The early modern architecture of Muscovy is significant in the history of itinerant artists and architects residing in or passing through the realm, including those of Italian, Dutch, German, and English origins.1 The arrival of foreign artists corresponded to a period of major geopolitical change in Rus’ (the future Russia), with the unification and expansion of fragmented city-states and feudal territories under the authority of Muscovite princes, beginning with the reign of Grand Duke Ivan III (r. 1462–1505), who vanquished the Golden Horde (the Mongol Empire), and continuing through the rule of his successors, especially that of Grand Duke Vassily III (r. 1505–33). In the last half of the fifteenth century, with the collapse of the Mediterranean Byzantine world upon the Ottoman conquest and the disintegration of the Mongol Empire on the Volga into competing khanates, Muscovy became a key player on the Eastern frontier and fostered new alliances with the Venetian Republic and the papacy, which sought to reach a political and ecclesiastical accord with Rus’ in the hope of launching a joint crusade against the Turks. Cardinal Bessarion (1403–72), a Byzantine refugee appointed a Roman Catholic cardinal and the nominal patriarch-in-exile of Constantinople, was instrumental in connecting Rome, Venice, and Muscovy through the 1472 marriage of the grand duke of Muscovy to the Byzantine Princess Zoë (Sophia) Paleologo, the niece of the last Byzantine emperor, Constantine IX Palaeologos (1405–53). Cardinal Bessarion articulated the idea of reconquering Constantinople and planted the notion of Moscow as heir to Byzantium with Russian statesmen.2 Ivan’s marriage to Zoë made possible many connections to cultural and political circles in Rome and Venice and facilitated Italian masters’ invitations to Moscow. By the end of Ivan’s rule, his court supported a large corps of Italian architects, stonemasons, wood carvers, and decorators from Bologna, Milan, and Venice, who worked relentlessly to rebuild the Moscow Kremlin on a new scale of artistic magnificence.
Ivan III’s ambitious program to claim the Grand Duchy of Muscovy as the successor state to Byzantium was a determining factor in the official patronage that led to the rebuilding of the Kremlin and in the development of the artistic landscape throughout the state. However, foreign architects found themselves not in a cultural desert but rather on genuinely fertile artistic ground. Through interaction with highly skilled local artisans, powerful patrons who had informed artistic tastes, and a rich diversity of regional artistic forms, they produced structures that exhibit changes in patterns of aesthetic thinking. The artistic expression fostered by the Muscovite court was reverential simultaneously toward aspects of local medieval Russian forms and Byzantine/Mediterranean traditions simultaneously, yet was at odds with the exclusive embrace of Renaissance forms. The types of artistic contact found in early modern Russian architecture help advance our understanding of patterns of artistic transmission, aesthetics, intellectual history, and form.
Outside Russian academic circles, the phenomenon of early modern Russian art and architecture remains largely marginalized within the survey of Western art history, as Dmitry Shvidkovsky observes in his recent book Russian Architecture and the West.3 His book is a consistent attempt to reconsider the history of Russian architecture and demonstrate the cultural connection of its artistic forms and values with Western traditions. Recent publications on artistic transfer in the Mediterranean, Central Europe, and other global locations ask to transcend nationalist models and center-periphery arguments and instead consider processes that account for both the importance of local traditions and the creative assimilation of imported artistic forms.4 Taking previous scholarship on cross-cultural exchange in the Muscovite Rus’ as a point of departure, this essay seeks to further contextualize work of Italian architects and draw attention to the astonishing adoption and metamorphoses of Renaissance styles, motifs, and methods in Russian regional schools of architecture. Through the example of Renaissance architectural ideas circulating in Muscovy and its borderlands, in particular in Crimea, this analysis aims to deepen our understanding of this region as an active partner in European and Eastern Mediterranean cultural developments during the early modern period, with more fluid borders and greater interconnectedness than is acknowledged.
My focus is on the work of Alevisio Lamberti, known in Moscow as Alevisio Novy (the New), who was among a group of architects and artists invited by the Muscovite Grand Prince Ivan III to rebuild his capital. Alevisio was a talented but lesser-known Venetian sculptor, stone carver, and architect, active ca. 1490–1520 in Venice, Ferrara, Crimea, and Muscovy, who was identified formally as Alevisio Lamberti da Montagnana by Sergio Bettini in the 1940s.5 Although Alevisio’s cultural experiences and architectural contributions are extraordinary, he remains largely overlooked in Western scholarship due to the scarcity of documentary evidence to fully authenticate his work. In turn, Russian scholarship has emphasized an Italian reading of his work in Muscovy, which reflects a larger geopolitical process in the construction of Russian cultural identity on European terms. Alevisio’s case is especially interesting: as an artist who was passing with the Russian embassy through Crimea en route to Moscow, he was apprehended by the Crimean Khan Meñli I Giray (or Mengli Geray) (r. 1475–1515), who obliged his unwilling visitor to work on the construction of the Devlet Saray (Palace of Happiness) until he completed the palace’s several sections. As will be shown, Alevisio’s work in the Crimea and on the Moscow Kremlin is key to our understanding of the reinterpretation of Renaissance forms and iconographies in diverse transnational contexts. A close reading of Alevisio’s work in several geographic locations will illuminate the artist’s creative response to local conditions and will demonstrate the complex nature of cross-cultural mediation in early modern architecture.
For the reasons stated, the figure of Alevisio Novy is particularly interesting among the successive groups of Italian craftsmen who came to Moscow at the cusp of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. According to his reconstructed career, Alevisio Lamberti da Montagnana had already demonstrated his remarkable talent working for Mauro Codussi and Pietro Lombardo from 1488–95 on the extensively ornamented façade of the Scuola Grande di San Marco in Venice before going to Moscow in 1503.6 Based on his now-recognized work in the Crimean Khanate and Moscow, scholars have also attributed to him buildings in Pavia, Montagnana, Padua, and other towns in the Veneto, in particular the Chapel of Santissimo (ca. 1500–01) in the Duomo di Montagnana, and the Oratorio dell’Annunciazione (La Chiesetta Revese) (ca. 1499) in Brendola (Figs. 8.1 and 8.2).7 His other thoroughly attested individual work is the Gruamonte funeral monument in Ferrara Cathedral, completed in 1498, where the sculptor showed his mastery in handling the figures using all’antica Renaissance techniques (Fig. 8.3).8 His work on the Gruamonte monument had earned him a reputation as a celebrated tomb architect, so he was recommended to Ivan III’s embassy, led by Dmitry Ralev and Mitrophan Karacharovo, who were recruiting an architect in Venice to redesign the resting place of Moscow’s ruling princes.
