Orlova Maria

Decor of the facade of Nativity Cathedral in Suzdal: the problem of reconstruction

Orlova Maria (2019) "Decor of the facade of Nativity Cathedral in Suzdal: the problem of reconstruction ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia V : Voprosi istorii i teorii hristianskogo iskusstva, 2019, vol. 36, pp. 48-65 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturV201936.48-65


There is no suff ucient data for tenable judgments about the exterior decoration of the upper part of Nativity Cathedral in Suzdal. The long-established opinion about the rich carved decor of this part of the cathedral can hardly be considered convincing. The process of development of carved exterior adornment in churches of Vladimir and Suzdal could be not as straightforwardly linear as it is traditionally thought. It cannot be excluded that the line of evolution of stone carving in Vladimir and Suzdal slightly “curved” after a sui generis pinnacle, i.e. the decor of the facade of Dmitrievskiy Cathedral. It cannot be excluded that the Suzdal cathedral represented a diff erent type, a different conception of the exterior adornment. It was characterised by a laconic structure, a diff erent expressiveness — the expressiveness of simplicity, — exquisite yet modest ornamental stone carving, meaningful accents. A whole range of specifi c features allow us to suppose that in the creation of its exterior decoration participated new-coming masters of the new wave. They used specifi c Romance examples and attempted to adjust them to local conditions. The colour of the facades could also be specific in this case. The spaces between the columns in the blind arcade of the Nativity Cathedral were probably not left empty. They were designed for fresco painting. Images of saints and prophets could be situated in them, just like in the Dormition Cathedral in Vladimir.


pre-Mongolian period, Nativity Cathedral in Suzdal, facade decoration, stone carving, ornament, Romance art, theme of lions


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Information about the author

Orlova Maria

Academic Degree: Doctor of Sciences* in Art Criticism;
Academic Rank: Senior Research Fellow;
Place of work: State Institute for Art Studies of Ministry of Culture of Russian Federation; Kozitskiy Pereulok 5, Moscow 125009, Russian Federation;
Post: Leading Researcher;
ORCID: 0000-0001-6177-8818;
Email: maria-orlova@mail.ru.

*According to ISCED 2011, a post-doctoral degree called Doctor of Sciences (D.Sc.) is given to reflect second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates.