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assumed the reins of government, found it necessary to restrain the practice by special enactments. The edifices thus raised at the expense of private individuals were probably, for the most part, small and unimportant; but the pre-eminent work of this reign was the extraordinary church or rather nest of churches still extant in the Kitai-Gorod at Moscow, which being dedicated to several different saints is described under various names, but is chiefly familiar to an English eye from the print in Dr. Clarke's first volume, where it is denominated the church of St. Basil. No description can give an adequate idea of this strange and fantastic building, in the design and execution of which the peculiarities of Russian architecture seemed to have reached their utmost limit of extravagance. Numerous bulbous cupolas, each differing from its neighbour in some detail of form or ornament, an oddly-shaped central spire, and the motley colours with which the whole exterior is painted, give to this extensive and irregular mass, a striking originality of character, which, though wild and barbarous, can never, we think, be conteniplated without feelings of interest and admiration. •Pious individuals,' says Dr. Clarke, 'bequeath legacies towards the perpetual gilding or painting of this or that dome according to their various fancies, so that it is likely to remain a splendid piece of patchwork for many generations. The date assigned to its construction by this ingenious traveller is 1538; but as it is said by the Russian historians to have been erected in honour of the capture of Casan, the era of its foundation must necessarily be placed at a period subsequent to that event, which took place in 1552. The interior is a cluster of small chapels and dark passages, and is totally unworthy of remark.
Ivan IV., though a ferocious tyrant, was much addicted to outward acts of piety and devotion; and 'whereas,' says an anony- . mous but apparently contemporary authority,* the Russes, in doing reverence and adoration unto God, do beat their foreheads against the ground, this Ivan Vasilovich, with performing the same ceremony, causeth his forehead to be full of boines and swellings, and sometimes to be black and blue, and very often to bleed. He is much delighted with building of churches, and spareth no cost for that purpose. How great may have been the cost of the church in question we have no where the means of ascertaining : but if we may give credit to the anecdote, first related, we believe, by Olearius, the architect paid dearer for his labours than the prince, who incontinently deprived the poor foreigner of his eyes, lest he should emulate this master-piece else
where. So grotesque and inconvenient a building, however, was not likely to provoke imitation. In fact, we find, from the evidence of existing monuments, that its influence produced but little effect on the subsequent fashions of Russian architecture; and the simpler form of Aristoteli's cathedral, with its square nave, four piers and five cupolas, continued during the 16th and part of the 17th centuries to be the model most usually adopted in the construction of all the more considerable churches.
Transepts, as appears from the instance at Daphne in Attica, were erected in Greece as early as the reign of Arcadius and Honorius; but since the Greek artists employed by the Russians seem to have proposed to themselves no other object of imitation but the single church of St. Sophia at Constantinople, it is not surprizing that they neglected to avail themselves of an invention which they did not find practised in that sumptuous fabric. In the course of the 17th century, however, a new arrangement began to obtain and soon produced a complete alteration of the plan which had hitherto been generally prevalent. The belfry belonging to the more ancient Russian churches, wherever such a building exists at all, is always insulated and often removed to such a distance from the nave as to appear a totally independent structure. It now became customary to place it invariably on the western side, and to connect it with the body of the church (to which its lower story afforded a species of vestibule) by a passage of moderate length. Thus, by means of this passage and vestibule to the west, and of the sanctuary which projected at the opposite extremity to the east, the ground-plan of the whole building was made to assume the shape of a cross, which was soon modified into a form little differing from that of our cathedrals. The connecting passage was enlarged, till it became the most considerable portion of the church: the ancient square nave acquired by this alteration the appearance of a transept, while the sanctuary alone was suffered to retain its former proportions, having never been sufficiently expanded to admit of a comparison with a Latin choir.* During the reign of Peter the Great, Russian church architecture was still further deprived of its original and national character, by the general adoption of the classical orders, which became fashionable at that period. The bulbous cupola likewise, though never altogether laid aside, began at the same time to fall into comparative disuse, and was replaced by an overgrown dome of the Italian form, which, being painted green, is, at present, the never-failing head-piece of every modern Rus
* Evidence of this change inay be traced in many of the smaller churches at Moscow, particularly in that near the Kunetskoy Most. VOL. XXVI. NO, LI. ·
sian church. An ancient but tasteless custom was injudiciously retained of degrading the exterior architecture by the application of bright and incongruous colours, which though sufficiently suited to the irregular and barbaric structures of the Muscovite Tsars, but ill accord with the classical elevations of so young a city as St. Petersburg.
