fifteenth-century nun from the Novgorodian nobility, Mariia Odoevskaia, record that she was especially valued by the abbess for her writing skills, copying 'books and chronicles'.46 Wealthy women also, like men, commissioned the construction and decoration of churches,47 and lay patronage supported the revival of masonry church construction, first in Novgorod where in the mid-fourteenth century boyars and wealthy merchants were frequent patrons.48
Church architecture is an indicative and important aspect of pious culture during this period, and the plain, monumental style of early Novgorod building gives way to a more variegated manner. The most interesting innovations, such as kokoshniki, decorative tiers of gables named after peasant women's headdresses, and the strange 'tent' churches that appear from the i53os, are associated with Moscow. A conscious seeking of inspiration in the pre-Tatar past is observable in the fifteenth century: major restoration work was carried out on old buildings, and when Ivan III commissioned an Italian to build a suitably grand cathedral for the Moscow Kremlin, he ordered him to study early Russian architecture. By the end of the century, the Moscow Kremlin had been refashioned as a huge fortress, symbolic of Moscow's increased significance as the political centre of Russia.49
Of all the architectural landmarks that arose in this period, perhaps the most dramatic is the massive, astonishing edifice built to commemorate the capture of Kazan in i552. St Basil's, as it is now known, consists of nine individual chapels grouped around a great spire. Several of the chapels are dedicated to feast days marking events in the siege of Kazan, and the central church to the Pokrov or 'Protecting Veil of the Mother of God'. One chapel is dedicated to the Trinity, symbolising national reconciliation, and another to the Entry into Jerusalem. The whole ensemble was often referred to as 'the Jerusalem', and there is clear evidence that it was perceived as an icon of the Holy City.5° The characteristic Russian 'onion domes', although represented much earlier in manuscript illustrations and siony (miniature replicas of the Jerusalem Church
46 S. Bolshakoff,Russian mystics [Cistercian Studies Series 26] (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, i98o), 45.
47 N. Pushkareva, Women in Russian history from the tenth to the twentieth century, trans. and ed. Eve Levin (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, i997), esp. 22-3.
48 D. B. Miller, 'Monumental building as an indicator ofeconomic trends in northern Rus' in the late Kievan and Mongol periods, ii38-i462', American Historical Review 94 (i989), 36o-9o, esp. 383-5.
49 See R. Milner-Gulland, 'Art and architecture ofOld Russia, 988-i7oo', in An introduction to Russian art and architecture, ed. R. Auty and D. Obolensky (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, i98o), 28-56.
50 R. Milner-Gulland, TheRussians (Oxford: Blackwell, i997), 2i2-i8. See below, pp. 299-3oo.
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