S. V. Zagraevsky
Published in Russian: Çàãðàåâñêèé Ñ.Â. Íîâûå èññëåäîâàíèÿ ïàìÿòíèêîâ àðõèòåêòóðû Âëàäèìèðî-Ñóçäàëüñêîãî ìóçåÿ-çàïîâåäíèêà. M.: Àëåâ-Â, 2008. ISBN 5-94025-099-8
The beginning of “Russian Romanesque”: Jury Dolgoruky or Andrey Bogolyubsky?
First of all, it is necessary to define what we mean by “Russian Romanesque”.
This term was suggested by F. Halle
even in 1920s for pre-Mongol white stone churches of North-Eastern Russia1.
In Soviet times it was almost not used, because for such terminology, which
directly linked architecture of Ancient Russia and
In the post-Soviet era this term was used by A.I. Komech – in the name of his scientific work and without comments, i.e. as a kind of unconditional reality2.
However, this term is actually quite conventional, and its scientific use requires a number of reservations.
Perhaps the main attribute that determines the
"Russian Romanesque" is smoothly-treated white stone construction.
The vast majority of Romanesque churches and castles in
The second most important feature of Romanesque
architecture, embodied in pre-Mongolian architecture of North-Eastern
portals are another important element of Romanesque. We see them in
Note that in pre-Mongol architecture of other ancient Russian duchies there also were many Romanesque elements: arcature decoration (as in St. Sophia of Novgorod, cathedrals in St. Anthony and St. George Monasteries in Novgorod, and many others), stair towers (as in St. Sophia cathedrals in Kiev and Novgorod, and many others), "tower-like" form (as of the churches of Parasceva Pyatnitsa at the Marketplace in Novgorod and of Archangel Michael in Smolensk), colorful decoration of facades (as in Boris and Gleb Church in Grodno), and even the evidence of basilica (as in some churches in Polotsk principality). This emphasizes the arbitrariness of the term “Russian Romanesque” again.
There is another reason why even with respect to Suzdal we may use the term "Russian Romanesque" only conditionally. In North-Eastern Russia neither in pre-Mongol, nor in post-Mongol time any basilica was built: all temples (except for some pillarless and hip churches) had Greek-cross plans. Even Assumption Cathedral in Moscow (1475-1479), the inner space of which was solved in the spirit of Gothic "hall church", and Trinity Church in Chashnikovo (XVI century), devoid of altar apses, are classical Greek-cross temples by architectural type.
We can complete our conversation about the conventions
of the term "Russian Romanesque" by a quote from I.E. Grabar:
"Nowhere else can be met a church, a cathedral, a palace or a building
that could be taken as an example of
Now, having defined some terms, we can proceed to evaluate the roles of Yuri Dolgoruky (born in the beginning of 1090s, died in 1157, ruled in Suzdal since 1113 (probably since 1096), the Grand Prince of Kiev since 1155) and Andrey Yurievich Bogolyubsky (ca. 1111-1174, ruled in Suzdal since 1157) in the formation of Ancient Russian architecture and, in particular, of “Russian Romanesque”.
Among historians there is a strong stereotype detracting
Dolgoruky’s activity compared with the activity of Bogolyubsky. Perhaps a role
here is played by a very negative image of Yuri, which was established by
Thus, V.N. Tatishchev wrote: “This Grand Prince
had a considerable growth, was thick, had a white face, not very big eyes, long
and curved nose, small beard, was a great lover of women, sweet food and
drinks; was considered more about fun than about ruling and army, and all his
ruling lay in power of his ministers and favorites… He did a few things
himself, more his children and allied princes did…”
Andrey Bogolyubsky, who was canonized in the beginning
of XVIII century, looked in his court chronicles much more attractively. Of
course, a great importance for the formation of his stereotypes as a
"martyr" and "collector of Russian lands"
And even Bogolyubsky’s death of the hands of murderers turned out to be much more "honorable" than Dolgoruky’s death by poison or excessive gluttony at the feast. And the fact that the dead body of Andrei Yurievich lay under the wall of the palace for a long time (and the squad and townspeople knew about his death), and then the priests were not allowed to bring his body into the church, and it, being wrapped into a carpet, lay two days in the forechurch, Soviet historiography interpreted more positively than negatively: it was explained as a consequence of rejection by the boyars and "backward" citizens of Bogolyubsky’s activity in “collecting of Russian lands.”
