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Encyclopedia > Onion dome
Detail of onion domes on Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow
Detail of onion domes on Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow

An onion dome (Russian: луковичная глава, lúkovichnaya glava) is a type of architectural dome usually associated with Russian Orthodox churches. Such a dome is larger in diameter than the drum it is set upon and its height usually exceeds its width. These bulbous structures taper smoothly to a point, and strongly resemble the onion, after which they are named. Download high resolution version (500x666, 118 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Download high resolution version (500x666, 118 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... á¹¢ St. ... For other uses, see Moscow (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Dome (disambiguation). ... The Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (Russian: ), also known as the Orthodox Christian Church of Russia, is a body of Christians who are united under the Patriarch of Moscow, who in turn is in communion with the other patriarchs and primates of the Eastern Orthodox Church. ... Saint Basils Cathedral in Moscow is one of the most famous Orthodox churches An Orthodox church as a church building of the Eastern Orthodoxy has a distinct, recognizable style among church architectures. ... For other uses, see Onion (disambiguation). ...


Other important types of Orthodox cupolas are antique helmet domes (for example, those of the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod and Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir), Ukrainian pear domes (Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev), and Baroque bud domes (St. Andrew's Church in Kiev). The Cathedral of St Sophia in Novgorod is the oldest preserved church in Russia. ... View of the cathedral in 1912. ... Much of the original Byzantine interior remains intact. ... Baroque architecture, starting in the early 17th century in Italy, took the humanist Roman vocabulary of Renaissance architecture and used it in a new rhetorical, theatrical, sculptural fashion, expressing the triumph of absolutist church and state. ... The church of St Andrew in Kiev (1749-54) The baroque St Andrews Church (Ukrainian: ) or the Cathedral of St Andrew was built in Kiev in 1747–1754, to a design by the imperial architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli. ... Map of Ukraine with Kiev highlighted Coordinates: , Country Ukraine Oblast Kiev City Municipality Raion Municipality Government  - Mayor Leonid Chernovetskyi Elevation 179 m (587 ft) Population (2006)  - City 4,450,968  - Density 3,299/km² (8,544. ...

Contents

History

Art historians disagree when and why onion domes became a typical feature of Russian architecture. Byzantine churches and architecture of Kievan Rus were characterized by broader, flatter domes without a special framework erected above the drum. In contrast to this ancient form, each drum of a Russian church is surmounted by a special structure of metal or timber, which is lined with sheet iron or tiles. Saint Basils Cathedral (1555-61) is a showcase of medieval Russian architecture. ... The Palatine Chapel of the Norman Kings of Sicily. ... The medieval state of Kievan Rus incorporated parts of what is now Belarus, Russia and Ukraine and was centered around Kiev and Novgorod. ...


By the end of the nineteenth century, most Russian churches from before the Petrine period had bulbous domes. The largest onion domes were erected in the seventeenth century in the area around Yaroslavl, incidentally famous for its large onions. Quite a few had more complicated bud-shaped domes, whose form derived from Baroque models of the late seventeenth century. Pear-shaped domes are usually associated with Ukrainian Baroque, while cone-shaped domes are typical for Orthodox churches of Transcaucasia. Kikin Hall (1714), an example of private residence dating from Peter Is reign. ... Yaroslavl (Russian: ) is a city in Russia, the administrative center of Yaroslavl Oblast, located 250 km north-east of Moscow at . ... The Vydubychi Monastery in Kiev is an example of Ukrainian Baroque architecture. ... Transcaucasia is the name given to a region south of the Caucasus Mountains that covers Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. ...


Traditional view

Onion domes of the Resurrection Church, Kostroma (1652)
Onion domes of the Resurrection Church, Kostroma (1652)

The earliest academic researchers of Russian architecture pointed out that Russian icons painted before the Mongol invasion of Rus do not feature churches with onion domes. Furthermore, two highly venerated pre-Mongol churches that have never been rebuilt—the Assumption Cathedral and the Cathedral of St. Demetrius in Vladimir—uniquely display golden helmet domes. Restoration works on several other ancient churches revealed some fragments of former helmet-like domes below newer onion cupolas. Image File history File links Kostroma-resurrection. ... Image File history File links Kostroma-resurrection. ... This article is about building architecture. ... The Mongol Invasion of Rus was heralded by the Battle of the Kalka River (1223) between Subutais reconnaissance unit and the combined force of several princes of Rus. After fifteen years of peace, it was followed by Batu Khans full-scale invasion in 1237-40. ... View of the cathedral in 1912. ... Population 315,954 (2002) Time zone Moscow (MSK/MSD), UTC +0300 (MSK)/+0400 (MSD) Latitude/Longitude Vladimir (Russian: ) is an old city in Russia. ...


