Saint Isaac's Cathedral or Isaakievskiy Sobor, The church on St Isaac's Square was ordered by Tsar Alexander I.
Saint Isaac's Cathedral or Isaakievskiy Sobor in Saint Petersburg, Russia is the largest Russian Orthodox cathedral (sobor) in the city. It is dedicated to Saint Isaac of Dalmatia, a patron saint of Peter the Great, who had been born on the feast day of that saint.
The church on St Isaac's Square was ordered by Tsar Alexander I, to replace an earlier Rinaldiesque structure, and was the fourth consecutive church standing at this place. A specially appointed commission examined several designs, including that of the French-born architect Auguste de Montferrand (1786–1858), who had studied in the atelier of Napoleon's designer, Charles Percier. Montferrand's design was criticised by some members of the commission for the dry and allegedly boring rhythm of its four identical pedimented octastyle porticos. It was also suggested that despite gigantic dimensions, the edifice would look squat and not very impressive. The emperor, who favoured the ponderous Empire style of architecture, had to step in and solve the dispute in Montferrand's favour.
The cathedral took 40 years to construct, under Montferrand's direction, from 1818 to 1858. Under the Soviet government, the building was stripped of religious trappings. In 1931, it was turned into the Antireligious Museum, The dove sculpture was removed, and replaced by a Foucault pendulum. On April 12, 1931, the first public demonstration of the Foucault pendulum was held to visualize Copernicus’s theory. In 1937, the museum was transformed into the museum of the Cathedral, and former collections were transferred to the Museum of the History of Religion (located in the Kazan Cathedral)
During World War II, the dome was painted over in gray to avoid attracting attention from enemy aircraft. On its top, in the skylight, a geodesical intersection point was placed, with the objective of aiding in the location of enemy cannon.
With the fall of communism, the museum was removed and regular worship activity has resumed in the cathedral, but only in the left-hand side chapel. The main body of the cathedral is used for services on feast days only.
As of 2012, the church is still a museum.
The first wooden church of St. Isaac appeared in St. Petersburg in the early years of the city. In one of the barns that were in the Admiralty glacis, in 1707, made a church and lit her name Isaac of Dalmatia, a saint, a commemoration of which coincided with the birthday of Peter I (30 May to the old art.). Simple structure was crowned head of a small onion and a tower with a spire. Was this church, at about the point where today we see a beautiful fountain in Alexander Garden to the Admiralty tower.
In 1710 the church was renovated and the emperor himself again lit it. In this, the Church of St. Isaac's February 19, 1712 Peter I officially married to Catherine Alekseevna (Martha Skavronskaia), which after the spouse's death in 1725, ascended the Russian throne as Empress Catherine I. Dilapidated wooden temple and it was decided to restructure the church in stone. Construction was carried out by the architect G. Mattarnovi, the second to be Isaac's Church was built on the site of what is now the famous equestrian monument to Peter I - «The Bronze Horseman." In the second half of the XVIII century, due to the proximity of the building to the Neva, was partly substitution of the foundation of St. Isaac's Church, were also identified other technical damage.
In the 60 - years of XVIII century under Catherine II, the temple was dismantled and started the construction of the new St. Isaac's Cathedral. Placed third temple on the coast of the Neva River, where today is the following - the fourth St. Isaac's Cathedral. Construction began in 1768. According to the architect A. Rinaldi cathedral was to have a dome and four towers at the corners, as well as high graceful kolokolnyu.Stroitelstvo too long and was completed only in 1800, I asked godu.Pavel completion arhitekkoru Brenna, which introduced significant changes to the original draft. At the command of Paul I, Olonets marble, which was planned oblitsevat building was handed over to the construction of the castle, and St. Isaac's Cathedral in the brick finishing work without facing.
In those years went epigram: ".... Two reigns monument decent. Bottom - the marble, and the top brick ... "May 30, 1802 the church was open, but not lasted long as it does not match the look of the city center main entrance. The construction of the fourth in a row St. Isaac's Cathedral, begun in the reign of Alexander I.Byl held a design competition which was attended by leading arhitetory vremeni.Pobedil of the competition unknown French arhitetkor A.Montferrand who submit to the twenty four projects Isaac's Cathedral, completed in various stilyah.Sooruzhenie largest Petersburg temple was conducted over four decades from 1818 to 1858 years.