In this study there is no place for discussions if
Dolgoruky’s activity was destructive or constructive, and how significant his
historic role was in relation to the role of his son. Whose victories over
feudal lords, "free"
All these issues are to be investigated by the means of general history, but we are dealing with history of architecture. And so, firstly we shall look at the overall scope of church, fortification and civil construction of Yuri and Andrey.
2. Overview of architecture of Yuri Dolgoruky and of Andrey Bogolyubsky
Let's start with the listing of Yuri Vladimirovich’s known buildings:
1. Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Pereslavl-Zalessky;
6. Big city-fortress of Pereslavl (ramparts length
7. Fortress in Juriev-Polsky;
8. Probably, the fortress in Kideksha (see Chap. 4);
9. Fortresses in
10. Probably the fortresses in Zvenigorod, Peremyshl, Gorodets and Mikulin10;
11. Fortified yard in
12. Probably two palaces in Kiev11;
13. "Lives of the Holy Fathers of Kiev-Pechersky
Monastery" called Dolgoruky also a builder of Nativity Cathedral in the
Also note that Yuri Dolgoruky made the exploration and primary (most problematic) development of quarries in Suzdal (see Chap. 1).
Known construction of Andrei Yurevich:
1. Assumption Cathedral in
2. Assumption Cathedral in
3. Church of Our Saviour Transfiguration in
4. Church of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin on the Nerl river;
5. Church of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin in Bogolyubovo;
6. The white stone palace in Bogolyubovo;
7. White stone fortress in Bogolyubovo;
9. Golden Gate in
10. Silver Gate in
Thus, the overall scale of construction of Yuri Dolgoruky and Andrey Bogolyubsky looks quite comparable.
Yuri Dolgoruky was the first who started European
stone technology using in Suzdal. Ornamental decoration of
"universal" Romanesque type, used on many temples in Western European
countries (Figs. 10 and 11), was applied in Pereslavl and Kideksha (Figs. 12
and 13). In the
Fig. 10. One of the many hundreds of European churches with the "universal" Romanesque decoration (village
Fig. 11. "Universal" Romanesque decoration on the cathedral in
Fig. 12. "Universal" Romanesque decoration on Holy Transfiguration Cathedral in Pereslavl-Zalessky.
Fig. 13. "Universal"
Romanesque decoration on the
Stretched up drums of Jury’s temples,
combined with a relatively small tchetverik (the main volume of the building),
give the "tower-like" – very European – form of construction.
G.K. Wagner wrote that the churches of “tower-like” type had a dynamic
striving upward, and it is possible that if the development of “altitude”
architecture had not been interrupted by Mongol invasion,
Small size of Dolgoruky’s temples was
rigidly conditioned by "the limit of reliability" of white stone
building. The author of this book showed14 that almost all the
temples that exceeded “the bounds of reliability”, which had been defined by
Yuri’s craftsmen (the inner space of the main volume – less than
The “limit of reliability” of white stone construction, defined by the craftsmen of Dolgoruky, was successfully (albeit unsignificantly) exceeded only twice in history of ancient architecture: in Trinity Cathedral of Trinity-Sergius Monastery (1422-1427) and in the Church of the Transfiguration in Ostrov (end of XVI century)15. Those "pyramid" temples were outstanding achievements of construction engineering even for their time. And we're talking about the XII century.
Researchers of ancient architecture of XIX-first half of XX century (as N.P. Kondakov16, D.N. Berezhkov17, A.S. Uvarov18, A.I. Nekrasov19, F. Halle20) recognized the continuity of Bogolyubsky’s architecture on architecture of Dolgoruky. But this situation changed radically after the publishing of the major work of N.N. Voronin: “Architecture of North-Eastern Russia of XII-XV centuries”21.
N.N. Voronin thought that Yuri Dolgoruky, "a convinced
philhellenist, who married a Byzantine princess, was a friend of Novgorod
Archibishop Nifont and his like-minder in matters of church policy"22,
applied in his architecture some features of Romanesque only by chance.
