Russian art and architecture: Early Christian Works

With the Christianization of Russia in the late 10th cent. the Russian church and its art became subject to Constantinople (see Byzantine art and architecture). Major artistic centers developed in Kiev, Novgorod, and Pskov. Although the early churches were made largely of wood (with strong Norse stylistic influences), stone was already in use in the Cathedral of St. Sophia (1018–37) in Kiev. A distinctive Russian style soon emerged, marked by steeply sloping roofs and high walls, a proliferation of domes, and later a compartmentalization of interior space into many aisles and apses. The typical onion-shaped dome made an early appearance (mid-12th cent.) in the rebuilding of the Cathedral of Sancta Sophia in Novgorod. In the 12th cent. the Vladimir-Suzdal region became an important cultural center. There the Western Romanesque was combined with Byzantine elements, as in the palace of Andrei Bogolyubsky.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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