Based on these findings, it was concluded that ancient Russian churches were helmet-shaped while onion domes had been introduced considerably later. It was posited that onion domes first appeared during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. Indeed, the bulbous, wildly coloured domes of Saint Basil's Cathedral have not been altered since the reign of Ivan's son Fyodor I, clearly indicating that onion domes did exist in sixteenth-century Russia. Ivan IV (August 25, 1530–March 18, 1584) was the first ruler of Russia to assume the title of tsar. ... á¹¢ St. ... Feodor presents a golden chain to Boris Godunov. ...


Some scholars postulated that onion domes were borrowed by Russians from Muslim countries, probably from the Khanate of Kazan, whose conquest Ivan the Terrible commemorated by erecting St. Basil's Cathedral.[1] Others argued that onion domes first appeared in Russian wooden architecture, above tent-like churches. According to this theory, onion domes were strictly utilitarian, as they prevented snow from piling on the roof.[2] Map of Kazan Khanate, early 1500s The Kazan Khanate (Tatar: Qazan xanlığı; Russian: Казанское ханство) (1438-1552) was a Tatar state on the territory of former Volga Bulgaria with its capital in Kazan. ... The rocket-like church at Ostrov near Moscow is considered typical for Boris Godunovs reign. ... For automobile roofs, see Sunroof. ...


This theory became firmly entrenched in Soviet architectural theory. Based on the notion that onion domes did not exist in Russia before the mid-sixteenth century, restoration works on churches built before the seventeenth century have routinely involved replacement of onion domes with "more authentic" helmet-shaped domes. One example of such restoration is the Dormition Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin. Cathedral of the Dormition, Moscow, in winter The Cathedral of the Dormition or Cathedral of the Assumption (in Russian, Uspensky Sobor (Успенский Собор)) is the name of several cathedrals in the world. ... The Moscow Kremlin (Russian: Московский Кремль) is a historic fortified complex at the very heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River (to the south), Saint Basils Cathedral (often mistaken as the Kremlin) and Red Square (to the east) and the Alexander Garden (to the west). ...


Alternative view

Wooden churches in Kizhi and Vytegra have as many as twenty-five onion domes
Wooden churches in Kizhi and Vytegra have as many as twenty-five onion domes

In 1946, the historian Boris Rybakov, while analysing miniatures of ancient Russian chronicles, pointed out that most of them, from the thirteenth century onward, display churches with onion domes rather than helmet domes.[3] Nikolay Voronin, the foremost authority on pre-Mongol Russian architecture, seconded his opinion that onion domes existed in Russia as early as the thirteenth century, although they presumably could not be widespread.[4] These findings demonstrated that Russian onion domes could not be imported from the Orient, where onion domes did not replace spherical domes until the fifteenth century. Image File history File links 24-domed Intercession church on the Vytegra River was built in wood in 1708 and burnt down to the ground by accident in 1963. ... Image File history File links 24-domed Intercession church on the Vytegra River was built in wood in 1708 and burnt down to the ground by accident in 1963. ... Wooden miracle in Kizhi. ... Boris Alexandrovich Rybakov (1908-2001) was an orthodox Soviet historian who personified the anti-Normanist vision of Russian history. ... The word miniature, derived from the Latin minium, red lead, is a picture in an ancient or medieval manuscript; the simple decoration of the early codices having been miniated or delineated with that pigment. ...