According to N.N. Voronin, "if we imagine Yuri’s temples built of
brick, they will differ little from the contemporary buildings of Ancient
Russia in the sense of lack of “Romanesque features”23. The
researcher noted that the arcature was still on Sophia in
And for the fact of white stone building (the defining characteristic of "Russian Romanesque") N.N. Voronin adhered the version of N.P. Kondakov and D.N. Berezhkov that Yuri had no craftsmen, and since he feud with the overwhelming majority of Russian principalities, he had to invite an artel from Galicia25. Consequently, by N.N. Voronin, the beginning of white stone building in Suzdal land also was not a hallmark of Dolgoruky.
Thus, Yuri Dolgoruky appears in the fundamental work
of N.N. Voronin as a provincial governor, who did not have his own
craftsmen and had to use an artel from distant
This view is fully shared by O.M. Ioannisian, who specified that the artel that came to Suzdal from Galicia in the late 1140-1150s, formerly (until 1110s) had worked in another Western province – Lesser Poland26.
And only architecture of Andrey Bogolyubsky, who had craftsmen from Frederick Barbarossa27, and "from all lands"28, according to N.N. Voronin29 (to whom O.M. Ioannisyan30 and A.I. Komech31 joined), turned out to be at the Grand prince’s (and even at the imperial) level.
This is now a stereotyped view at Bogolyubsky’s architecture, not less stable than the stereotypical view at Andrei Yurievich himself as a "martyr" and "collector of Russian lands."
3. Criticism of the "Galician version"
We are in no way going to belittle the importance of Andrey Bogolyubsky’s architecture. Big Assumption Cathedrals in Vladimir and Rostov, zooanthropomorphous decoration of churches, "ceremonial" Golden Gate and the Church of Intercession on the Nerl (and presumably the Church of Our Saviour in Vladimir – see Chap. 8), white stone city walls and the palace-temple complex in Bogolyubovo (see Chap. 7), – all the above was an invaluable contribution to the treasury of Russian and world architecture.
We're going to show that the architecture of Yuri Dolgoruky was not a "provincial" in any case, that it was exactly the real beginning of “Russian Romanesque”, and that architecture of Andrey Bogolyubsky can not be considered outside the context of architecture of his father.
The scale of Dolgoruky’s construction and that his
craftsmen identified the “limit of reliability" of white stone building
for many centuries ahead, we have already mentioned in Section 2. We shall now
consider "Galician version" – the version of hypothetical
architectural influence of
Detailed criticism of “Galician version” was shown by the author of this study in the book "Yuri Dolgoruky and ancient Russian white stone architecture”32, and here it makes sense to mention only a few key points.
First, as we said in Sec. 1, construction of white
stone was many times more expensive than of brick. And even if we assume the
Third, plans and sizes of Galician churches of the
first half of XII century are absolutely different33 (Fig. 14).
Methods of surface treatment of units in
Fig. 14. Plans of Galician and Suzdal churches (by O.M. Ioannisian):
2 – Church in Zvenigorod Galitsky;
3 – Church of Our Saviour in Galich;
4 – Church in "Tsvintariski";
5 – Our Saviour Transfiguration Cathedral in Pereslavl;
7 – St.
George Church in
Fourth, even assuming that in Lesser Poland, Galicia and Suzdal one and the same hypothetical artel was building, then isn’t it strange why in a half-century (1110-1150s) no competitors for that artel appeared? And isn’t it strange that the work of such "superartel" was not reflected in annals? The invitation of skilled craftsmen was an extraordinary event: let us recall the craftsmen "of all lands" and the craftsmen "of Frederick Barbarossa" at Andrey Bogolyubsky (see Sec. 6), and important reservation of Vsevolod’s chronicler, that the prince "did not look for craftsmen at the Germans” (see Chap. 9).
Fifth, the construction artel consisted at least of 80
people (with their wives and children – more than 200 people)34 and
the passage of so many people (and not vagrants or merchants, but valuable
builders) from Galich to Suzdal at the distance of over
Sixth, in the book "Yuri Dolgoruky and ancient Russian white stone architecture"35 the author of this study substantiated: if the requirements for timing and quality of construction allowed the use of local personnel, the princes, as a rule, preferred that option. Naturally, it is primarily about the "ordinary" builders (i.e. the vast majority of the artel). Architects, icon-painters, jewelers and other unique and highly specialized professionals could move from prince to prince and from town to town very often.
And when there were no orders for construction, local craftsmen could carry on any handicraft (mostly carpentry), and even peasant labor. Moreover, the construction might not be their primary qualification. They were and remained urban artisans or farmers, and work on the construction gave them opportunity to earn money and (or) to get an allotment.
