Novy ofItaly, the Archangel Cathedral combines typical features of the architecture ofVenice of the Renaissance period, Byzantium and EarlyRussia.

The Archangel Cathedral, a five-domed six-pillared edifice, is built inbrick, while its sockle and splendid decor are laidin white stone. It was for the first time in Russia that elements of theclassical system were employed so extensively and consistently in the design ofthe facades. The intricately shaped cornices produce the effect of a two-storeyed structure, while double-tiered pilasters toppedwith carved capitals articulate the facades vertically, each articulationending in a traditional Russian zakomara enclosing acarved whorl typical of Venetian architecture. The architect paid specialattention to the western wall, accenting with whitestoneportals the main cathedral entrance which recedes into a deep loggia. Theportals were decorated with carved ornament running over a blue painted ground.In 1980, the carved ornament was cleaned and the original colourwas restored.

The cathedral interior is austere and simple. Six cruciform pillarsdivide the space into three naves illuminated by two rows of slit-like windowsand magnificent brass chandeliers made by Moscow masters specially for theArchangel Cathedral in the late 17th-early 18thcenturies. Built into the western wall are additional four-storeypremises, a chapel with wide windows looking out into the cathedral interior.

          The Archangel Cathedral had aconsiderable impact on the further development of Russia architecture. Manybuildings were modelled on it in the 16thand 17th centuries.

          The Cathedral was first decorated withfrescoes in 1564-1565. Some fragments of those painting have survived in theloggia of the western portal and in the chancel. In 1652, TsarAlexei Mikhailovich gaveorders that “the Church of the Archangel Michael be painted up anew and the oldpaintings be scraped off”. The work was completed in 1666. Taking part in itwere nearly a hundred artists from Moscow, Yaroslavl,Kastroma and other cities, supervised by the renownedmasters Stepan Rezanets andSimon Ushakov. For many years the frescoes of the   Archangel Cathedral remained obscured by the18th-19th century overpaint anda thick layer of dust and soot. It was only in the 1950s that restorershappened to uncover the well-preserved 17th century paintings. Onecan mow see that the vaults and upper tiers of the southern and northern wallsof the cathedral are traditionally decorated with frescoes illustratingepisodes from the Gospel. An appreciable part of the frescoes feature miraclesworked be the Archangel Michael who helped people in their efforts to establishand consolidate Christian faith and in their strivings towards goodness andjustice. The composition are majestic and monumental, while the radiant festivecolour gamut gives one a feeling of jubilation.Particularly vivid are the battle scenes reminding one of the nation’s long andhard struggle for the liberation and unification of the Russian lands. Adistinctive feature of the Archangel Cathedral collection is a vast gallery ofidealized images of historical personalities comprising over sixtyconventionalized portraits of Russian princes. Painted on the pillars are theimages of Vladimir Kievsky (died in 1015), Andrei Bogolyubky (apr. 1111-1174), Alexander Nevsky(apr. 1220-1263) and other princes included in the pantheonof Russian saints. The images of the princes buried in the Cathedral are placesdirectly over the tombstones.

The Cathedral’s four-row carved wood iconostasisdates back 1680-1682. The icons of the upper three rows and several icons ofthe bottom row were painted by Armoury artists underthe supervision of the “favoured” icon-painter Fyodor Zubov. They are done inthe ehiaroscuro manner typical of the late 17thcentury with certain elements of perspective arrangement. A vast amount ofrestoration and research work carried out here in 1979-1980.

          The oldest and most noteworthy frescoin the Archangel Cathedral is “The Archangel Michael and His Acts” painted inthe late 14th or early 15th century. The unknown artistshow the Archangel clad in armour with a raised swordin his hand. The dynamic swing of the figure, the powerful wings and the sternvisage create the image of a warrior prepared for battle. The ideas of eternalstruggle between the good and the evil, spiritual perfection and the defence of the native land, so popular in Early Russianart, have found expression here.

          For several centuries the ArchangelCathedral was one of the most revered churches in Moscow. The princes and tsars came here to play their respects to the ancestorsbefore starting out on military campaign. The Cathedral holds forty-six tombsof members of the families of the Russian grand princes and tsars,covering the period from the 14th century to the first third of the18th century. Crucial stages in the history of the Russian state areassociated with the names of many of those entombed here, such as theunification of the Russian lands under the aegis of Moscow undertaken by Ivan Kalita in the 14th century; the stubbornstruggle against the Tartar-Mongols and the victory won over them in the Dmitry Donskoy and Vladimir Khrabry; the consolidation of the Russian state and thegrowth of its international prestige in the 15th and 16thcenturies under Ivan the Third and Ivan the Terrible, and also the Russianpeople’s heroic liberation struggle in the 17th century in which thename of troop commander Mikhail Skopin-Shuyskyfigures prominently. The interments are under the cathedral floor. On thesurface are the burial monuments, white tombstones engraved with fine ornamentand memorial inscriptions. In the beginning of this century they were enclosedin glazed metal casing.

          Resting by the south-eastern pillarunder a carved white-stone canopy is Tsarevich Dmitry, Ivan the Terrible’s sonwho perished in Uglich in 1591. After routing Pseudo-Dmitry the First’s troops in 1606,the remains of Tsarevich Dmitry were moved tothe Archangel Cathedral. The tombstone is surrounded with an openwork grating,a remarkable monument of the casting art of the first third of the 17thcentury. Preserved in the altar are the relics of the holy martyrs Prince Michail of Chernigov and Boyar Fyodor who perished in the in the Golden Horde in 1245.

          In 1963-64, on the decision of aspecial commission, the graves of Ivan the Terrible and his sons Ivan and Fyodor buried in the chancel section of the Cathedral wereopened, and anthropologist M.M. Gerasimov createdsculptural portraits of Tsar Ivan the Terrible and Fyodor Ivanovich on the basis ofthe skeleton remains.

          At present the unique monument ofRussian history and culture is a museum where optimum conditions are providedfor keeping the icons, frescoes and diverse church attributes in a good state.The museum’s research personnel are studying both the history of itsconstruction and the works of art preserved here. At the same time, theArchangel Cathedral continues to be one of the most revered sanctuaries arehelp regularly several times a year.

          The Archangel Cathedral will remainforever a living witness of the history of the Kremlin, Moscow and the Russianstate and immortal evidence of the talent of its builders and artists who wereable to express in architectural forms and painted images the people’sboundless love of their mother country.

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