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374. WE scarcely know whether we are justified in making a short section with this heading, inasmuch as there is not known to us, up to the end of the eighteenth century, the name of a single Russian architect. English, French, Italian, and German artists have been employed in the decoration of the city of Petersburg, though we believe that the nation is now beginning to produce persons capable of conducting their public works. Russia has received all its improvement from abroad, and has used every exertion to communicate it to an uncivilised people.
375. The ecclesiastical architecture of Russia is of course coeval with the introduction of Christianity into the country, which was not earlier than the time of Vladimir the Great, although the Princess Olga had been baptized at Constantinople as early as the year 964. Vladimir, to display his zeal in behalf of Christianity, had a church, supposed to be the first built by him, erected at Cherson; a year after which the church of St. Basil, which, as well as the first named, was of timber, was erected under his command. This prince also built a church at Kief, where, it is said, there were already at the time 500 churches. After Vladimir, Prince Yaroslaf appears to have bestowed great attention on the erection of ecclesiastical edifices. At Kief he founded a church, dedicated to St. Sophia, and at Novogorod another to the same saint: these partly exist in the present day. By him also were reared the convents of St. George and St. Irene. The celebrated convent of Petchorsky, at Kief, was erected in 1075, subsequent to which period the Russian metropolitans continued subject to those of Constantinople till the capture of that city by Mahomet the Second. Between this last capital and Kief the bonds of amity of their rulers were drawn closer by many intermarriages; but in the year 1124 a fire desolated the latter city, which must have risen into great importance, inasmuch as 600 churches and monasteries were destroyed in the conflagration. Afterwards, again, in the civil war under Yisaslaf, Kief was taken and fired; a calamity to which it was again subject at the same period that Constantinople was taken by the Venetians. After this Kief never again recovered its ancient magnificence. In 1154, at which period Moscow is first mentioned in history, it was but an insignificant village. It received great additions under Daniel of Moscow; and in 1304, under John Danielowitz, it became the capital of the empire. On the 4th of August, 1326, the first stone was laid of a church in the Kremlin there in honour of the Assumption of the Virgin. The palace of the Kremlin was a timber structure until the reign of Delmetri Donskoi, when it was reconstructed of stone. On the capture of Constantinople by Mahomet the Second, the lèussian church ceased to be dependent on that of Constantinople. The palace of the Kremlin, known by the name of the granite palace, rose in 1487; and, in twelve years afterwards, the Belvedere palace was raised. Ivan IV., whose sway was of extended duration, was a great patron of the arts; his decease took place circa 1584. He renewed the laws relative to the paintings in the new churches, whence arises their so close resemblance to each other that it is difficult to judge of the epochs of their execution. The celebrated clock tower Ivan Valiki, at the Kremlin, was erected by the Czar Boris, in 1600, at which time Moscow contained 400 churches, whereof 35 stood in the Kremlin alone. After the time of Peter the Great, a change of style was introduced, (1696–1725).
376. The Church of the Assumption above mentioned, as respects the plan, is an oblong square divided; the vaulting whereof is supported by six columns in the interior. Though at the first glance it be not perceived, the arrangement of the cupolas soon points to the form of a Greek cross. In the earlier churches the plan was a square, with a porch in front of it; but, in the Church of the Assumption, the porch is a portion of the church, the arches of the cupolas being placed in the same way as if the church were of the ancient form. The six columns just mentioned divide the church into four parts, – from east to west, and then from north to south. At the eastern sides are three apsides, divided by the width of a column, the middle one being of larger dimensions than the other two; an arrangement which prevails in most of the Greek churches. The apsides contain altars, which are frequent, except in the small chapels. The altar in the Greek church is not exposed to public view; it is concealed or covered by the iconostasis (image-bearer), a very large screen, which, from occupying the whole width of the church, divides it into two parts. This screen has a central principal and two side smaller doors; behind which latter, on each side, stands a second and smaller iconostasis, of the width only of the smaller apsis, but whose plan with three doors and an altar behind is similar to the great one. This was the distribution in the early churches; but, in the more modern ones, there are, at nearly the extremity of the edifice, three distinct iconostases. The place for the choristers is on each side in front of the iconostasis, between its principal and side doors. The principal cupois. rises in front of the iconostasis; and, in cathedral churches, at the foot of the apsis on the left a canopy is placed for the emperor, opposite whereto is one for the metropolitanThere is generally one principal and four subordinate cupolas round it, which stand on the four feet of the Greek cross. The iconostasis is a principal object in