With regard to the qualification for "ordinary" construction, any Russian peasant even in our time is capable to perform construction work in very broad profile, especially under the guidance of highly skilled craftsmen. And about the most difficult part of construction – erection of arches and drums – it is known that this work was carried out by wooden forms36. Consequently, the main work turned out to be carpentry, and the experience of such work in the ubiquitous wooden building in the XII century was enormous.
And let's not forget that in every city many wooden and brick civil buildings were erected except temples and fortifications37. So even for a professional builder the need to move from town to town, and even more so from the principality to principality arose not as a rule, but as an exception.
And the author of this study showed in the book “Yuri Dolgoruky and ancient Russian white stone architecture” that Yuri had his own craftsmen even since Monomach times38.
Seventh, as we have shown in Sec. 1, the deposits of
white stone in Suzdal it was impossible to explore within a year or two.
Consequently, the "spontaneity" of stone building, which allegedly
forced Yuri to invite
If Dolgoruky had "spontaneously" decided to
build something, it could only be plinthite (less expansive, but
"undesirable") construction. For example, he could have invited
craftsmen from his ally Svyatoslav Olgovich of
Eighth, the deposits of limestone of various types,
suitable for construction, in
Ninth, “at the same time (in 1152 – S.Z.), Prince George was in Suzdal, and God made him wiser eyes on church building, and he erected many churches in Suzdal land, and the stone Church of Holy Martyrs Boris and Gleb on the Nerl, and of Holy Saviour in Suzdal, and of St. George in Vladimir, also of stone, and transferred Pereslavl town from Kleschenia, and founded the great city, and completed there the stone Church of Holy Saviour, and wonderfully filled it with books and relics, and founded Gergiev town, and completed there the Church of Holy Martyr George”39.
This message of “Typograph” Chronicle under 1152 eliminates
the arrival of an artel from
Tenth, the origin of "Galician version"
refers to the end of XIX century, when in accordance with the tenet
"Orthodoxy, national roots, autocracy" it was possible to recognize
the influence of any land, but not of
In Stalin time
Eleventh, we can not accept even the version of
V.N. Lazarev on "a mediating role" of Galician architecture
between Western European and Suzdal’s. "The chain of intermediaries"
is too long: it is very far from Suzdal to
But Suzdal land
had borders with Veliky Novgorod, which after the last military confrontation
in 1148 was at peace, and in 1155 Dolgoruky’s son Mstislav became
4. About the direct influence of Western European Romanesque architecture on Dolgoruky’s architecture
Having shown groundlessness of
"Galician version", we must acknowledge the direct impact of
And as a direct source of Yuri
Dolgoruky’s architecture we can call no
15. Cathedral in
All the arguments that may be cited as justification for similarities of Lesser Poland, Galician and Suzdal churches (masonry of walls and foundations, arkature belts in conjunction with “porebrik” and carved tore – see Fig. 12 and 13), are fully applicable to the Imperial Cathedral:
– on the cathedral in
– the walls of the cathedral at
– the socle of the Imperial cathedral in most of the perimeter is a non-profiled deflux (as in Pereslavl and Kideksha);
– rubble foundations of the cathedral in
– the method of stone blocks facial surfaces treatment
– in the omphalos of the Imperial Cathedral a Greek-cross scheme with cross-like pillars is realized (Fig. 16);
– in the crypt of the cathedral in Speyer the author
of this book managed to find a specific ornamental carving (Fig. 17), about
which O.M. Ioannisian considered43 not rightly that it is not found
anywhere except on Transfiguration Cathedral in Pereslavl-Zalessky (Fig. 3) and
Lesser Polish temples (Fig. 18). Note that the style of carving in Pereslavl is
much closer to
Excellent pan-European significance of the Imperial
Fig. 16. Cathedral in
17. Cathedral in
Fig. 18. Carved cornice of the nave wall
Of course, there is a temptation to assume that in
If European craftsmen had come to Jury, there could
have been expected the construction of temples at least in the scale of
Crusaders’ buildings in
That was built in poor and unsettled
Russian soils and construction materials were not fundamentally different from European49, and we can assume that professional ethics of the leading Western artists, if they had worked in Suzdal, would not have allowed the building of the temples, comparable by the size with the churches in small European villages.