1 The Iron Gate Portal in Bakhchisaray Palace in Crimea
In September 1504, Alevisio, the Venetian sculptor and architect,9 was leaving the Crimean Khanate to begin his architectural appointment in Moscow. His unintended yearlong sojourn and service at the court of the Crimean Khan Meñli I Giray (1475–1515) had earned him much admiration. At Salaçiq in 1503–4, Alevisio completed for Meñli I Giray some sections of a great palace, the Devlet Saray, from which only the Demir Kapi or “Iron Gate” portal survives (Fig. 8.4).10 In a diplomatic letter dated September 15, 1504, Meñli I Giray went to great lengths to recommend Alevisio to Grand Prince Ivan III of Moscow, then his ally, when he urged him “do not to look upon other Italian masters as the equal of this Alevisio” and called the artist “a most excellent master, not like others, a great master.”11
The Iron Gate portal (1503–4), now preserved in the Bakhchisaray Palace, is an extraordinary monument for its remarkable adaptation of the classical orders of the Venetian Renaissance to the Eastern Mediterranean cultural context in the Crimean Khanate. Until now, though, the portal has remained mostly a hidden gem, understood primarily as an exotic guest among other constructions of the palace built in the Middle Eastern style.12 The Iron Gate portal is the only remaining original part of the Tatar khans’ palace complex, founded in 1532 by Meñli I Giray’s son Sahib, who expanded the Crimean Khanate over the Caspian and Volga regions and moved the capital from Salaçiq (Salacik) to Bakhchisaray (Garden Palace) in the valley of the Curuq Su River. As the seventeenth-century Ottoman traveler Evliyâ Çelebi testifies, the “Demir Kapi Portal was carefully moved from the former Devlet Saray” as “a fine monument to the reign of Meñli I Giray.”13 Many of the structures currently in the palace were added later, while some of the original sections did not survive past the eighteenth century due to continuous warfare with Muscovy. Because of the inscription itself and the excellent state of preservation of the gate, there is little doubt about its authenticity. Alevisio Lamberti da Montagnana, who particularly excelled in stone decoration and sculpture, is likely the artist who completed the work, and the diplomatic letter to Ivan III from the Crimean khan only makes this identification of the artist more plausible.
Most likely conceived as the main imperial gate of appearances in the Devlet Saray, the Iron Gate shows the breadth of the cultural horizon against which it was made. The portal was strategically positioned on the way from the Ambassadors’ Courtyard to reception halls used in official ceremonies.14 The important guests would immediately see two gilt Arabic inscriptions above the doorway. The first, in the tondo (which features a centrally placed tamga showing the emblem of the Giray dynasty), extolled the sovereign and his lineage: “The owner of this palace and the ruler of this land, the greatest and noblest Sovereign, Meñli Giray Khan, son of Haci Giray Khan, let God have mercy upon him and his parents in both worlds.” The second, on the lintel or entablature, proclaimed his political office: “This majestic threshold and this high gate were constructed under the order of the Sovereign of Two Continents and the Khagan (Emperor) of Two Seas, Sovereign, a son of a Sovereign, Meñli Giray Khan, Son of the Sovereign Haci Giray Khan, 909 (1503/04).”15 These gilded inscriptions in classical Arabic both glorified Meñli and summarized his recent political accomplishments. In 1502, he defeated the last khan of the Golden Horde and adopted the title of khagan (khan over khans), the successor to the Golden Horde’s authority over the Tatar khaganates in the Caspian-Volga region.16
Arguably, Meñli I Giray was making an explicit reference to the gilded foundation inscription above the main gate to the Topkapi Palace in Constantinople, which celebrated Meñli’s main rival, the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II, at the zenith of his political power in 1478: “Sultan of the Two Continents and Emperor of the Two Seas, the Shadow in this world and the next, the Favorite of God on the Eastern and Western horizons, the conqueror of Constantinople, the Father of Conquest, Sultan Khan Mehmed.”17 Meñli I Giray conceived his own rulership in a similar political formulation, thus publicly unveiling his cultural concerns in the context of Ottoman expansion in the Black Sea region, which would hinder maritime movement. It is well known that Meñli I Giray was in direct diplomatic contact with the Ottoman court in Constantinople and exchanged letters with Sultan Mehmed II, as preserved historical documents at the Topkapı Palace testify.18 He had personally met with Mehmed II in 1475, in fact, after being captured by the Ottomans in Feodosiya and delivered to Constantinople. Entering under the protection of Mehmed II, he recognized Ottoman suzerainty over the Crimean Khanate and thus returned to the throne of Crimea in 1478.19
Meñli I Giray made great use of Alevisio’s architectural and sculptural talents to state his imperial ambitions once he apprehended the Venetian artist en route from Venice to Moscow. In 1502, Grand Prince Ivan III’s embassy in Venice hired Alevisio for the task of transforming the burial place of the princes of Muscovy.20 Alevisio went by the traditional sea route for Italian merchants trading with Moscow, using stations established north of the Black Sea, but while crossing Moldavian lands, the artist and ambassadors were arrested by the local Prince Stefan the Great in response to shocking news: Ivan III had disgraced his spouse Elena, Stefan’s daughter, and deprived his eldest son by her, Dimitrij, of the right of succession in favor of Vasily, Ivan’s youngest son from his marriage to Zoë, the Byzantine Princess Sophia Paleologa. Meñli I Giray was instrumental in negotiating the embassy’s release, but the travelers then stayed at the khan’s own court for a year while Ivan and he were reconciling over a further political drama. This time, the grand prince of Moscow banished and deprived of the throne an adopted son of Meñli I Giray, Muhammad Emin.21 When Ivan III and Meñli I Giray finally resolved the issue, the embassy was at last freed and Alevisio continued on his way to Moscow under the protection of Crimean guards.
2 The Iron Gate: Portal, Architecture, and Ornament
Made from eighteen large blocks of local limestone,22 the Iron Gate is more than a clear-cut Renaissance-style portal. While its general form, based on the classical orders, is markedly Renaissance in character, its coloring and ornamentation, and the articulation of its forms, appear linked to Middle Eastern traditions. Thus, it contains two opposing architectural and decorative tendencies in practically equal measure.
The architectonic structure of the portal, with a large semicircular tympanum and entablature resting on the two pilasters, constitutes framing and thus belongs to Venetian architecture. In particular, the two pseudo-Corinthian capitals, whose S-shaped volutes are connected by a central vegetal inflorescence, are based on an uncommon ancient example that was admired for its variety and highly ornamental potential by the architectural circle of Pietro Lombardo and Mauro Codussi in Venice.23 Acroterion and blossoming acanthus flowers, notably decorating the tympanum, also preserve a further Venetian note. However, the classical forms seem to exist here in order to give a magnificent frame to the gilded Arabic inscription in the tondo, placed prominently in the tympanum, thus making it the focus of the composition. The other gilded inscription is the centerpiece of the entablature. As a highly skilled sculptor and carver, Alevisio was certainly capable of rendering a designed inscription in stone. The presence of the Arabic script itself suggests that the Renaissance master collaborated with both a local calligrapher and perhaps a craftsman, who would have assisted with models for the inscriptions. However, no information exists as to any local artists involved.
