Naryshkin Baroque

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The Assumption church in Pokrovka Street, Moscow (1696-99)

Naryshkin Baroque, also called Moscow Baroque, or Muscovite Baroque, is the name given to a particular style of Baroque architecture and decoration which was fashionable in Moscow from the turn of the 17th into the early 18th centuries.


Naryshkin baroque is essentially a fusion of traditional Russian architecture with baroque elements imported from Central Europe. It is in contrast to the more radical approach of Petrine baroque, exemplified by Cathedral of Ss. Peter and Paul in St. Petersburg and the Menshikov tower in Moscow.[1]


The first baroque churches were built on the estates of the Naryshkin family of Moscow boyars. It was the family of Natalia Naryshkina, Peter the Great's mother. Most notable in this category of small suburban churches were the Intercession in Fili (1693–96), the Sign in Dubrovitsy (1690–97), and the Saviour in Ubory (1694–97). They were built in red brick with profuse detailed decoration in white stone. The belfry was not any more placed beside the church as was common in the 17th century, but on the facade itself, usually surmounting the octagonal central church and producing daring vertical compositions.

As the style gradually spread around Russia, many monasteries were remodeled after the latest fashion. The most delightful of these were the Novodevichy Convent and the Donskoy Monastery in Moscow, as well as Krutitsy metochion and Solotcha Cloister near Riazan. Civic architecture also sought to conform to the baroque aesthetics, e.g., the Sukharev Tower in Moscow and there is also a neo-form of this style like the Principal Medicine Store on Red Square. The most important architects associated with the Naryshkin Baroque were Yakov Bukhvostov and Peter Potapov.[2]

In the 1730s, the Moscow Baroque style gave way to the Rastrelliesque, or Elizabethan Baroque.

Further reading[edit]

  • William Craft Brumfield. A History of Russian Architecture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993) ISBN 978-0-521-40333-7 (Chapter Seven: "The Seventeenth Century: From Ornamentalism to the New Age")

See also[edit]


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