Consequently, the arrival of Western craftsmen to Yuri is unlikely, and there is only one option that corresponds to Prince’s concern about the reflection of state power and ideology in Suzdal architecture (this concern is underscored by the fact of the transition to the expensive, but "imperial" white stone building): in 1152 the churches of Dolgoruky were built by local craftsmen under the guidance of local architects, who had trained in Western Europe50.
In Sec. 6 we shall see that in 1155-1157 Jury addressed the Empire for craftsmen and got them, but died before they came to Suzdal.
5. Criticism of the version of Yuri Dolgoruky’s "philhellenism"
We can not agree also with the position of N.N. Voronin that Yuri was "a convinced philhellenist, who married a Byzantine princess, was a friend of Novgorod Archibishop Nifont and his like-minder in matters of church policy"51.
Firstly, Yuri’s marriage to Byzantine princess is a very questionable legend52, but even if it is true, then it is not an evidence of any "philhellenism". For example, it is known that Dolgoruky in 1110 married the daughter of a Polovtsian Prince53 and even led the Polovtsians against Izyaslav Mstislavich54, but no one in this case believes that Yuri had “love to Polovtsians”.
Secondly, N.N. Voronin's words about "friendship and likeness of mind" of Dolgoruky and Nifont is not sufficiently substantiated.
Nifont was the bishop of
Nifont’s consecration of
In 1149 Clement (Klim Smolyatich),
Metropolitan of Kiev and a protege of Izyaslav Mstislavich, locked Nifont in
Kiev-Pechersky Monastery for harsh statements in his address. Dolgoruky, having
We can conclude from all said about
Nifont: there is no doubt that both Nifont and Yuri were enemies of Izyaslav
and Clement. But one can hardly speak even about their allied relations, and
especially about "friendship and likeness of mind" of
With regard to the initiative of Greek Constantine’s invitation to the Metropolitan of Kiev in 115659, Dolgoruky’s efforts for Metropolitan Clement’s offset could lead to success only in the case of the arrival of an "indigenous" Byzantine, blessed by the Patriarch, and we can not talk here about any "philhellenism" – it was a purely political act.
The formal adoption of
We see that there are no enough facts
in our possession to accept Yuri’s "philhellenism". And the fact that
Dolgoruky began to build in Suzdal white stone temples in European technology
without considering the cost, many times higher than the cost of technology of
6. Yuri Dolgoruky and craftsmen of Frederick Barbarossa
In order to understand completely the key role of Yuri Dolgoruky in formation of “Russian Romanesque”, we must consider his relation to principal innovations in architecture, which occurred under his son Andrey. This is the work of craftsmen sent by Frederick Barbarossa, and the introduction of zooanthropomorphous sculptural decoration in Suzdal.
And we shall start with the question of craftsmen.
Let us notice immediately that the well-known stereotype associated with the arrival of "craftsmen of all lands" to Andrey applies only to the decoration of Assumption Cathedral of 1158-1160: “In the same year the Church of the Holy Mother of God in Vladimir was established by right-believing and God-loving Prince Andrey, and was decorated wonderfully by various icons, and by unnumbered drag stones, and by church vessels, and its top was gilded by his faith and by his zeal for Holy Virgin, God brought him all craftsmen of all lands and adorned it more than other churches”61. Consequently, here it is said about no builders, but about highly specialized craftsmen (icon painters, jewelers, etc.), who, as we have seen in Sec. 3, could move from ruler to ruler arbitrarily often.
But we shall argue in no case with the fact that architecture of Bogolyubsky expressed state power and imperial ideology more clearly than Dolgoruky’s architecture. It is shown by:
– huge excess height (
– the size of Assumption Cathedrals
– building at the "naked field" of the Church of Intercession on the Nerl, which played the role of grand design of the crossroad of major waterways by the Klyazma and the Nerl. Such a role is confirmed by the inability to found any tenements or monastery on flood plains, and by the usage for church construction of selected a white stone, and by laying of the unique foundations (see Sec. 8);
– the palace and the fortress in Bogolyubovo, made not of wood, but of white stone;
– the presence of zooanthropomorphous sculptural decoration on the temples of Andrey.