All of the architectonic elements of the portal are covered with carpet-style, low-relief flower and vegetal decoration, highlighted by a brightly painted red background. Lavishly adorned with carved floral scrolls and large lotus flowers rather than true all’antica acanthine ornament, the tympanum backdrop adds an orientalizing Central Asian flavor to the portal that is further underscored by the unusual use of bright colors, such as green, purple, and red. Although we cannot know whether Alevisio himself selected these colors at the time of the original commission, they help nonetheless to underscore the intended focus on decoration, even if implemented sometime later. The stylized flowers, spiraling across the panel behind the tympanum and evoking the splendors of Paradise, conjure fifteenth-century international Timurid designs that typically featured arabesque scrolls of swirling floral stems.24 In all, the low-relief carpet-style carved ornamentation deemphasizes the orders and veils the portal’s overall architectonic structure. Placed on the same level as the doorway framing, even the pilasters and capitals blend visually with the incredibly rich and dense carved ornamentation. Thus, the classical forms lose their legibility and merge entirely with the carpet-style ornamental design.
From this analysis it becomes apparent that Alevisio did not build or ornament the Iron Gate simply according to the principles that he exercised in his native Venice. The portal’s localisms make it a very distant relative of any extant contemporary portal on which Alevisio may have worked while in Venice. As scholarship demonstrates, portals in the Scuola Grande di San Marco (1488–95), San Zaccaria (1483–90), Santa Maria Formosa (1492), and Santa Maria dei Miracoli (1481–89), with which Alevisio either was affiliated or familiar at the time, emphasize the mastery of the classical orders and adherence to Vitruvian and Albertian architectonic principles of the primacy of invention over decoration (Figs. 8.5 and 8.6).25 The architectural work of Mauro Codussi and Pietro Lombardo in Venice shows a firm understanding of classical orders and the achievements of the Tuscan tradition in elegantly framed blind arcades, marble paneling, windows, and portals. A fine balance between regularity and ornament embodied the concept of decorum and represented the all’antica language of nobility that by definition was cultured and abstract.26 In contrast, the Iron Gate underscores ornamentation as its guiding formal aesthetic principle, which would appeal to local tastes influenced by the cultures of the Golden Horde, as well as by their Christian neighbors.
Given the rich blending of Renaissance and Eastern approaches to architectural articulation and decoration, the Iron Gate is especially significant with regard to the transference of iconographies, raising questions concerning the transformation of the meaning of objects and forms. Venetian architectural forms appear to be translated and manipulated through the local Crimean context, thus they shed their Venetian character in the process of transformation, which endows the “Renaissance” portal with new layers of ideas and meanings due to its exclusive function in the khan’s palace.
How and to what extent did the original function and meaning of the portal, as a distinct Venetian structure with specific decoration and other period characteristics, change? The new context of the khan’s palace suggests a radical shift in its function if we grasp the program that lay behind the portal’s construction. The Iron Gate was probably bound up with the changing ideology of the Crimean Khanate and designed to celebrate both the raised status of the dynasty and the new character of their rule. The appropriation and transformation of the Italianate orders demonstrates a well-established strategy for individual self-fashioning and for displaying political and economic standing in the European and Mediterranean cultural milieu. As has been shown, patrons frequently used Italian artistic standards to enhance their role in cultural and economic transfers and to display the breadth of their political influence.27 With its mixture of classical elements, the gilded Arabic inscription, and the arabesque quality of the carved floral ornamentation, the Iron Gate was certainly intended both to catch the eye as an exotic guest and to appeal to local tastes through familiar aesthetic and thematic Crimean features.
3 Archangel Michael Cathedral and Architectural Context in Muscovy
The Archangel Michael Cathedral (1505–8) in the Moscow Kremlin is the other most significant extant architectural commission in Alevisio Novy’s or Alevisio Lamberti da Montagnana’s artistic career (Fig. 8.7). The building reflected Ivan III’s recent political accomplishments. Like Meñli I Giray and Sultan Mehmed II, Ivan was inspired to raise a monument to celebrate his divinely guided (as he saw it) successes, in his case defeating the Golden Horde and expanding Muscovite power and influence. Marking the majestic final phase in the rebuilding of the tsar’s official residence, the new cathedral assumed an enlarged role, not only in the rebuilding program but also in the sacred topography of Muscovy. Built on the old foundation, where Russian princes began to be buried from the mid-fourteenth century on, the Archangel Cathedral housed the pantheon of the ruling dynasty. Here, the Russian princes swore their oath of allegiance to the tsar and prayed to the tombs of ancestors and their celestial patron after the coronation ceremony and before going into battle.28
The cathedral is significant because it has long been considered the most “Renaissance” building in the Moscow Kremlin and has aroused a debate as to the relationship between its traditional Russian features and the new architectural order introduced from Venice.29 Scholars have discussed a number of questions, including the authorship, the origin and style of the façade decoration, the relation of the interior plan to Russian medieval architecture, and the influence of employed artistic forms on subsequent local architecture.30 Until now, however, Alevisio’s work in Moscow has been primarily interpreted as an example of a direct transfer of Venetian models to Russian designs. While earlier scholars such as F. Gornastaev and A.I. Vlasyuk suggested that the architectural and compositional forms of the Archangel Michael Cathedral had an organic link to Russian medieval traditions, particularly the Vladimiro-Suzdal architectural school, later scholars have emphasized an Italian reading of Alevisio’s work.31 However, Dmitry Shvidkovsky’s recent analysis of the cathedral reestablishes its links with early Russian architecture by explaining the duality of its forms as being politically motivated, resulting from the settling of dynastic disputes over the succession at Ivan III’s court before his death in 1505.32 Shvidkovsky argues that the cathedral’s design was a result of a compromise between the supporters of Vasily, the younger son from the Byzantine princess, who were in favor of new Italianate styles, and the supporters of Dmitry, the elder son from the first wife, the princess of Tver, who preferred the traditions of early Russian architecture. Instead, I propose to connect the development of the Archangel Michael Cathedral to a versatile and polyglot visual context already extant in Moscow. Alevisio’s work appears to be consistent with that city’s growing intellectual culture and eclectic visual tradition, yet its artistic forms take on a new layer of meaning with the transfer of the Renaissance architectural language to the Muscovite court.
