St. Dmitri: South facade--page 3 (of 4 pages)

1193-97; some of the figures in the carvings and the colonettes are 18th century restorations; in the 19th century apparently drastic reworkings occurred.


South facade from a distant hill

Small attached colonettes flank the windows of the drum and both carvings and decorative masonry embellish the drum and cupola. See below.

South facade, center bay


Portal of South facade with rows of carved archivolts

Each of the three facades has a central door.

Center bay arcade with statues of Russian princes

Brumfield says that Alexander Nevskii is depicted but doesn't identify the particular statue; my guess is he is second from the right (below, right).

South facade, left bay

Unlike sculptural programs in western European Romanesque art, where the tympanum is usually readable, even from a distance (see St. Tromphime at Arles or St. Pierre at Moissac or Ste. Foy at Conques, for example), often the sculpture on this palace church is difficult to see and/or interpret. However, in this zakomara, the meaning is clear; the baptism of Christ is clearly illustrated--with an oversized Holy Spirit and a readily identifiable God.

South facade, right bay

Brumfield explains that this scene in the zakomara illustrates the apotheosis of Alexander the Great, a story which would have been known "through the Alexander Romance, a legendary version of his deeds that circulated in Byzantium and medieval Europe" (54).

Continue to page 4.

Works Consulted or Quoted:
William Craft Brumfield. A History of Russian Architecture. Seattle: University of Washington P, 2004.
George Heard Hamilton. The Art and Architecture of Russia. New Haven: Yale UP, 1983.
Tamara Talbot Rice. A Concise History of Russian Art. New York: Praeger, 1974.

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