All the above makes
V.N. Tatischev’s message very plausible: "By his (Andrey’s – S.Z.)
appeal God gave him craftsmen for his building from advanced lands";
"by the remaining buildings in
In this book we shall not discuss
from what area of “Holy Roman Empire” – from
Particular information here may be
provided by the method of historical and motivational model, at one time
proposed by the author of this book65: Central German architecture
was distinctly of imperial character, and in commercial North Italian cities
buildings had some "merchant" appearance. In this regard, we can
assume that the invitation of craftsmen from
And taking into consideration the obvious continuity of Bogolyubsky’s architecture on Dolgoruky’s architecture, which directly related to the Imperial Cathedral in Speyer (see Sec. 4), the version of German craftsmen coming to Andrey gets an additional (albeit also indirect) evidence.
But no matter from what area of the
Empire the craftsmen from Frederick Barbarossa had come, it follows from
Tatischev’s message that they built, at least, Assumption Cathedral and Golden
Hence, the architect of Barbarossa,
to have time to get acquainted with local experience of white stone
construction, and then to determine size and plans of his future buildings (at
least, of Assumption Cathedral), was to arrive to
Tatischev’s message is stereotypically
perceived as follows: "firstly – Andrey's friendship with
The fact is that Yuri Dolgoruky died on May 15, 1157. Even if we assume that Andrey, having become Grand Prince, immediately dispatched an embassy to Barbarossa for the craftsmen, all the same he could not have managed to get them in autumn or winter of 1157.
For example, at the end of XV century
Aristotle Fioravanti travelled to
Embassy’s way to the Empire could take several months. A few weeks (or even months) it could wait for the craftsmen from Barbarossa (or to search for free craftsmen by the permission of the Emperor). And the way back to Suzdal also took several months.
Consequently, the embassy for the
craftsmen, who built the Cathedral of Assumption and
Barbarossa was the Emperor of Germany
since 1152, and Yuri became Grand Prince of
– any relationship (moreover
friendly) of Yuri as a candidate for
– any relationship (moreover
friendly) of Yuri, a candidate for
– any relationship (moreover friendly) of
Andrey, a son of a candidate for
– any independent relationship (moreover friendly) of Andrey, a son of Grand Prince Yuri, with Emperor Frederick in 1155-1157.
The latter option may not seem so
unlikely: Andrey was the eldest son of Grand Prince of
But let's not forget that Bogolyubsky
in 1155-1157 was not in
Note that it is unlikely that Andrey
was considered even as an official heir of Suzdal table – otherwise after the
death of Dolgoruky it would not have been necessary to hold a popular assembly,
As for very popular conjectures70
that Andrey could have some personal contacts with
Thus, we can assert that the embassy
to Barbarossa for the craftsmen was sent by Yuri in 1155-1157, when the latter
was the Grand Prince of
Consequently, we can speak about the sending of the craftsmen by Barbarossa not to Andrey, but to Yuri. Eventually they were received not by Dolgoruky, but by Bogolyubsky, but it does not belittle in any way the merits of Yuri in the obtaining of the imperial craftsmen.
7. The activity in time of Andrey Bogolyubsky of local construction personnel, formed in time of Dolgoruky
We can also show that, despite of the
arrival of craftsmen from
As we have mentioned in Sec. 6,
V.N. Tatischev’s message says that the craftsmen of Barbarossa built, at
least, Vladimir Assumption Cathedral and
– the side
of the omphalos in Assumption Cathedral –
– the height of the arches of
Assumption Cathedral –
But it's still not comparable with
what we see in
It is also important that we see identical
marks of princely craftsmen in the temples in Pereslavl and Kideksha, and in
The following conclusion may be done from the above: only the craftsmen by sculptures and, possibly, an architect came from Barbarossa. But if the arrival of the latter had place, it was conditioned by fairly narrow objectives:
– development of iconography of the decoration and managing by the craftsmen;
– increasing of size and quality of buildings.
The first architect’s task, of course, was complied. We see the sculptures of quite European level on Andrey’s buildings.
But did the architect perform the second task?
As we have just
shown, the architect from Barbarossa had to work with local personnel, so as a
result he failed to achieve any radically new design, significant increase of
size or reliability of Assumption Cathedral in
We have already mentioned in Sec. 6 Golden Gate catastrophe, which immediately followed the completion of construction.
architect of Barbarossa also erected other Andrey’s buildings, but they can not
be called the developments in construction engineering. Rostov Cathedral (side
of the omphalos –
Careful selection of
white stone for the
In general, we must note: the architect of Frederick Barbarossa, who was sent to Yuri and received by Andrey, fulfilled his task only in the decoration of churches. The decisive role in Bogolyubsky’s construction was still played by Suzdal construction personnel, formed in the time of his father.