The cathedral belongs to the final stage of the Moscow Kremlin renovation program initiated by Tsar Ivan III. Although Ivan III did not live to see it completed, there are no reasons to consider the Archangel Michael Cathedral a product of his successor Vasily III’s patronage and to associate it with a new stylistic stage in Muscovite architecture, as has been proposed.33 The construction began in the last months of Ivan III’s life in 1505 and without doubt followed a plan that met his approval.34 The idea for the cathedral was probably already under consideration when the tsar’s embassy first approached Alevisio in Venice. Alevisio’s work completing the Cathedral Square ensemble comprised the tsar’s palace, the belfry, and other churches, all designed by various Italian architects who also worked on the city walls and the ring of fortification towers encircling the royal residence. Among the elements of the Moscow Kremlin, the Archangel Michael Cathedral stands out for its monumental scale, the lavish decoration of its façades, and the splendid design of its carved portals. The cathedral competes for attention with the largest edifice of the Cathedral Square, the Dormition Cathedral, the seat and burial place of Russian patriarchs and the symbolic center of the Russian patriarchy in the Muscovite state.35 Conceived as the shrine where princes would take their final refuge, the Archangel Michael Cathedral served a farsighted political purpose, signaling the increasing authority of the Moscow ruling house.36 Its epic size and effective placement on Borovitsky Hill, the highest hilltop above the Moscow River, made the shrine open to view when approaching the city by river. Thus, the cathedral visibly glorified Muscovite princes while furnishing them with a sacred and political center comparable to that of other Eastern European potentates and thus helped put Muscovy on the map alongside the established city-states of the Mediterranean.
A splendid addition to the Cathedral Square, Alevisio’s masterwork replaced the previous building, a much smaller white-stone church37 completed in 1333 during the reign of Ivan Kalita (1325–40) and the first example in the history of Kievan Rus’ of a dedicated burial place for Moscow princes (not shared with Russian patriarchs). Prior to that, most Russian princes were buried side by side with patriarchs and bishops in ducal cathedrals, the main political and sacred centers of principalities.38 Thus, Alevisio’s Archangel Michael Cathedral helped realize the ambition of Muscovite princes to create a unified sacred center manifesting political authority in the Kremlin. The architect was tasked to design a space that could not only house the twenty existing tombs in the old church but also serve as a resting place for future generations of the ruling dynasty.39 The result was a five-domed monumental church with six piers, longer by eight meters and wider by six meters than the previous building. The construction lasted three building seasons and was completed at the same time as the grand unveiling of the other Cathedral Square elements: the new royal palace on the opposite side, the Annunciation Church (the palace church of the Moscow princes), and the St. Ivan Belfry Tower (Fig. 8.8).
Strategically placed on the main diplomatic route leading through the Savior (previously Frolov) Gate to the princely palace, the Archangel Michael Cathedral caught the attention of every ambassador and visitor to the tsar’s residence. The cathedral was an important stopping point for all official ceremonies, including the coronation of tsars and the departure of princes to the battlefield. Guests must have been particularly struck by the sophisticated taste of the Muscovite tsars, the unprecedented architectural decoration of the cathedral, and the splendid display of ornamented portals enhancing its entrances. Many contemporary commentators praised the Italianate character of the Moscow Kremlin and its vast scale, reminiscent of an entire town. For example, Paolo Giovio, bishop of Como, described Moscow as “an astonishingly beautiful citadel with towers and slit windows built by Italian masters.”40
Designed in the Italian style and presenting gilded domes, the Archangel Michael Cathedral further extended the diversity of architectural forms and styles featured in the Moscow Kremlin. Based on the revival and reworking of Byzantine and Russian architectural traditions with the help of several generations of leading Italian masters,41 Ivan III’s architectural patronage did not produce a uniform Italianate style but rather was strikingly eclectic: Italian Renaissance decoration and building innovations coexisted with Byzantine and Russian regional styles. The direct borrowings from Italian architecture most commonly found in the Moscow Kremlin—the palatial edifices and the citadel walls—were those for which there were few preexisting architectural traditions and thus easily afforded a creative reinterpretation. In contrast, newly added ecclesiastical buildings visually preserved links to Byzantine and Russian regional types but were reinterpreted with the use of technological innovations brought in by Renaissance masters. The interior decoration and design of churches and palaces adhered to Byzantine-Russian and Eastern standards of beauty prominent in Muscovy, thus further perpetuating visual continuity with established local traditions.
The duality of the Archangel Michael Cathedral further demonstrates the consciousness of the selection, adaptation, and response to aesthetic and intellectual approaches already at work in the Moscow Kremlin. By the time Alevisio Novy arrived, Ivan III’s architectural renovation program was nearly complete, and the visual expression produced by Alevisio further expanded on the already existing variety and complexity of artistic expression fostered at Ivan’s court. The Archangel Michael Cathedral was inserted into the Cathedral Square opposite the Dormition of the Mother of God Cathedral, coronation church and first sacred center of Muscovy. The Dormition stood on a fairly central spot, with the metropolitan’s residence and the grand princes’ palace on the north side and the Church of the Deposition of the Robe on the west (Fig. 8.9). Built by Aristotele Fioravanti, a leading architect from Bologna, the Dormition displays a strong continuity with architectural traditions in Muscovy yet applied the principle of orders and mathematical proportions to symbolically supersede its medieval rivals. The whole complex was surrounded by red brick Lombard-style crenellated fortifications constructed under the direction of Pietro Antonio Solari and two other masters, Marco and Anton (Onton) Fryazin.42 Besides the walls, the Lombard masters completed the Faceted Palace, a banqueting hall in the Terem Palace, in 1491,43 which combined a Renaissance-style rusticated façade and interior in a wholly Russian tradition (Fig. 8.10).44 Thus, when Alevisio began his work in the Kremlin, the visual aspects of Renaissance architecture coexisted with those produced in regional Russian styles.
Built from red brick and decorated with carved white stone architectural elements, the Archangel Michael Cathedral is neither Italian nor Russian in tone but reflects conflicting patrons’ tastes for both all’antica vocabulary and familiar regional traditions.45 With its overall cross-and-square five-dome structure, vertical and horizontal volumes, and semicircular Russian gables or zakomaras above its dividing façades, the cathedral brings to mind princely and patriarchal churches in Kiev, Chernigov, Novgorod, Vladimir, and Suzdal before the Mongol invasion (Fig. 8.11).46 At the same time, however, Renaissance-style order articulation of the façades with pilasters arranged in two tiers, large scallop shell reliefs placed in each of the zakomaras (which were once crowned by Gothic phials), and oculi on the west façade are reminiscent of Venetian decoration.
The Archangel Michael Cathedral was the first church in Muscovy in which Renaissance orders were fully used. The two-register architectonic structure of the façades, with rows of pilasters crowned with carved composite capitals, is undoubtedly the most striking aspect of the cathedral and belongs to Venetian architecture. Pilasters dividing each row of the façades support the horizontal elements of a classical entablature, thus creating a unified design for the entire building, other than the east wall with its apses. The lower tier of the north wall is decorated with a pseudo-arcade of blind arches, and the upper is adorned with framed sunken panels. The protruding pedestals at the base of the pilasters and the projections above in the entablature produce vertical axes that connect the two registers and refract and diverge in the zakomaras, inviting the gaze to follow the architectural scan of the building’s perimeter. Pseudo-Corinthian capitals with S-shaped volutes are derived from the architectural circle of Pietro Lombardo and Mauro Codussi in Venice.47
The Archangel Michael Cathedral’s resemblance to Venetian Renaissance architecture ends when we consider its overall proportional and spatial organization. The white-stone members constitute a framing that takes in the entire exterior but is not based on the kind of exact geometry and rational principles that characterize Italian Renaissance architecture and that the earlier Dormition Cathedral by Fioravanti displayed. Instead, vertical bays on the north and south façades broaden toward the center or the main dome axis and become smaller toward the west entryway. The composition of five domes is also placed more toward the apse or east; the size of zakomaras with carved shells varies as well and slightly diminishes toward the west side, thus creating a dynamic wave from east to west. This flexible architectural framing is applied throughout the building with a rationale determined by practical factors of perception and use.48 Overall, Alevisio created a dynamic architectural articulation of the façades, effectively manipulating proportions and scale.
