Images like these take your breath away… the camera ran hot today
The 3 images above and the ones below are taken in St Isaac's
The images in these Cathedrals are mostly mosaic. They take 1 year to create 1 yard square of picture.
I took dozens of photos of the portraits. It gives a wonderful indication of the method of graduated shading for my portrait classes.
St. Isaac's was commissioned in 1818 by Tsar Alexander I to celebrate the victory over Napoleon, and the French architect Auguste de Montferrand was the designer. St. Isaac's took 40 years to build, and Montferrand died the year it opened. It sits on a marshy bank of the Neva River, and thousands of huge wooden pilings were sunk into the mud to support the church. The exterior of St. Isaac's is of Renaissance and Baroque design, and the interior is spectacular because of the mosaics and many precious stones and minerals used. The golden dome is covered with 220 pounds of gold. During the Soviet era, the Orthodox Church was closed to worshipers and became a museum of atheism. Fortunately, many of the wonderful 19th century works of art were retained and decorate today's St. Isaac's.
The mosaic was collected as follows: a concrete plate with a metal frame edge was covered with plaster, and the outlines of the artwork were copied onto it with use of tracing paper. Chopping off plaster in pieces, craftsmen replaced it with smalt, selecting a fitting color and shape to render the original artwork, and attaching it by means of a special mastic. Slices of smalt were closely adjusted to each other, then the mosaic was turned over, cleared of mastic and filled in with a cement solution. The obverse surface of the picture was ground, polished, and seams between smalt pieces were toned by color wax. In 1862 on the World’s fair in London mosaics of St. Isaac’s Cathedral were very highly appraised. The experts noted that Russian manufacturing of smalt is “so perfect, as nowhere in Europe.”
The majority of mosaics in St. Isaac’s Cathedral is done with a perfect technique.
It was fascinating to see these wonderful Cathedrals… it wasn't all we did today but just a small portion of the events….