every church. It is usually in four or five horizontal compartments, each containing an unequal number of pictures of saints painted on tablets or long square panels, whose places are fixed with great precision. In the first story, if we may so call it, are the three doors; the centre one, being tn two foldings, is decorated with the subject of the Annunciation, accompanied with the heads of the four Evangelists or their emblems. To the right of the door is a picture of Christ, and of the Madonna on the left. To the right of the Christ is the saint or festival of the church, after which the doors are inserted. Above the doors, on the left hand, is placed a Greek cross; on the right hand the cross of Moses, – as symbols of the Old and New Testaments. The paintings are all on a ground of gold. In the middle of the second story is Christ on a throne; on the right Saint John the Baptist; on the left the Madonna without Child; then, on each side, two archangels and six apostles. In the third story or horizontal compartment, the Madonna is introduced with the Infant on her knees, surrounded on each side by the prophets. In the fourth story is painted God the Father on a throne, with the Infant Jesus, surrounded on each side by patriarchs of the church. Occasionally a fifth story appears, upon which is painted the history or Passion of our Saviour. Paintings on a gold ground abound in the other parts of the church. The exteriors of these churches are extremely simple; cornices or other horizontal crownings are not to found, but the coverings follow the cylindrical forms of the arches to which they are the extradoses, and are variously painted. The Russian churches built in the eleventh century, which from the number of their cupolas resemble, and indeed were imitated from those of the East, give a peculiar effect to the architecture. The forms of these cupolas are varied, but they generally stand on an octagonal tambour; some are hemispherical, others in curves of contrary flexure, and a number of other figures. 377. The type of the Russian church, which is on plan a Greek cross, is to be found in Santa Sophia at Constantinople. After the disputes between the Iconoclasts and Iconolaters, which, at the close of the seventh century, ended in the separation of the Eastern and Western churches, sculpture of statues disappeared from the Greek church, statues of angels excepted. Again, at this period, the altars on the side of the principal one were established, not, as in the Catholic churches, at the extremities of the transepts; their place is always in a niche or apsis. This arrangement is found in the churches of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries, at Bari, Trani, Malfetta, Otranto, &c., while the Greek worship existed; and a similar disposition is even seen at Palermo and other places where the worship has been Catholic. In the Catholic churches a sacristy, for the use of the priests in robing, &c., is always provided on the side of the church; in the Greek church, however, the priests robe themselves behind the iconostasis on the left of the altar, another altar being placed on the right for the consecration of the elements; and this arrangement exists in the present day. The Greek church has no gynaeceum, or separate place for the women. — For the above we are indebted to the researches of M. Hallmann, an ingenious architect of Hanover. 378. It is in Saint Petersburg principally that we are to look for edifices which deserve mention. The foundation of the city was laid in 1703, by the Czar Peter, when he constructed a fort on an island in the Neva for defence against the Swedes. Buildings, both public and private, were soon erected; and the nobility and merchants being induced to settle there, the place quickly assumed the appearance of a considerable city. In the reigns of Catherine the Second and Alexander it reached a degree of great magnificence, from which It has not declined, but has rather advanced. Magnitude, rather than beauty of form, marks the public buildings of the city. The church of our Lady of Kazan is of great dimensions: for which, and its fifty-six granite columns with bronze capitals, it has obtained more celebrity than it will acquire for the beauty of its composition. Some of the palaces in the city are of colossal dimensions; that of Michailoff, built by Paul, is said to have cost ten millions of rubles. It was under the reign of Peter the Great that the great change took place in the national character of Russian church architecture by the introduction of the classical orders. The bulbous cupola, though at this period not entirely laid aside, fell into comparative disuse, being replaced by a green painted dome of which the Italian form was the model. The tasteless custom of painting the exteriors of buildings with bright and incongruous colours was retained; and, though well enough suited to the barbaric structures of the Muscovite czars, it ill accorded with the purer style of Italy. It is unnecessary further to detain the reader by any observations on the churches of the modern capital. In point of style or of history, they possess little or no interest for an English reader. To those who wish to become better acquainted with the architecture of Russia, we recommend a reference to Geissler's Tableaux Pittoresques des Maeurs, &c. des Russes, Tartares, Mongoles, et aut es Nations de l'Empire Russe; to Lyall's Character of the Russians, &c., 4to, 1823; and Ricard de Montferrand's L'Eglise de S. Isaac, fol. 1845. The essay by the late M. Hallmann above noticed, was printed in the Transactions of the Institute of British Architects, 1842.