This flexible framing continues the kind of spatial organization seen in Russian regional architecture and reveals, if only partially, that the construction of the building follows early Russian prototypes. The monumental five-dome, six-pier, cross-and-square building visually and structurally recalls such large cathedrals as St. Sophia Cathedral (1045–50) in Novgorod and the original Dormition Cathedral (1158–60, 1185–89) in Vladimir. The link with regional early Russian architecture can also be seen inside the cathedral. The massive near-square six pillars divide the building into three naves, compressing the space of the interior. The three bays of the west façade correspond to these three naves, in the same way that the five bays of the north and south façades represent the five bays of the interior. However, the exterior decoration does not fully follow the interior divisions as typically found in Russian medieval architecture. For instance, in the traditional Russian form, each section of the façade would be adorned with a semicircular zakomara, which represented the actual vaulting of each section of the building. Instead, here the actual cathedral vaulting is not made visible on the façade. The semicircular zakomaras, crowning each of the façades, are decorative elements that rest on the entablature, with the actual vaults invisible behind the horizontal elements of the upper entablature. Thus, the innovative exterior order decoration appears to be applied to a very traditional use of space.
Further examination of Alevisio’s use of so many ornamental motifs, including the classical orders, the large relief scallop shells, the cluster of oculi above the main portal, and ornamental semicircular moldings, reveals that the Archangel Michael Cathedral does not exactly transfer any of the Venetian models. Comparison with Venetian monuments such as Scuola Grande di San Marco (1488–95), Santa Maria Formosa (1492), and Santa Maria dei Miracoli (1481–89), completed respectively by Mauro Codussi and Pietro Lombardo, or even Alevisio’s own work on Duomo di Montagnana (ca. 1500–01) and Oratorio dell’Annunciazione (la Chiesetta Revese, ca. 1499) in Brendola confirms that he does not copy any specific building. As Shvidkovsky rightly observes: “[Alevisio] gathers elements of various Venetian buildings, especially those of Codussi, into his own composition, unconcerned as to whether they come from an interior or exterior.”49
Alevisio’s departure from Venetian models in ornamentation and aesthetics becomes even more apparent in his use of materials. The Archangel Michael Cathedral was made of red brick and white stone—essentially foreign to Venetian palatial and church architecture that was typically clad in a delicate palette of multicolored and precious marbles. However, the use of red brick and white stone was characteristic of building construction in Byzantium and across the Slavic cultural sphere, becoming a hallmark of the Moscow Kremlin during the last decades of the fifteenth century with the addition of the fortifications built under Ivan III, all made of red brick. Thus, the use of such materials in Alevisio’s work connected the Archangel Michael Cathedral to the aesthetics of the Moscow Kremlin. I would propose that the local cultural situation had an important impact on the circulation of architectural forms and significantly altered their original meaning and function. Given the ambition of Ivan III’s rebuilding project that brought together not only a corps of Italian masters but also homegrown talent, it is plausible to imagine that Alevisio, as with the Iron Gate, collaborated with local craftsmen and artisans, who assisted him in preparing models but would also make practical and aesthetic suggestions. Hence Alevisio refashioned Venetian architectural forms in response to local tastes and building traditions that he willingly embraced.
This rigorous synthesis of Venetian and Russian is also found in the design and decoration of the cathedral entryways. The west façade has a total of three portals carved from white stone and embellished with floral ornamentation typical of Renaissance Venice: classical floral acanthine scrolls, capitals, urns decorated with plant forms, and fantastical stylized dragons (Fig. 8.12). However, the gathering and adaptation of the ornamental motifs and architectural forms demonstrates the artist’s accommodation of local tastes. On the one hand, Alevisio fashioned the portals as magnificent entryways that evoke splendidly decorated all’antica arches. Particularly, the west side portals take the form of a semicircular arch, adorned with a carved palmette acroterion and pseudo-Corinthian capitals with a vegetal inflorescence—forms often found in Venetian architecture. On the other hand, the west central portal is designed as a monumental perspective entryway, a form of Russian medieval architecture especially common in the Vladimiro-Suzdal Principality. Thus, Venetian all’antica architectural ornamentation, comprising acanthine scrolls, dragons, and candelabras, is presented within a Russian-type framing. Gilding of the lavish low-relief floral and vegetal decoration, highlighted by a bright blue background, must have further appealed to local tastes. Although this coloring was probably added later, it only complements the overall portal design, where Venetian all’antica elements appear to be orientalized; they become comparable to brightly colored carved reliefs and carpet-style ornamental designs that once covered the walls of the Kremlin Palace and were key to the aesthetics of every Muscovite church, which typically were displayed in a myriad of gilded and ornamented icons, embroidered textiles, and ecclesiastical furnishings. All’antica architectural forms lose their legibility as classical decoration and function in a new way within a visual culture that emphasizes ornamentation over spatial integrity, a long-standing aspect of Russian arts that was not without the influence of the Golden Horde approach to decoration.
Given the rich blending of Italianate and Russian aspects in architectural articulation and decoration, how should we approach Alevisio’s work in the Moscow Kremlin? The cathedral was surely intended to possess traditional aesthetic and thematic Muscovite features, especially seen in the overall architectural plan and composition of the building and the interpretation of the classical orders. It was surely designed to represent the specific character of the Muscovite cultural milieu that was openly embracing different artistic and cultural paradigms, while also appropriating Italianate orders and architectural forms.