8. Yuri Dolgoruky and zooanthropomorphous sculpture decoration
It remains to consider the absence of zooanthropomorphous sculptural decoration on Yuri’s temples and the appearance of such decoration on the temples of Andrey. Doesn’t it mean the "undevelopment" of Yuri’s architecture? Doesn’t it mean that the craftsmen of Dolgoruky were incapable to create zooanthropomorphous decoration?
No, it does not mean. If Dolgoruky‘s craftsmen had not have enough professional wizard to create such decor as we see on the temples of Bogolyubsky, we still would have seen at Yuri’s temples at least timid attempts of decorating by zooanthropomorphous motives – even such modest, fragmented and "naive", as on the Cathedral in Speyer (Fig. 19).
Fig. 19. Cathedral in
The point is that Yuri in 1152 had no right to decorate his temples by sculptures of zooanthropomorphous type. All he was allowed by the Orthodox Church at that time – a "universal" Romanesque ornamental decor "arcature-ornament-porebrik”.
To justify this position we must note that the appearance of zooanthropomorphous decoration was beyond a simple wall decoration of temples and collided with a centuries-old "stumbling block" of Church dogmatics – the Second Holy Commandment: "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth…" (Exodus 20:4).
The history of iconoclasm has more than adequate coverage in the
literature, including the theological studies of the author72. Here
we only note that after the victory of the adherents of icons, which was
"institutionalized" at the Seventh Ecumenical Council in
That created a dogmatically ambivalent situation for sculpture, and gave (and still gives) the Orthodox Church an opportunity to resolve or prohibit zooanthropomorphous sculptures at its own discretion.
Byzantine church tradition, in contrast to Western European, steadily
inclined to the ban of zooanthropomorphous
decoration on the temples. After iconoclastic uprisings round sculpture
disappeared in Byzantium75. Inside temples (perhaps on facades)
there were carved icons, but it is hardly possible to attribute them to zooanthropomorphous decoration – the latter concept
is much broader. And in any case we can say with certainty that the
overwhelming majority of carved Byzantine decorations do not belong to the
Romanesque style, which we see on churches of
History of Russian Orthodox Church knows the times of heyday of temple
sculptures, and the times of prohibition of "idols". For example, the
Great Moscow Church Council decided in 1666 that only crucifixes may be carved
in temples76. In 1722, Synod forbade “to have carved and sculptural
icons in the churches” and ordered “not to suspend any smithy to the images”.
In 1832, there was a complete ban of Synod for
All of the above determined the complexity and uniqueness of the situation with sculptural decoration in Suzdal region in XII century.
Since Soviet times, in art criticism and history of architecture the issues of religious art and architecture were traditionally interpreted in accordance with the genesis of stylistic and artistic taste, economy, politics and many other factors, except one: the direct and immediate impact of the Church in person of local priests, bishops and superior hierarchs.
But in XII century Orthodox Church had already more than a thousand years of existence. Assuming from V century, when it became a closed hierarchical system with a firm dogmatic base and tightly regulated rites, there are about seven hundred years – also not a short period. And though in III-IV centuries service could take place in any building (including catacombs), in XII century architectural style of temples already was for Orthodox and Catholic Churches no less important part of “ritual and canonical truths”78, than, for example, form and color of priests’ vestments.
Lack of autonomy of Russian Metropolitanate in pre-Mongolian times dictated particularly hard-line approach to subtleties of church architectural style, since any more or less serious innovations were to be approved by the Patriarch of Constantinople. And the latter certainly understood that brick construction technology (at least, «opus mixtum»), Greek-cross plans and minimal ornamental decoration of churches carried out "the visible link" between Russian Orthodoxy and Byzantium, and the assignment in any of these issues meant another step to Russian Church’s autocephality, very undesirable for ambitions (and also for economic interests) of the Patriarch.
Yuri Dolgoruky gave many years to the exploration of quarries and began to build his churches in the face of very complicated relationship with the Metropolitan of Kiev and the Bishop of Rostov. To characterize these relationships, which had formed in the middle of XII century, more fully, we must remember the hierarchical structure of church organization in Suzdal.