ARChi ITECTURE OF BRITAIN.
379. On the invasion of Britain by Julius Caesar, in the year 55 B. c., the inhabitants dwelt in houses resembling those of Gaul; and in Kent, and other southern parts of the island, their houses were more substantial and convenient than those in the north. Caves or earth houses seem to have been their original shelter; to which had preceded the wicker enclosure, whose sides were incrusted with clay. These were thatched with straw. The wooden houses of the ancient Gauls and Britons were circular, with high tapering roofs, at whose summit was an aperture for the admission of light and emission of smoke. These, where the edifices were grander than ordinary, were placed upon foundations of stone. There is no instruction to be derived from pursuing this subject further. That the arts at the period in question scarcely existed, is quite certain; and Caractacus may, when carried prisoner to ltome, have well expressed surprise that the Romans, who had such magnificent palaces of their own, should envy the wretched cabins of the 13ritons.
380. If the Britons were so uninformed in architecture as to be satisfied with such structures for their dwellings as we have named, it will hardly be contended that they were the builders of so stupendous a fabric as Stonehenge. On this subject we have already stated our opinion in Chap. II. From the distant period at which we believe this and similar edifices to have been erected up to that of which we are speaking many centuries must have elapsed, during which the mechanical knowledge which was employed in their erection might have been lost, and indeed must have been, from the condition of the inhabitants, of which mention has been made.
381. The Romans, after their invasion of the island, soon formed settlements and planted colonies; and it is not difficult to imagine the change which took place in its architecture. The first Roman colony was at Camalodunum. This, when it was afterwards destroyed by the Britons in the great revolt under Boadicea, appears to have been a large and wellbuilt town, adorned with statues, temples, theatres, and other public edifices. (Tacit. Annal lib. xiv. c. 32.) In the account given of the prodigies said to have happened at this place, and to have announced its approaching fall, it is mentioned that the statue of Victory fell down without any visible violence; in the hall of public business, the confused murmurs of strangers were perceived, and dismal howlings were heard in the theatre. At Camalodunum the temple of Claudius was large enough to contain the whole garrison, who, after the destruction of the town, took refuge in it; and so strong was it, that they were enabled to hold out therein against the whole British army for a period of two days. London, however, exhibited a more striking example of the rapid progress of Roman architecture in Britain. At the time of the first Roman invasion it was little more than a British town or enclosed forest; and there seems to be ground for supposing that at the time of the second invasion, under Claudius, it was not much improved. But when, about sixteen years afterwards, it came into the possession of the Romans, it became a rich, populous, and beautiful city. Not only did the Romans raise a vast number of solid and magnificent structures for their own accommodation, but they taught the arts to the Britons, and thus civilised them. Agricola, of all the Roman governors, took means for that purpose. That they might become less and less attached to a roaming and unsettled life, and accustomed to a more agreeable mode of living, he took all opportunities of rendering them assistance in erecting houses and temples, and other public buildings. He did all in his power to excite an emulation amongst them; so that at last they were not content without structures for ornament and pleasure, such as baths, porticoes, galleries, banqueting houses, &c. From this time (A. p. 80) up “to the middle of the fourth century," says Henry (Hist. of England), “architecture, and all the arts immediately connected with it, greatly flourished in this island; and the same taste for erecting solid, convenient, and beautiful buildings which had long prevailed in Italy, was introduced into Britain. Every Roman colony and free city (of which there was a great number in this country) was a little Rome, encompassed with strong walls, adorned with temples, palaces, courts, halls, basilicae, baths, markets, aqueducts, and many other fine buildings both for use and ornament The country every where abounded with well-built villages, towns, forts, and stations; and the whole was defended by that high and strong wall, with its many towers and castles, which reached from the mouth of the river Tyne on the east to the Solvay Firth on the west. This spirit of building, which was introduced and encouraged by the Romans, so much improved the taste and increased the number of the British builders, that in the third century this island was famous for the great number and excellence of its