Before the south and north facades gradually formed two linked Isaac's Square and Senate. Making the church and the removal of technical errors made during construction, it took a long time, finally the scaffolding was lifted only in 1916 godu.Stroitelstvo "took care of" two of the Emperor Alexander I, then Nicholas I. St. Isaac's Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in the world, it holds 12,000 people. By volume of the dome is the world's fourth largest church after St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome, St. Paul's Cathedral in London and St. Mary's Cathedral in Florence.
After its discovery became Isaac's Cathedral is a principal of the Cathedral of Russia. The symmetry of the composition of the Council emphasized the monumental columned porticoes located on all four fronts. Crowned Cathedral - the traditional Orthodox churches - five-headed, four symmetrical bell tower with small domes and a huge central dome, which dominates not only on them but also on the composition structure. Abundance of sculptures on the facade of biblical scenes: freestanding figures and bronze reliefs. In the creation of models for sculptures was attended by prominent sculptors of the time: IP Vitali, N.S.Pimenov, PK Klodt et al. Of these the most important role went sculptor IP Vitali, has performed more than 300 sculptures, among them - the statues on the pediments of the Apostles, a group of angels with lamps placed on the corners of the main volume. He is also author of the reliefs of southern and western pediments.
Topic South - "The Adoration of the Magi." West - an illustration of a Byzantine monk Life of Isaac of Dalmatia "St. Isaac blesses the Emperor Theodosius." Here, the number of images, including portraits of Montferrand, in the lower left corner - the model of the cathedral in his hands. In a respectful bow to the right - the president of the Academy of Arts, and Minister A.N.Olenin P.M.Volkonsky Imperial Court.
By high relief of the eastern gable "St. Isaac stops emperor Valens" - sculptor F. Lemaire from France. Northern front - "Resurrection", made by the same craftsman. Figures of angels on the balustrade of the drum of the dome - the sculptor J. Herman. In the construction of St. Isaac's Cathedral was attended by hundreds of thousands of people. The construction of such a grandiose structure was, at that time, a breakthrough in the development of construction machinery.
All columns, including columns on the drum of the dome (their 72, 14 meters) are made from solid blocks of granite. The weight of each of them reaches several tens of tons (64 - 114). Granite mined in quarries on the shores of the Gulf, particularly in a new way. For the first time in the history of Russian architecture of the pillars of the dome size raised to a height of forty meters. Unusual was the fact that the columns of the portico, whose height is 17 meters, installed before the walls were erected. This was due to the fact that the project provides for the inclusion in the scope of a new church last skeleton structure.
Of particular interest was the rise of the first column, which is set on the north east corner of the portico. This event took place in March 1828 in the presence of the royal family in an unprecedented gathering of people. Huge pillar was lifted and put in place for 45 minutes.
St. Isaac's Cathedral was built in the main, city and state peasants. Especially dangerous was the work gilders. Used the so-called fire method: a copper sheets coated solution of mercury and gold, then sheets heated broiler, mercury evaporated, and gold lay a thin even layer on the surface of the copper sheet. Based on historical data suggests that of the 400,000 workers who took part in the construction of the cathedral, died of disease and injury every tverty. The exterior walls of St. Isaac's Cathedral Olonets lined with marble. Used for interior decoration facing stones of different breeds and gilded details. The interior was decorated with numerous decorative sculpture, painting, mosaic. Work on the interior design of the building began in 1841.
The decoration of the main temple of the empire went 400 kilograms of gold, 1,000 tons of bronze. For facing the architectural part of the altar took 16,000 pounds of malachite and more than 11 square meters of Badakhshan lapis lazuli. For floors, walls and pylons used semiprecious Shokshinsky porphyry, black slate, colored marbles: tivdiysky pink, yellow Siena, red French. Prominent Russian mineralogist Academician Fersman thought Isaac's Cathedral treasury colored stone. A special role in the decoration of the interior painting belongs. The creators of the painted panels in the cathedral the largest representatives of the academic art: FA Bruni, etc. K.P.Bryullov supervised all of paintings professor and rector of the Academy of Arts V.K.Shebuev. General outline of the content and layout of paintings belonged Montferrand, but for the work the following States and the Holy Synod. Paintings lasted from 1855 to 1858.
