Monasteries and Churches

Church of Alexander of Cyprus

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    The Church of Alexander of Cyprus was built in 1758. The creator of the Church stood at the crossroads. He turned to the type of centric structure that derived its shape from Moscow architecture at the turn of the 17–18th centuries, which included the unmistakable features of the Baroque.

    Following popular models, the architect reproduced the traditional cross-shaped plan with a significant extension of the ends of the cross (it was somewhat modified by the refectory added in the 19th century), but, at the same time, he did not dare, and perhaps did not know how to translate magnificent, sculpturesque late Baroque forms into a plain rural church. In this case, the architect’s indecisiveness turned into a volumetric-spatial inertness of his work that has the simplified Baroque decor (pilasters, platbands, cornice entablature) added to geometrically simple but Baroque-style weighted volumes. Without intruding on the essence of architectural imagery, the craftsman only adhered to the form obediently, without really enriching it plastically.

    A more mature sense of style was shown by the creators of the five-tiered Baroque iconostasis of the Church. It is thanks to the sculpturesque expressiveness of a complex broken shape and the consistency of horizontal articulations that the iconostasis is perfectly suited to the narrow, upward-extending interior space. The desire to achieve completeness and fusion with the architecture of the Church forced the craftsmen to carefully select and distribute artistic means: to abandon the orb (it could violate the scale of a small space) and limit themselves in using their favorite carved decor. Fine, elegant gilded carving is used in only two or three fragments: the decoration of the holy doors, the cartouche of the central icon of the Feasts tier and the Crucifixion, which completes the entire composition.

    Source: F. V. Razumovsky, Na beregakh Oki (ot Serpukhova to Kashiry), Moscow, 1988.

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    Chentsovo, Rusyatino, Zaoksky District, Tula Region
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Chentsovo, Rusyatino, Zaoksky District, Tula Region
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