‘In a lecture for Pushkin House, historian and specialist in Moscow history Sergei Nikitin will demystify this architectural masterpiece and symbol of Russia, built in 1561 by Ivan the Terrible. He will ask – where do the brightly coloured, eastern forms of St Basil’s Cathedral come from, built in the middle of what was once a great Russian plain? What is the significance of the symbolism inside, and outside the cathedral, and how did this crazy fantasy come to be built right at the heart of the country.
This great riddle of Russian architecture still troubles historians, who ask what is behind the eclectic architecture where Italian Renaissance, Gothic and Tudor styles meet. To whose authorship is the cathedral assigned, and is there a forerunner? What do the mutli-faceted turrets and cupolas mean, now considered typical of a Russian cathedral? Nikitin, who has been working on this topic for 15 years, will tackles all these questions. He says: ‘Ivan the Terrible and Metropolitan Makary performed a revolution by constructing a vision of the Apocalypse on Red Square in the form of a church, the like of which had never been seen before in the Russian capital.’ (PH)