In total, the cathedral instead of 150 works of monumental painting. In the western part of the building are paintings by the Old Testament stories, in the east - on the Gospel. The largest of these 800 square meters, the main dome cover-initiated and completed K.Bryullov Basin-"The Virgin in Glory." Paintings in St. Isaac's Cathedral of poorly maintained - for the lack of heat and high humidity. In 1851, work began on transferring the paintings in "Eternal Art" - Mosaic. These works continued until the outbreak of World War II. Part of the paintings has been translated into a mosaic, mosaic studio masters of the Academy of Fine Arts. St. Isaac's Cathedral three altars. Main - to Saint Isaac of Dalmatia, on the right, St. Catherine, on the left, of the Saint Alexander Nevsky. The iconostasis of the main altar, there are 65 images of white marble, divided malachite columns.
The neoclassical exterior expresses the traditional Russian-Byzantine formula of a Greek-cross ground plan with a large central dome and four subsidiary domes. It is similar to Andrea Palladio's Villa La Rotonda, with a full dome on a high drum substituted for the Villa's low central saucer dome. The design of the cathedral in general and the dome in particular later influenced the design of the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin and the Cathedral in Helsinki.
The exterior is faced with gray and pink stone, and features a total of 112 red granite columns with Corinthian capitals, each hewn and erected as a single block: 48 at ground level, 24 on the rotunda of the uppermost dome, 8 on each of four side domes, and 2 framing each of four windows. The rotunda is encircled by a walkway accessible to tourists. 24 statues stand on the roof, and another 24 on top of the rotunda.
The cathedral's main dome rises 101.5 metres (333 ft) and is plated with pure gold. The dome is decorated with twelve statues of angels by Josef Hermann. These angels were likely the first large sculptures produced by the then novel process of electrotyping, which was an alternative to traditional bronze casting of sculptures. Montferrand's design of the dome is based on a supporting cast iron structure. It was the third historical instance of cast iron cupola after the Leaning Tower of Nevyansk (1732) and Mainz Cathedral (1826)
The cathedral's bronze doors are covered in reliefs, patterned after the celebrated doors of the Battistero di San Giovanni in Florence, designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti. Suspended underneath the peak of the dome is a sculpted dove representing the Holy Spirit. Internal features such as columns, pilasters, floor, and statue of Montferrand are composed of multicolored granites and marbles gathered from all parts of Russia. The iconostasis is framed by eight columns of semiprecious stone: six of malachite and two smaller ones of lazurite. The four pediments are also richly sculpted.
The interior was originally decorated with scores of paintings by Karl Bryullov and other great Russian masters of the day. When these paintings began to deteriorate due to the cold, damp conditions inside the cathedral, Montferrand ordered them to be painstakingly reproduced as mosaics, a technique introduced in Russia by Mikhail Lomonosov. This work was never completed.
William Handyside and other engineers used a number of technological innovations in the construction of the building. The portico columns were raised with the use of large wooden frameworks before the walls were erected. The building rests on 10,000 tree trunks that were sunk by a large number of workers into the marshy banks upon which the cathedral is situated. The dome was gilded by a technique similar to spraypainting; the solution used included toxic mercury, the vapors of which caused the deaths of sixty workers.). The dozen gilded statues of angels, each six metres tall, facing each other across the interior of the rotunda, were constructed using galvanoplastic technology, making them only millimeters thick and very lightweight. St. Isaac's Cathedral represents the first use of this technique in architecture.
The meticulous and painstakingly detailed work on constructing the St. Isaac's Cathedral took 40 years to complete, and left an expression in the Finnish language, rakentaa kuin Iisakin kirkkoa ("to build like St. Isaac's Church"), for lengthy and never-ending megaprojects.
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