In the time of Yuri, and Andrey, and Vsevolod there was no diocese in
the cities of Vladimir and Suzdal, and the church leadership in Suzdal was
In the towns, which were not centers of dioceses, there were "Bishop’s deputies", subordinated to bishops81. Bishop’s blessing was necessary for the foundation of a new church82, it was required also for the approval of a priest, although the nomination could be done by a churchwarden – in this case the Prince83. A churchwarden could initiate the offset of unwanted priests, but, again, it required the consent of a bishop.
M.D. Priselkov considered that
Nestor’s consecration took place in 113785, ie before the election
of Metropolitan Clement Smolyatich (1147). The researcher’s argument was as
follows: Nestor could not be consecrated later than 1139, as in that year
Vsevolod Olgovich, who had hostility with Dolgoruky, became the Grand Prince of
But M.D. Priselkov’s arguments are not sufficiently substantiated.
First, the hostility of Vsevolod and Yuri was hardly so severe as to preclude the church policy implemented by Metropolitan Michael, the Greek.
Secondly, it is incorrect to
supplement existing chronicle details by assumptions that at this time could
have happened something like that, which had slipped away from the attention of
a chronicler. If the chronicler wrote about the separation of
Thirdly, the researcher proceeded
from a priori assumption that Nestor was an ally of Dolgoruky. But we can not
agree with this assumption: Yuri, having become the Grand Prince in 1155, got
rid of his principal adversary, Metropolitan Clement87, and
immediately – already in 1156 – initiated the dismissal of Nestor by Constantine,
the new Metropolitan88. Greek Constantine, who had just been sent
We shall put forward our own vision
of the date of Nestor’s consecration: he was consecrated by Clement in late
1140s, and Rostov diocese was established by the Metropolitan at the same time
– to keep in Suzdal land a representative with Bishop's authority. And it was
not accidentally that the location of the diocese was chosen in the distance
from the center of the princely estate of Dolgoruky (probably the formal choice
This gives us the answer to the
question why the Bishop of Rostov was absent at the Church Council in 1147,
which had consecrated Clement as Russian Metropolitan89.
M.D. Priselkov thought that Nestor "did not respond to the prince's
invitation"90, and N.N. Voronin – that Nestor "showed
the indifference towards Clement Smolyatich” by his absence at the Council91.
But, of course, the situation of actual civil war could not have allowed
Basing on all that has been said
about the consecration of Nestor, we may assume that he was the protege and
ally of Metropolitan Clement. One can imagine the complexity of the role that
Nevertheless, in 1152 Dolgoruky turned out to be in a very difficult situation. Having spent enormous efforts and funds to explore white stone quarries and to build the temples, he risked not to receive the blessing either of the Metropolitan of Kiev, nor the Patriarch of Constantinople, which would have meant Rostov bishop’s refusal to consecrate those temples, and hence the disaster for the prince’s policy.
In this regard, the complete absence of any attempts to create zooanthropomorphous decor on Yuri’s temples has an absolutely logical explanation: that was a compromise between the Prince and the Church. Even "non-Byzantine" material – white stone – could have caused many problems with the church hierarchs.
Therefore, we may say that the final compromise – the Metropolitan’s consent (respectively, the Bishop’s blessing) for the construction of white stone churches with "universal" Romanesque ornamental decoration in Suzdal in 1152 – was an important victory of Dolgoruky. Even despite the fact that the prince had to make concessions in the type of decor.
Now we can recall the fact that is
very important for our study: as we have shown in Sec. 6, the craftsmen of
sculptural decoration were sent by Barbarossa to Yuri Dolgoruky when he was the
Grand Prince of
Consequently, Dolgoruky within a
short time of his
Hence, the appearance of zooanthropomorphous sculptural decoration in Suzdal land is the merit especially of Dolgoruky, not of Bogolyubsky.
Thus, all characteristic features of what we call "Russian Romanesque" appeared in Suzdal (and later in Tver and Moscow Grand Duchies) solely due to Yuri Dolgoruky. And Andrey Bogolyubsky’s architecture was natural, progressive development of truly innovative architecture of Yuri, as architecture of Vsevolod the Big Nest – of Andrey’s architecture.
And the understanding of this important historical and architectural fact has to contribute to the "historical portrait" of Yuri Dolgoruky, who deserves much more warm words, than those by which the modern stereotypes characterize him.
© Sergey Zagraevsky