4 Alevisio Novy’s Work, Novel Approaches
The mixing of Renaissance, Russian, and Eastern Mediterranean traditions in Alevisio’s work in Moscow and the Crimea underscores the stylistic and thematic openness of art produced in the early modern period. Until recently, this mixing of cultures had been described through the model of mimesis or imitation, connoting the mimicked or unoriginal and emulated nature of art produced in the cultural periphery. This interpretation unfairly leaves the work of original artists such as Alevisio Lamberti da Montagnana on the margins of art history. Furthermore, scholars have associated the possession of artistic agency and cultural imagination in the Eastern Mediterranean with powerful fifteenth-century rulers such as Mehmed II, Ivan III, and now Meñli I Giray, celebrated as great leaders in the Renaissance period. Instead, this paper brings the focus back to the artist and situates Alevisio’s work outside of Italy within the milieu he entered while in Muscovy and the Crimea. His encounter with local traditions and materials resulted in the creation of fascinating variations in familiar architectural orders, while also leading to a further transformation of their underlying aesthetic principles. The Iron Gate in the Bakhchisaray Palace and the Archangel Michael Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin are products of a nontrivial meeting of cultures that accommodates specific concerns of the patron, artist, and locale. Alevisio reinterprets Venetian all’antica orders in—and on—local cultural terms, designed either to celebrate the raised status and changing ideology of the Crimean Khanate or to serve as a cultural bridge between old and new in Ivan III’s ambitious geopolitical and artistic project to completely rebuild the Moscow Kremlin. Alevisio’s work exemplifies the agency of remarkable individuals who crossed fluid boundaries in the early modern period and found their own distinctive ways to transform and shape cultural history.
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Research for this article was initiated as part of my dissertation project at the University of California San Diego in 2010. I would like to thank Jack Greenstein and William Tronzo for encouraging me to develop this paper for publication. I am also grateful to Andrej L. Batalov for productive discussions of the subject at the Moscow Kremlin. An earlier version of this publication was first presented in June 2014 at the mobile seminar “From Riverbed to Seashore” (funded by the Getty Foundation’s Connecting Art Histories Initiative), and the Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America in March 2015. I would especially like to acknowledge Professor Alina Payne for providing invaluable feedback for this paper and for organizing a unique scholarly context for intercultural dialogue and exchange.
The emergence of the idea of Moscow as a new Byzantium and the Third Rome has long been discussed in scholarship. R. Skrynnykov summarizes major historical viewpoints in his monograph, see R. Skrynnikov, Tretiy Rim (St. Petersburg: Dmitry Bulanin, 1994), 40. Dmitry Shvidkovsky offers a concise reading of the idea of Moscow as the Third Rome and provides historical context on the invitation of Italian masters to Rus’, see Dmitry Shvidkovsky, Russian Architecture and the West (Yale University Press, 2007), 74. Political circumstances leading to the arrival of Italian architects in Moscow have been also discussed in Evelyn Welch, “Between Italy and Moscow: Cultural Crossroads and the Culture of Exchange,” in Cultural Exchange in Early Modern Europe: Forging European Identities, 1400–1700, ed. Herman Roodenburg (Cambridge University Press, 2007), 4: 59–99. Finally, for a recent reappraisal of the idea, see the dissertation of Helen A. Hurst, “Italians and the New Byzantium: Lombard and Venetian Architects in Muscovy, 1472–1539” (PhD diss., City University of New York, Graduate Center, 2014).
Shvidkovsky, Russian Architecture and the West, 1–11.
The recent volume Dalmatia and the Mediterranean: Portable Archaeology and the Poetics of Influence, ed. Alina Payne (Brill, 2013), delves deeply into cultural exchange and artistic transfers in the Mediterranean from later antiquity to the modern period and offers substantial insight into the process of transformation that occurs across artistic mediums during such transfers. Another volume, Circulations in the Global History of Art, eds. Thomas Da Costa Kaufmann, Catherine Dossin, and Beatrice Joyeux-Prunel (Ashgate, 2015), reintroduces the project of Global Art History through a series of helpful case studies from the early modern to contemporary periods. The volume centers on Central Europe (especially the Polish-Lithuanian borderlands), Eurasia, and Latin America, insisting on rethinking the conventional high/low, center/periphery categories and sites of contact that were “off center.”
The name Alevisio Lamberti da Montagnana was truly discovered in the 1940s. The following publications helped with attribution of his works: P. Paoletti, L’architettura e la scultura del Rinascimento in Venezia (Venice: Ongania- Naya, 1893), 2: 180; Ettore Lo Gatto, Gli artisti italiani in Russia (Roma: La Libreria dello Stato, 1935), 1: 56–65; Sergio Bettini, “Alvise Lamberti da Montagnana. Un grande artista veneto in Russia,” Le Tre Venezie 12, no. 1–3 (1944): 17–31; “Alvise Lamberti da Montagnana, un grande artista veneto in Russia,” Le Tre Venezie 19 (1944): 16–31; Giuseppe Fiocco, “Alvise Lamberti da Montagnana,” Bolletino del Museo Civico di Padova 45 (1956): 83–88; Sergio Bettini, “L’architetto Alevis Novyi in Russia,” Atti del primo convegno sull’urbanistica veneta 18–20 maggio 1964, Bolletino del Centro Internazionale di Studi di Architettura Andrea Palladio 6, no. 1 (1964): 159–80; “L’architetto Alevis Novi in Russia,” in Venezia e l’Oriente fra tardo Medioevo e Rinascimento, ed. A. Petrusi (Florence: Sansoni 1966), 573–94; G. Mazzi, “Indagini archivistiche per Alvise Lamberti da Montagnana,” Arte Lombarda 44–45 (1976): 96–101. G. Danieli, “Schede d’archivio per la storia dell’arte a Padova e nel territorio (sec. XV ≠ XVI),” Bolletino del Museo Civico di Padova 82, Padua (1993): 131–70; S.S. Pod’yapol’sky, “O knige E. Lo Gatto. Posleslovie cherez veka,” in Istoriko-arkhitekturnoe issledovanie: Stat’i i materialy, ed. E.N. Pod’yapol’skaya (Moskva: Indrik, 2006), 219–61, 236.
Paoletti, L’architettura e la scultura del Rinascimento in Venezia, 2: 107, 176–77, 180.
See also Shvidkovsky, Russian Architecture and the West, 99, for a summary of opinions on the attribution of different works to Alevisio.
L.N. Citadella, Notizie amministrative, storiche, artistiche relative a Ferrara (Ferrara: Tipografia di Domenico Taddei, 1868), 2:3: 185–89; Mazzi, “Indagini archivistiche,” 96–101. Fiocco, “Alvise Lamberti da Montagnana,” 83–88; A. Bacchi, “Scultori e sculture nella Ferrara del Cinquecento,” in Gli Easte a Ferrara. Una corte nel Rinascimento (Milan: Cinisello Balsamo, 2004), 183–87.
Literally, “New Alevisio.” There are several spellings of the name: Alevisio, Aloisius, Alvise, and Alevis.
N. Ernst, “Bakhchsarayskii Khanskii Dvorets i architector velikogo knyazya Ivana III Fryazin Alevis Novy,” Izvestiya Tavricheskogo obshestva istorii, arheologii, i etnografii 2, no. 59, Simferopol (1928): 3–4; A. Vlasyuk, “O rabote zodchego Alevisa Novogo v Bakchisarae i v Moskovskom Kremle,” Arkhitekturnoe Nasledstvo 10 (1958): 101–16; Oleksa Gaivoronskii, Khanskii Dvorets (Kiev: Energia Plus, 2004), 32.