architects and artificers. When the Emperor Constantius, father of Constantine the Great, rebuilt the city of Autun in Gaul, A. D. 296, he was chiefly furnished with workmen from Britain, which (says Eumenius) very much abounded with the best artificers. It was about the end of the third century that in Britain, as well as all the other provinces of the Western empire, architecture began to decline. It may have been that the building of Constantinople drew off the best artists; or that the time left for the peaceful culture of the arts may have been broken in upon by the irruptions of invaders from the north. According to the Venerable Bede (Hist. Eccles., lib. i. c. 12.), the Britons had become so ignorant of the art before the final departure of the ltomans that they, from want of masons, repaired the wall between the Forth and Clyde with sods instead of stone. Henry observes, however, on this, that “we cannot lay much stress on this testimony; because it does not refer to the provincial Britons, but to those who lived beyond the Wall of Severus, where the Roman arts never much prevailed; and because the true reason of their repairing that wall with turf, and not with stone, was that it had been originally built in that manner. Besides, we are told by the same writer, in the same place, that the provincial Britons, some time after this, with the assistance of one ltoman legion, built a wall of solid stone, 8 ft. thick and 12 ft. high, from sea to sea.” 382. The departure of the Romans, and that of the fine arts which they had introduced, were occurrences of almost the same date. We must, however, recollect that architecture was beginning to decline at ltome itself before the departure in question. The inhabitants of the country who remained after the Romans were gone had not the skill nor courage to defend the works with which the ltomans had provided them ; and their towns and cities, therefore, were seized by invaders, who plundered and destroyed them, throwing down the noble structures with which the art and industry of the Romans had adorned the country. The vestiges of Roman architecture still remaining in Britain are pretty numerous; but scarcely any of them are of sufficient interest to be considered as studies of Roman architecture. Even Fig. 179. atuman wall., lxicksrkR. in its best days, nobody (7 ft. 6 ins to Roman Road, and 5 ft. Gins, more to bottom of piers.) would study the works of art in the colonies in preference to those in the parent state. We have here (fig. 179.) inserted a representation of a small portion of the Roman wall at Leicester, as an example of the construction. Temples, baths, and villas of the time have, moreover, been brought to light not unfrequently. 383. The arrival of the Saxons in this country, A. D. 449, soon extinguished the very little that remained of the arts in the island. This people were totally ignorant of art; like the other nations of Germany, they had been accustomed to live in wretched hovels formed out of the earth, or built of wood, and covered with reeds, straw, or the branches of trees. It was not, indeed, until 200 years after their arrival that stone was employed by them for their buildings. Their cathedrals were built of timber. The Venerable Bede says there was a time when not a stone church existed in all the land; the custom being to build them of wood. Finan, the second bishop of Lindisfarne, or Holy Island, built a church in that island, A. D. 652, for a cathedral, which yet was not of stone, but of wood, and covered with reeds; and so it continued till Eadbert, the successor of St. Cuthbert, and seventh bishop of Lindisfarne, took away the reeds, and covered it all over, both roof and walls, with sheets of lead. Of similar materials was the original cathedral at York, a church of stone being a very rare production, and usually dignified with some special historical record. Bede, for instance, says of Paulinus, the first bishop of York, that he built a church of stone in the city of Lincoln, whose walls were standing when he wrote, though the roof had fallen down. Scotland, at the beginning of the eighth century, does not seem to have had a single church of stone. Naitan, king of the Picts, in his letter to Ceolfred, abbot of Weremouth, A. D. 710, intreats that some masons may be sent him to build a church of stone in his kingdom, in imitation of the Romans.
384. We here think it necessary to notice that we have thought proper. under this chapter, to preserve the periods, or rather styles of the periods of architecture, according to their ordinary arrangement in English works, namely, the Anglo-Saxon and Norman, in distinct sections. It is a matter of little importance to the reader how he acquires his knowledge, so that his author do not unnecessarily prolong the acquisition of it. Though, therefore, the Anglo-Saxon and Norman architecture are neither of them anything more than Romanesque or Byzantine, to which we have appropriated rather a long section, we have here separated them into two distinct periods.