Sergey Zagraevsky, a modern art historian, surveyed hundreds of Russian icons and miniatures, from the eleventh century onward. He concluded that most icons painted after the Mongol invasion of Rus display only onion domes. First onion domes displayed on some pictures of twelfth century (two miniatures from Dobrylov Evangelie). [5] He found only one icon from the late fifteenth century displaying a dome resembling the helmet instead of an onion. His findings led him to dismiss fragments of helmet domes discovered by restorators beneath modern onion domes as post-Petrine stylisations intended to reproduce the familiar forms of Byzantine cupolas. Zagraevsky also indicated that the oldest depictions of the two Vladimir cathedrals represent them as having onion domes, prior to their replacement by classicizing helmet domes. This article is about the religious artifacts. ...


Zagraevsky explains the ubiquitous appearance of onion domes in the late thirteenth century by the general emphasis on verticality characteristic of Russian architecture from the late twelfth to early fifteenth centuries.[6] At that period, porches, pilasters, vaults and drums were arranged to create a vertical thrust, to make the church seem taller than it was.[7] It seems logical that elongated, or onion, domes were part of the same proto-Gothic trend aimed at achieving pyramidal, vertical emphasis.[8]


Some examples of onion domes displayed in Russian and Ukrainian medieval icons and miniatures from XII - XIV centuries:

Symbolism

Ivan the Great Bell Tower in the Moscow Kremlin (sixteenth century)
Ivan the Great Bell Tower in the Moscow Kremlin (sixteenth century)

Prior to the eighteenth century, the Russian Orthodox Church did not assign any particular symbolism to the exterior shape of a church.[9] Nevertheless, onion domes are popularly believed to symbolise burning candles. In 1917, noted religious philosopher Prince Yevgeny Trubetskoy argued that the onion shape of Russian church domes may not be explained rationally. According to Trubetskoy, drums crowned by tapering domes were deliberately scored to resemble candles, thus manifesting a certain aesthetic and religious attitude.[10] Another explanation has it that the onion dome was originally regarded as a form reminiscent of the edicula (cubiculum) in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.[11] Image File history File links Download high resolution version (480x640, 105 KB) Ivan the Great Bell Tower, The Kremlin, Moscow, Russia. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (480x640, 105 KB) Ivan the Great Bell Tower, The Kremlin, Moscow, Russia. ... Ivan the Great Bell Tower, with Assumption Belfry on the left The Ivan the Great Bell Tower is the tallest bell tower of the Kremlin in Moscow, with a total height of 81 meters (266 feet). ... The Moscow Kremlin (Russian: Московский Кремль) is a historic fortified complex at the very heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River (to the south), Saint Basils Cathedral (often mistaken as the Kremlin) and Red Square (to the east) and the Alexander Garden (to the west). ... An ædicule (little building) is a common framing device in both Classical architecture and Gothic architecture. ... This article is about the church building in Jerusalem. ... For other uses, see Jerusalem (disambiguation). ...


Onion domes often appear in groups of three, representing the Holy Trinity, or five, representing Jesus Christ and the Four Evangelists. Domes standing alone represent Jesus. Vasily Tatischev, the first to record such interpretation, disapproved of it emphatically. He believed that the five-domed design of churches was propagated by Patriarch Nikon, who liked to compare the central and highest dome with himself and four lateral domes with four other patriarchs of the Orthodox world. There is no other evidence that Nikon ever held such a view. The symbols of the four Evangelists are here depicted in the Book of Kells The Four Evangelists are the four followers of Jesus to whom are ascribed the writings forming the four Gospels of the New Testament: the Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. ... Vasily Nikitich Tatishchev (1686-1750) was a prominent Russian statesman, historian and ethnographer. ... Nikon (Russian: Ни́кон, Old Russian: Нїконъ), born Nikita Minin (Никита Минин; May 7, 1605 Valmanovo, Russia—August 17, 1681), was the seventh patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. ... See Patriarchs (Bible) for details about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob of the Book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible. ...


The domes are often brightly painted: their colours may informally symbolise different aspects of religion. Green, blue, and gold domes are sometimes held to represent the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus, respectively. Black ball-shaped domes were once popular in the snowy north of Russia. This article concerns the holy Trinity of Christianity. ... This article is about Jesus of Nazareth. ...