Vlasyuk, “O rabote zodchego Alevisa Novogo,” 101; the letter is fully cited in footnote 2. Also see a partial translation of the letter in Shvidkovsky, Russian Architecture and the West, 99.
Recently, Nicole Kançal-Ferrari, who was part of the Getty Foundation Connecting Art Histories project (directed by Alina Payne) that I participated in, was inspired after my several presentations on this topic to publish a paper on the meaning and function of the Iron Gate in relation to the cultural and political identity of Khan Mengli Geray. Kançal-Ferrari’s essay provides an important clarification about the inscription in the context of the khan’s patronage; see Nicole Kançal-Ferrari, “An Italian Renaissance Gate for the Khan: Visual Culture in Early Modern Crimea,” Muqarnas 34 (2017): 85–113.
Cited from Gaivoronskii, Khanskii Dvorets, 18.
Vlasyuk, “O rabote zodchego Alevisa Novogo,” 102.
Cited from Gaivoronskii, Khanskii Dvorets, 30–2. Ernst’s translation from the original Arabic into Russian was published in 1928, Ernst, “Bakhchisaraiskii Khanskii Dvorets,” 39. About the further interpretation of the inscriptions, see Kançal-Ferrari, “An Italian Renaissance Gate,” 99–110.
Robert Croskey, “The Diplomatic Forms of Ivan II’s Relationship with the Crimean Khan,” Slavic Review 43, no. 2 (1984): 257–69; Brian Glyn Williams, The Crimean Tatars: The Diaspora Experience and the Forging of a Nation (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2001).
Gülru Necipoğlu, Architecture, Ceremonial, and Power: The Topkapi Palace in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries (MIT Press, 1991), 13.
Alexandre Bennigsen, Pertev Naili Boratav, Dilek Desaive and Chantai Lemercier-Quelquejay, Le Khanat de Crimée dans les Archives du Musée du Palais de Topkapi (Paris and The Hague: Mouton, 1978).
Williams, The Crimean Tatars, 47–48.
Shvidkovsky, Russian Architecture and the West, 102.
Gaivoronskii, Khanskii Dvorets, 32.
Vlasyuk, “O rabote zodchego Alevisa Novogo,” 101–16.
Paolo Modesti, Santa Maria dei Miracoli, a Late Fifteenth-Century Building in Ancient Style (Venezia: Chorus, 2009), 12.
Designs of arabesque scrolls with swirling floral stems, which featured across a range of mediums including architectural decoration, miniature paintings, and decorative arts, especially those produced in the centers of Herat, Tabriz, and Samarqand, reached a peak of popularity during the fifteenth century and provided inspiration to lands stretching from Anatolia to India. Though Timur’s extensive empire itself was relatively short lived, his descendants continued to rule over Transoxiana as leading patrons of Islamic art. See Henri Stierlin, Islamic Art and Architecture (London: Thames and Hudson, 2002), 58–85.
Deborah Howard, “Space, Light, and Ornament in Venetian Architecture: Pietro Lombardo Reconsidered,” in Reflections on Renaissance Venice: A Celebration of Patricia Fortini Brown, eds. Blake de Maria and Mary E. Frank (Milan: 5 Continents Editions, 2013), 95–104.
Manfredo Tafuri, Venice and the Renaissance (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1989), 88–89.
Barbara Max, “Wandering Objects, Migrating Artists: The Appropriation of Italian Renaissance Art by German Courts in the Sixteenth Century,” in Cultural Exchange in Early Modern Europe: Forging Identities, 1400–1700, ed. Herman Roodenburg (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 4: 178–226. Gülru Necipoğlu, “Visual Cosmopolitanism and Creative Translation: Artistic Conversations with Renaissance Italy in Mehmed II’s Constantinople,” Muqarnas 29 (2012): 1–81.
Andrej L. Batalov, “Uspenskii sobor Moskovskogo Kremlya v sakral’noi topografii Moskvy,” Moskovskii Kreml’ XV Stoletia: Drevnie svyatyni i istoricheskie pamyatniki, eds. A.L. Batalov et al. (Moskva: Art Volkhonka, 2011), 1: 65–75.
Shvidkovsky, Russian Architecture and the West, 102.
F.F. Gornastaev was the first to suggest that the Archangel Michael Cathedral played a significant role in the formation of Moscow architecture, especially in introducing orders and two-register articulation of the façade, divided by pilasters that support an entablature in the lower level and semicircular lunettes (zakomary) in the upper. See S.S. Pod’yapol’sky, “Venetsianskie istoki architektury moskovskogo Archangelskogo sobora,” in Drevnerusskoe Iskusstvo: Zarubezhnye Svyazi, ed. G.V. Popov (Moskva: Nauka, 1975), 253–79, 253. For the original source, see Igor Grabar, Istoriya russkogo iskusstva (Moscow: Academy of Sciences, 1953–64), 2: 24. Later in 1917, S.V. Shervinsky connected architectural decoration of the façade with the Venetian Renaissance tradition; see S.V. Shervinsky, “Venetsianismy moskovskogo Arkhangelskogo sobora,” Sborniki Moskovskogo Merkuriya, no. 1 (1917): 191–204. In the second part of the twentieth century, A.I. Vlasyuk and S.S. Pod’yapol’sky significantly clarified the stylistic link between the cathedral’s architectural ornamentation and that of the various Venetian monuments built by Mauro Codussi and Pietro Lombardo at the end of the fifteenth century, connecting it to such examples as Scuola Grande di San Marco and Santa Maria dei Miracoli; see Vlasyuk, “O rabote zodchego Alevisa Novogo”; Pod’yapol’sky, “Venetsianskie istoki architektury moskovskogo Archangelskogo sobora.” However, the question of authorship has remained a subject of debate until very recently. For instance, S. Shervinsky thought that another Alevisio (Alevisio Carcano), a Milanese architect who worked from 1494–1508 on the construction of the Tsar Palace and the wall in the Moscow Kremlin, was responsible for the Archangel Michael Cathedral. Conversely, N.L. Ernst made a clear distinction between Alevisio Novy and Alevisio Carcano when he attributed the authorship of the Archangel Michael Cathedral to the master Alevisio who came in 1504 via Crimea with a Russian embassy, after being apprehended en route by the Crimean Khan Meñli I Giray to complete the portal of his own palace; see Ernst, “Bakhchirasaraisky khansky dvorets,” 53–55. The question of authorship was truly illuminated when Italian scholars E. Lo Gatto, S. Bettini, and Giuseppe Fiocco identified Alevisio Novy as Alevisio Lamberti da Montagnana, the Venetian master who worked as a master sculptor and carver on the façade of the Scuola Grande di San Marco under the direction of Mauro Codussi and Pietro Lombardo, as well as later independently in Ferrara, Montagnana, and Padua, hence securing the artistic link to Venice; see Lo Gatto, Gli artisti italiani in Russia, 56–65; Bettini, “Alvise Lamberti da Montagnana,” 17–31; Fiocco, “Alvise Lamberti da Montagnana,” 83–88; Bettini, “L’architetto Alevis Novyi in Russia,” 159–80; Pod’yapol’sky, “O knige E. Lo Gatto. Posleslovie cherez veka,” in Istoriko-arkhitekturnoe issledovanie: Stat’i i materialy, ed. E.N. Pod’yapol’skaya (Moskva: Indrik, 2006), 236. Later, S.S. Pod’yapol’sky and D. Shvidkovsky affirmed the identification of Alevisio Novy as Alevisio Lamberti da Montagnana, thus pronouncing definitively the author of the Archangel Michael Cathedral as the master in the Bakhchisaray Palace in Crimea; see Pod’yapol’sky, “Venetsianskie istoki architektury moskovskogo Archangelskogo sobora.”
