This article deals with the typology and construction of staircases that lead to choir galleries (catechumena) in Novgorod churches of the late 13th–15th centuries. Three types of construction are distinguished: 1) one-fl ight staircase within the western wall; 2) stone staircase located along the western part of the northern wall; 3) wooden staircase in one of the western corner compartments. Intramural staircases as well as wooden staircases placed in one of the western corners of the church building are characteristic of the late 13th — fi rst half of the 14th centuries. Later, from the 1360s and up to 1430s, mostly stone staircases were erected; these are situated along the western part of the northern wall. Sometimes wooden staircases or staircases in the thickness of the western wall occur. Since the 1430s, staircases appear only in churches “on old foundations”; as a rule, they are intramural (it is only the church of Resurrection at Lake Myachino, 1463, that has a stone staircase in the northwestern part of the basement). Apart from the structure of church buildings, the article examines staircases in civil buildings (the “chamber of Vasily Kalika”, 1350, and the Faceted Palace, 1433). The article gives a detailed account of the main parameters of the staircases (width, step height, type of overlap); it also considers questions of their illumination, provides an analysis that includes comparison with constructions of monuments of pre-Mongolian period. Special attention is paid to the types of external staircases that were constructed in the 15th century in the basement of the church. A number of two-storey buildings of the 15th century did not have porches, instead, staircases were constructed from one or two sides. At the same time, many churches had western porches and staircases at the side facades. One can only tentatively speak of the form of these staircases, as they have not been preserved anywhere; moreover, no trace of their foundations have been found. The study of buildings of other centres of Old Russia of the late 13th — 15th centuries has demonstrated that there are no complete analogies with Novgorod staircases in the Old Russian architecture of that period.
Old Russian architecture, Rus’ in 13th-15th centuries, staircases, building constructions, Novgorod the Great, the constructive technology, church interior
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Antipov Ilya Academic Degree:
Candidate of Sciences*
in Art Criticism; Place of work:
St Petersburg State University; 5 Mendeleevskaia Liniia, St Petersburg 199034, Russian Federation; Post:
Associate Professor; ORCID: 0000-0002-0907-305X
*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.
The article is written in 2018 within the framework of the project "The architecture of Veliky Novgorod in the XI–XV centuries: building materials and structures" supported by RFBR Foundation.