- Project Runeberg -  Impressions of Russia /
161

(1889) [MARC] Author: Georg Brandes Translator: Samuel Coffin Eastman - Tema: Russia
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answered to their sense of beauty. At the same epoch
that the unity of the empire was worked out, their
artistic production took on a homogeneous stamp.

They gave to their church edifices, which were symbolical
of the Russian national characteristics, as much
splendor as possible. They were intended to attract
attention by their size and by the striking outline of
the highest parts. They connected a crown of cupolas
around a central cupola, gave them the form of a tower,
and crowned them with a skilfully worked-out bulb of
gilded or colored metal, which ended in a cross furnished
and united by chains. They gave to the outer walls,
which were covered with tiles, enamelled faïence and
paintings, the character of a radiant, cheerful carpet.
The predominant colors are red, white, and green, which
last color is even specially adapted to the bulb-shaped
metal top.[1]

And the Tatar rule was scarcely shaken off before
the Muscovites disclosed the greatest talent as artistic
armorers, as masters of chasing gold and silver and
working in niello; and they supplied all the neighboring
countries with embroidered linen and artistically
manufactured leather. Their embroidery is distinguished,
like the vignettes on their old manuscripts, by the
harmonious combination of colors. They have, upon the
whole, a keener sense of the harmony of colors than for
plastic beauty. Since the law for them as painters is
not inventive power but fidelity, they sought to atone for
the Byzantine stiffness of their figures and the
lifelessness of their paintings by surrounding them with gold,
precious stones, and pearls, and thus change the images
to a kind of gorgeous decoration. And since they did
not dare to make any change, and as no kind of


[1] Viollet-le-Duc: L’Art Russe, p. 108.

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