Outside Russia

Saint Leonard's Church in Mittersill, Austria
Saint Leonard's Church in Mittersill, Austria
St Mary (Ramersdorf), Germany
St Mary (Ramersdorf), Germany

The onion dome is not only found in Russian Architecture: it was also used extensively in Mughal architecture, which later went on to influence Indo-Gothic architecture. Outside of India, it is also used in Iran and other places in the Middle East and Central Asia. Leonard of Noblac or Leonard of Limoges ( - 559) was a Frankish noble in the court of Clovis I. He was converted to Christianity along with the king, by Saint Remigius (Saint Rémy), Bishop of Reims. ... Mittersill is a market town in the federal state of Salzburg, Austria, in the Pinzgau region. ... Saint Basils Cathedral (1555-61) is a showcase of medieval Russian architecture. ... Mughal architecture is the distinctive style of Islamic, Persian and Indian architecture, developed by the Mughal Empire in India in the 16th century. ... Government Museum in Chennai. ... The Baháí House of Worship by Fariborz Sahba, also known as the Lotus Temple. ... The interior of the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne. ... Map of Central Asia showing three sets of possible boundaries for the region Central Asia located as a region of the world Central Asia is a vast landlocked region of Asia. ...


Baroque domes in the shape of an onion (or other vegetables or flower-buds) were common in the Holy Roman Empire as well. The first one was built in 1576 by the architect Hans Holl (1512-1594) on the church of Saint Mary Star Abbey in Augsburg. Usually made of copper sheet, onion domes appear on Catholic churches all over southern Germany, Austria and Northeast Italy. Baroque architecture, starting in the early 17th century in Italy, took the humanist Roman vocabulary of Renaissance architecture and used it in a new rhetorical, theatrical, sculptural fashion, expressing the triumph of absolutist church and state. ... This article is about the medieval empire. ... Events May 5 - Peace of Beaulieu or Peace of Monsieur (after Monsieur, the Duc dAnjou, brother of the King, who negotiated it). ... For other uses, see Architect (disambiguation). ... For other meanings for Augsburg: See Augsburg (disambiguation) , Augsburg is a city in south-central Germany. ... For other uses, see Copper (disambiguation). ...


Notes and references

Green domes of the Fyodorovskaya Church in Yaroslavl (1687)—the height of the main drum and dome exceeds the height of the main cube of the church
Green domes of the Fyodorovskaya Church in Yaroslavl (1687)—the height of the main drum and dome exceeds the height of the main cube of the church
  1. ^ Compare the iconic domes of the Taj Mahal built in 1630. In the Oriental context, onion domes are occasionally described as Persian domes.
  2. ^ A.П.Новицкий. Луковичная форма глав русских церквей. В кн.: Московское археологическое общество. Труды комиссии по сохранению древних памятников. Т. III. Moscow, 1909.
  3. ^ Б.А.Рыбаков. «Окна в исчезнувший мир (по поводу книги А.В.Арциховского «Древнерусские миниатюры как исторический источник»). В кн.: Доклады и сообщения историч. факультета МГУ. Вып. IV. М., 1946. С. 50.
  4. ^ Н.Н.Воронин. Архитектурный памятник как исторический источник (заметки к постановке вопроса). В кн.: Советская археология. Вып. XIX. М., 1954. С. 73.
  5. ^ See photographs on his website.
  6. ^ Г.К.Вагнер. О своеобразии стилеобразования в архитектуре Древней Руси (возвращение к проблеме). В кн.: Архитектурное наследство. Вып. 38. М., 1995. С. 25.
  7. ^ See, for instance, the most authoritative survey of early Russian architecture: П.А.Раппопорт. Древнерусская архитектура. СПб, 1993.
  8. ^ Another important consideration proposed by Zagraevsky links the onion-shaped form of Russian domes with the weight of traditional Russian crosses, which are much larger and more elaborate than those used in Byzantium and Kievan Rus. Such ponderous crosses would have fallen aground during a storm, if they had not been fixed to sizeable stones traditionally placed inside the elongated domes of Russian churches. It is impossible to place such a stone inside the flat dome of the Byzantine type.
  9. ^ Бусева-Давыдова И.Л. Символика архитектуры по древнерусским письменным источникам XI-XVII вв. // Герменевтика древнерусской литературы. XVI - начало XVIII вв. Moscow, 1989.
  10. ^ "The Byzantine cupola above the church represents the vault of heaven above the earth. On the other hand, the Gothic spire expresses unbridled vertical thrust, which rises huge masses of stone to the sky. In contrast to these, our native onion dome may be likened to a tongue of fire, crowned by a cross and tapering towards a cross. When we look at the Ivan the Great Bell Tower, we seem to see a gigantic candle burning above Moscow. The Kremlin cathedrals and churches, with their multiple domes, look like huge chandeliers. The onion shape results from the idea of prayer as a soul burning towards heaven, which connects the earthly world with the treasures of the afterlife. Every attempt to explain the onion shape of our church domes by utilitarian considerations (for instance, the need to preclude snow from piling on the roof) fails to account for the most essential point, that of aesthetic significance of onion domes for our religion. Indeed, there are numerous other ways to achieve the same utilitarian result, e.g., spires, steeples, cones. Why, of all these shapes, ancient Russian architecture settled upon the onion dome? Because the aesthetic impression produced by the onion dome matched a certain religious attitude. The meaning of this religious and aesthetic feeling is finely expressed by a folk saying - "glowing with fervour" - when they speak about church domes". - See Е.Н.Трубецкой. Три очерка о русской иконе. 1917. Новосибирск, 1991. С. 10.
  11. ^ Лидов А.М. Иерусалимский кувуклий. О происхождении луковичных глав. // Иконография архитектуры. Moscow, 1990.

Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (480x640, 78 KB) Church of Intercession upon Nerl (1165), Bogolyubovo, Russia. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (480x640, 78 KB) Church of Intercession upon Nerl (1165), Bogolyubovo, Russia. ... Diminutive church dominating the area by virtue of its siting and proportions. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 437 × 599 pixel Image in higher resolution (493 × 676 pixel, file size: 245 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Fyodorovskaya Church in Yaroslavl (1682-87). ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 437 × 599 pixel Image in higher resolution (493 × 676 pixel, file size: 245 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Fyodorovskaya Church in Yaroslavl (1682-87). ... A 1703 copy of the original icon. ... Yaroslavl (Russian: ) is a city in Russia, the administrative center of Yaroslavl Oblast, located 250 km north-east of Moscow at . ... For other uses, see Taj Mahal (disambiguation). ... Events February 22 - Native American Quadequine introduces Popcorn to English colonists. ... Anthem SorÅ«d-e MellÄ«-e Īrān Â² Capital (and largest city) Tehran Official languages Persian Demonym Iranian Government Islamic Republic  -  Supreme Leader  -  President Unification  -  Unified by Cyrus the Great 559 BCE   -  Parthian (Arsacid) dynastic empire (first reunification) 248 BCE-224 CE   -  Sassanid dynastic empire 224–651 CE   -  Safavid dynasty... Ivan the Great Bell Tower, with Assumption Belfry on the left The Ivan the Great Bell Tower is the tallest bell tower of the Kremlin in Moscow, with a total height of 81 meters (266 feet). ...

External links

  • Wikimedia Commons logo Media related to Onion domes from the Wikimedia Commons.
  • Some onion dome pictures
Image File history File links Commons-logo. ...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Onion dome - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (308 words)
The inner surface of the onion domes are often vividly painted with frescoes and murals.
Onion domes often appear in groups of three or five, representing the Holy Trinity or Jesus and the Four Evangelists, respectively.
The domes reflect the influence of earlier Byzantine architecture, evolving from the broader, flatter domes of the helmet-like style to a form particularly suitable for northern climes and preventing snow from piling on the roof.
Dome - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1328 words)
A dome is a common structural element of architecture that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere.
Domes do not have to be perfectly spherical in cross-section, however; a dome may be a section through an ellipse.
Domes that have been disproportionately influential in later architecture are those of the Great Stupa in Sanchi (actually, a solid mound with stone facing), the Pantheon in Rome, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

COMMENTARY     

s. simon
15th May 2010
There is a name for onion domes that possibly begins with "P". No one seems to know it that is eastern rite.

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