St. Basil’s Cathedral
As legend has it, the builders of St. Basil’s Cathedral were blinded by the command of Ivan the Terrible, so they could never create a building greater. There is still the question if St. Basil’s is actually the most beautiful cathedral made in its time. Comparing it to the beautiful Pisa Cathedral and Assumption Cathedral, which were made around the same time, one could find it hard to decide which is the most artistic. Looking at the materials, art, and icons of cathedrals are ways to gauge how beautiful the building is. St. Basil’s Cathedral was the most beautiful cathedral made in its time.
Some words that would be helpful to know as these churches are being described, which will be quoted from dictionary.com, are apse, basilica, nave, and loggia. An apse is “a semicircular or polygonal termination or recess in a building, usually vaulted and used especially at the end of a choir in a church.” A basilica is “an early Christian or medieval church type built especially in Italy, characterized by a plan including a nave, two or four side aisles, a semicircular apse, and often other features.” A nave is the principal longitudinal area of a church, extending from the main entrance to the pillars, usually flanked by aisles of less height and generally used only by the congregation. A loggia is a gallery on at least one side of a cathedral.
In 1063, A.D. an Italian architect laid a stone on green grass fields in Pisa, Italy. That first stone would be the building block of the famous Pisa Cathedral, also known as Knudsen 2
the Cathedral of St. Mary the Virgin, which is still standing today. Construction started in 1063 and was finished in 1350. “Begun by the renowned architect Buscheto in 1064 on the foundations of an earlier Longobord church, and consecrated by Pope Gelasius II in 1118, it did in fact become the largest romanesque church in Tuscany” (Ciaga 38). “A second master builder, Rainaldus, is named in another inscription on the facade, for which, the text indicates, he was responsible” (Schutz 340).
Pisa Cathedral is a 41,447.52 sq. ft. Romanesque-Gothic cathedral in Pisa, Italy. According to Buscheto’s original plan, the cathedral was actually supposed to be shorter, but Rainaldus gave the nave its final length by increasing the aisles westward by three galleries. The cathedral originally had nineteen arches extended from from four stories of arcades, but due to decomposition there are only eight left. The cathedral includes the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the walled cemetery, or Camposanto, on the north side and the baptistery on the west. The cathedral boundaries is named the Campo dei miracoli or the Court of Miracles.
It is made out of white stone on the outside and on the inside it is covered with many mosaics and frescoes. On the outside of the cathedral there is a Gothic-style tabernacle. Many of the mosaics on the inner walls of the cathedral depict the stories of the genesis. The door in the east portal of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which is the cathedral’s bell tower, is carved with scenes from the New Testament and Prophets. The
door of the cathedrals west portal depict scenes from the lives of the Virgin Mary and Christ.
In 1326, Ivan I was persuaded by Metropolitan Peter, who was a bishop with authority over bishops of provinces, to make a cathedral dedicated to the Holy Virgin in Moscow. Construction began on the cathedral called Assumption Cathedral on August 4, 1326, and in the following year Moscow became the capital of Russia. In 1472 it started to decay and was rebuilt by two Pskov architects, Kryvtsov and Myshkin. After two years of construction and nearing its completion, it suddenly collapsed because of an earthquake, an extremely rare event in Moscow. A new Italian architect and engineer, named Aristotle Fioravanti, was entrusted with the task of building the cathedral from scratch. In 1472 the foundation for the new...
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