Vlasyuk, A.I., “Novye issledovaniya arkhitektury Arkhangelskogo sobora v Moskovskom Kremle,” Arkhitekturnoe Nasledstvo, no. 2 (1952): 105–32; “O rabote zodchego Alevisa Novogo.” S.S. Pod’yapol’sky refutes Vlasyuk’s theory about the connection of the Archangel Michael Cathedral to Russian architectural forms; Pod’yapol’sky, “Venetsianskie istoki architektury moskovskogo Archangelskogo sobora.” Continuing the work initiated by Pod’yapol’sky, D.A. Petrov’s recent essay offers a fresh interpretation and lays out some interesting strategies to understand the connection of Archangel Michael Cathedral with Italian architecture; D.A. Petrov, “Arkhangelsky sobor i ego svyazi s pamyatnikami italianskoi arkhitektury,” in Moskovskiy Kreml’ XVI stoletia: Drevnie sviatyni i istoricheskie pamyatniki, eds. A.L. Batalov et al. (Moskva, Byksmart, 2014), 169–95.
The link of the Archangel Michael Cathedral to medieval Russian architecture has been reconsidered in Shvidkovsky, Russian Architecture and the West, 99–104; and subsequently by Hurst, “Italians and the New Byzantium,” 110–16. Both try to explain the dual character of the Archangel Michael Cathedral through the struggle over the succession between the two dominating factions at the court of Ivan III before his death in 1505.
Hurst, “Italians and the New Byzantium.”
Shvidkovsky, Russian Architecture and the West, 102.
Batalov, “Uspenskii Sobor Moskovskogo Kremlya.”
E.S. Sizov, “Khram Arkhangela Mikhaila na sobornoi ploshadi,” Arkhangel’sky Sobor Moskovskogo Kremlya, ed. N.A. Mayasov (Moskva: Krasnaya Ploshad’, 2002), 16–123, 23.
Pod’yapol’sky, “Venetsianskie istoki architektury moskovskogo Archangelskogo sobora,” 255, see footnote 8.
Batalov, “Uspenskii Sobor Moskovskogo Kremlya,” 66.
Sizov, “Khram Arkhangela Mikhaila na sobornoi ploshadi,” 29.
A. Posevino, Moskoviya, istoricheskie svedeniya o Rossii (Moscow: Moscow State University Press, 1983), 43.
I extend Dmitry Shvidkovsky’s concept of revival and a Moscow Renaissance to Ivan III’s patronage of the Moscow Kremlin. My more detailed argument on the Russian Renaissance was presented at a public lecture in London during the conference “Frontiers of Fifteenth Century Art,” sponsored by the British Academy in September 2015, and is currently the subject of a separate essay. For the purposes of this publication, I refer to D. Shidkovsky’s chapter “The Moscow Renaissance” in his book Russian Architecture and the West, 73–121. Helen Hurst’s attempt to define Ivan III’s patronage and the work of Italian architects in the Moscow Kremlin as a “new Byzantine style” is not fully convincing; see Hurst, “Italians and the New Byzantium.” The link with authentic Byzantine sacred centers and visual traditions was never lost throughout the early modern period. Muscovy preserved a living connection to Byzantium through the sacred arts clearly on display in the cathedrals of the Moscow Kremlin. Furthermore, the Muscovite tsars built their identity and defined their legitimacy using relics and sacred objects of Byzantine and early Russian origin.
The artistic identity of Pietro Antonio Solari and Anton (Onton) Fryazin has been well understood and amply discussed. It is relevant to mention here these publications: Piero Cazzola, “Pietro Antonio Solari architetto lombardo in Russia,” Arte Lombarda 14 (Milan: Alfieri, 1969): 45–52; “I ‘Mastri frjazy’ a Mosca sullo scorcio del quindicesimo secolo (dalle Croniche russe e da documenti di Archivi italiani),” Arte Lombarda 44–45 (Milan: Alfieri, 1976): 157–72; Lo Gatto, Gli artisti italiani in Russia; Shvidkovsky, Russian Architecture and the West, 91–97.
S.S. Pod’yapol’sky, “Moskovsky Kremlevsky dvorets v XVI veke po dannym pismennyh istochnikov,” in Drvenerusskoe iskusstvo: Russkoe iskusstvo pozdnego srednevekovia, XVI vek, ed. A.L. Batalov (St. Petersburg: Dmitry Bulanin, 2003), 99–119; also see D.E. Yakovlev, “Novie svedeniia o veikokniazheskom dvortse v Kremle kontsa XV Veka,” in Materiali Konferentsii “Brunovskie Chteniia,” ed. Moskovskii arkhitekturnii institut (MARKHI) (Moscow, 1998); Shvidkovsky, Russian Architecture and the West, 93–97; Leonid A. Beliaev et al., MoskovskaiaRus’: Problemy arkheologii i istorii arkhitektury (Moscow: Institut arkheologii RAN, 2008).
William C. Brumfield, A History of Russian Architecture (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 99.
For a detailed discussion on the use of brick and white stone on the cathedral’s façade, including a confirmation of its dual color scheme, see Petrov, “Arkhangelsky sobor i ego svyazi s pamyatnikami italianskoi arkhitektury,” footnote 52.
Sizov, “Khram Arkhangela Mikhaila na sobornoi ploshadi,” 31; Pod’yapol’sky, “Venetsianskie istoki architektury moskovskogo Archangelskogo sobora,” 254.
Modesti, Santa Maria dei Miracoli, 12; Pod’yapol’sky, “Venetsianskie istoki architektury moskovskogo Archangelskogo sobora,” 254.
There has not been a great deal of scholarly literature addressing the spatial organization and dynamics of the Archangel Michael Cathedral. To do so fully would require writing a book on the subject, and I concur with D.A. Petrov that such a project should be undertaken. For a brief discussion of this topic, see Petrov, “Arkhangelsky sobor i ego svyazi s pamyatnikami italianskoi arkhitektury,” 172.
Shvidkovsky, Russian Architecture and the West, 98.