- Home ›
- Architectural Lantern Slides›
- Architectural Lantern Slides of Russia›
- Cathedral of Saint Demetrius: Overall view, from the west ›
Cathedral of Saint Demetrius: Overall view, from the west
See photographs by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (Library of Congress). http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/prok/
Vladimir was one of the medieval capitals of Russia, and two of its cathedrals are World Heritage Sites. Vsevolod built St. Dimitry from 1194 to 1197 in the courtyard of his palace in Middle Town. It belongs to a series of churches with four piers and a single dome that was widespread in the 12th century, but the solemn splendour of its architecture and sculptural decoration were intended to reflect the greatness of the Prince of Vladimir. The iconography of the façade expresses the mythological world known to the Russian people in the 12th century in a great 'poem in sculpture', drawing upon Christian stories, memories of ancient times, including the Apotheosis of Alexander the Great, and contemporary political ideas, with a representation of the Prince himself. The conceptual focus on each façade is a figure of King Solomon, whose image holds sway over a fantastic world of animals, birds, monsters, galloping horsemen and saints, intertwined with imaginary plants, reflecting the 12th-century legend that Solomon was the ruler of the world of plants, animals and demons.