385. About the end of the seventh century masonry, as well as some other arts connected with it, was once more restored to England, by the exertions of Wilfred, bishop of York, and afterwards of Hexhaun, and of Benedict Biscop, the founder of the abbey of Weremouth. The former, who was an indefatigable builder, and one of the most munificent prelates of the seventh century, erected edifices, which were the admiration of the age, at Ripon, York, and Hexham. The cathedral of the latter place obtained great celebrity: Eddius, speaking of it (Vita Wilfridi), says, that Wilfrid “having obtained a plot of ground at the place from Queen Etheldreda, he there founded a very magnificent church, and dedicated it to the blessed apostle St. Andrew. The plan of this holy structure appears to have been inspired by the spirit of God; a genius, therefore, superior to mine is wanting to describe it properly. Large and strong were the subterraneous buildings, and constructed of the finest polished stones. How magnificent is the superstructure, with its lofty roof resting on many pillars, its long and lofty walls, its sublime towers, and winding stairs l. To sum all up, there is not on this side of the Alps so great and beautiful a work.” Biscop was a zealous cotemporary and companion of Wilfrid, and had also a great love for the arts. He travelled into Italy no less than six times, chiefly for the purpose of collecting books and works of art, and of endeavouring to induce workmen to come over to England. An estate of some extent having been obtained by him from Ecgfrid, king of Northumberland, near the mouth of the river Were, he founded a monastery there in 674. Relative to this monastery of Weremouth, thus writes Bede: – “About a year after laying the foundations, Benedict passed over into France, and there collected a number of masons, whom he brought over with him to build the church of his monastery of stone, after the Roman manner, whereof he was a vast admirer. Such was his love for the apostle Peter, to whom the church was to be dedicated, that he stimulated the workmen so as to have mass celebrated in it but a little more than a year from its foundation. When the work was well advanced, he sent agents into France for the purpose of procuring, if possible, glass manufacturers, who at that time were not to be found in England, and of bringing them over to glaze the windows of his monastery and church. His agents were successful, having induced several artisans to accompany them. These not only executed the work assigned to them by Benedict, but gave instructions to the English in the art of making glass for windows, lamps, and other uses.”
386. The Bishop Wilfrid, as we learn from William of Malmesbury, with the assistance of the artificers that had been brought over, effected great reparations in the cathedral at York, which was in a decayed and ruinous state. He restored the roof, and covered it with lead, cleansed and whited the walls, and put glass into the windows; for, before he had introduced the glass makers, the windows of private dwellings as well as churches were filled with linen cloth, or with wooden lattices. It will be observed that the improvements we here mention were introduced by the bishops Wilfrid and Biscop towards the end of the seventh century; but, from our ancient historians, it would appear that, in the eighth and ninth centuries, stone buildings were rarely met with, and, when erected, were objects of great admiration. The historian Henry observes, that “when Alfred, towards the end of the ninth century, formed the design of rebuilding his ruined cities, churches, and monasteries, and of adorning his buildings with more magnificent structures, he was obliged to bring many of his artificers from foreign countries. Of these (as we are told by his friend Asser) he had an almost innumerable multitude, collected from different nations; many of them the most excellent in their several arts. Nor is it the least praise of this illustrious prince, that he was the greatest builder and the best architect of the age in which he flourished.” His historian, who was an eyewitness of his works, speaks in the following strain of admiration of the number of his buildings, “What shall I say of the towns and cities which he repaired, and of others which he built from the foundation?” Henry continues, – “Some of his buildings were also magnificent for that age, and of a new and singular construction; particularly the monastery of AEthelingay. The church, however, was built only of wood; and it seems probable that Alfred's buildings were, in general, more remarkable for their number and utility than for their grandeur; for there is sufficient evidence that, long after his time, almost all the houses in England, and the far greatest part of the monasteries and churches, were very mean buildings, constructed of wood and covered with thatch. Edgar the Peaceable, who flourished after the middle of the tenth century, observed (see William Malms, lib. ii. p. 32.), that, at his accession to the throne all the monasteries of England were in a ruinous condition, and consisted only