St. Dmitri: Apse (or east side) and North side--page 4 (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.


The apse or East facade

The central apse has three elongated windows while the side apses have only one long window. The drum and cupola are decorated. Attached columns flank the windows and the carvings contain half-figures and mythical animals. The cross is iron with gilded copper lacework and a copper dove sits at the top. See below.

Views of tops of the apses

Unlike the arcades on the three other facades, here there are no figures at the tops of the arches. The columns themselves are carved, some with an interlace pattern reminiscent of Scandinavian designs. The figural sculpture is at the base of the columns while the animal and foliate decoration is between the arches. Many of these console blocks are later replacements. Brumfield identifies two of the blocks in the center below: the face, a nineteenth century mask and to its right, a twelfth century bird. For a close up, see the middle photograph two rows down.

North Facade


North facade, left bay

The patron, Prince Vsevolod, with five of his sons, one on his lap is one of the rulers, like Christ himself, who brings authority and justice. Other sides have depicted Solomon and Alexander.

Left and right: central and right bay; center: detail of central bay

The detail shows half-figure low-relief carvings of saints. The style may have been derived from textiles or metal work.


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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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© 2017 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site) and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.