With the reign of such an innoyator as Peter, our remarks on the antiquities of Russian sacred architecture may be brought to a timely conclusion; nor will it be necessary to detain the reader by many observations on the churches of the modern capital, few of which, either in point of style or of history, can be supposed to possess much interest in the eyes of a foreigner. That, indeed, which is dedicated to St. Isaac of Dalmatia, derives a claim to our notice from the unusual richness of its materials, having been constructed in great part of coloured marbles under the reign of Katherine II., but the architecture is heavy and poor, and the interior dark at noon-day. It was left unfinished at the death of the empress; and the slabs prepared for its completion, having been diverted by her unworthy successor to the decoration of his own new palace, the remainder of the church was most impotently concluded in brickwork-a circumstance which gave rise at the time to much interchange of severity between the wits and the autocrat of the north. .
The church of our Holy Mother of Casan is the most beautiful which has hitherto been seen in Russia, and is, moreover, the work of a Russian architect,--a serf, as we have been told, of the Strogonoff family. It would not be easy to devise a more graceful accessory than the semicircular colonnade, which gives to the facade of this cathedral the air of a miniature of St. Peter's; but even here, a difficulty in the situation has led to the adoption of an arrangement, which detracts materially from the effect of the general design. We cannot but regret that this noble approach, instead of conducting the worshipper to the great western entrance of the temple, whence the perspective of the whole interior night be opened at once to his view, should be contrived with such provoking infelicity, as to land him at the door of a transept! The church contains thirty-six Corinthian columns, each consisting of a single piece of red granite, four feet and a half in diameter. These were all furnished from quarries in the rocks of Finland, and constitute, perhaps, the most considerable work of the kind which has been executed since the decline of Rome. In other respects, however, there is little to admire in the interior; where the white-washed walls, though partially concealed by French standards taken in the campaigns of 1812–13, have in general a cold and unsatisfactory effect, when contrasted with the rich hues of the sombre but magnificent pillars. The last, indeed, is a defect which may be easily remedied with the progress of opulence and taste, and if others more essential must remain, the Russians will still have abundant reason to glory in the possession of this fine public building-a monument of the genius of their artists, enriched with the blameless trophies of their patriotic defenders, and by far the most successful addition which has been made, in our time, to the ecclesiastical architecture of Europe.
Art. III.- A Geographical and Commercial View of Northern · Central Africa; containing a particular Account of the Course
and Termination of the great River Niger in the Atlantic
Ocean. By James M‘Queen. Edinburgh. 1821. 2. Pupers relating to the Suppression of the Slave Trade. Printed
by order of the House of Commons. 1821. TN that part of the Gulph of Guinea, generally known by the
name of the Bight of Biafra, are situated four islands at equal distances from each other, extending in a straight line to the south-west; their names, beginning at the northernmost and nearest to the African coast, are Fernando Po, Prince's Island, St. Thomas's, and Annabon. The last three belong to Portugal, and are peopled by a sort of half-cast Portugueze and negroes; the first and largest is destitute of Europeans, and inhabited by a peculiar race, differing in manners, language and features not less from the other islanders, than from the negroes on the neighbouring continent. It was among the numerous discoveries made by the Portugueze towards the end of the fifteenth century;, and from its beautiful appearance, received, from Fernao do Po the discoverer, the name of ļlha de Formosa : this name, however, it soon lost, and, for the last three centuries, has been known only by that of Fernando Po. The Portugueze built a fort on this island, but for some reason or other shortly quitted it altogether; and, about the middle of last century, exchanged it with the Spaniards for the small island of Trinidad, situated about 500 miles from the coast of Brazil, opposite to the bay of Espirito Santo.
The new possessors attempted to form a settlement upon it, but very soon abandoned the design and the island together, alleging, as a reason, the ferocity of the natives. Since that period, so rare has been even the casual visit of any European vessel, that the present generation of islanders had never seen one till the Pheasant sloop of war made her appearance there : in the beginning of the present year; when Captain Kelly was visited by a man of colour, a native of Martinique, who called him
self Tom Dixon, but was certainly not a Frenchman. This man appeared to be about forty years of age, thirty of which he had passed upon the island. He hrad sailed from Philadelphia, as a boy, in the Mary, Captain Anderson, for the river Bonni, to trade for palm oil, and on the homeward voyage was wrecked on the iron bound coast of Fernando Po; of twelve seamen, five only were saved, and of these he was the sole survivor, the rest having died several years ago. His language was that of the natives, mixed with a few words of French and English. Captain Kelly offered to take him from the island, but this he declined, as he had two wives and a family of children, and lived happily among them. From this person Captain Kelly expected to obtain much information respecting the inhabitants and the state of the island, but he did not make his appearance a second time; being probably afraid lest he should be discovered and claimed as an Englishman; or perhaps prevented by the natives, from an impression that he, who was able to converse in some degree with the strangers, would get more than his share of knives and other articles, which were given in exchange for poultry, yams, and other species of provisions. · The appearance of the island is extremely beautiful: its length from north to south is about thirty miles, and its breadth about twenty. Two high peaked mountains, (one of them remarkably so,) the black sand on the beach, and the scoriæ and other substances which had evidently undergone the action of fire, denote it to be of volcanic origin. From the northern extremity the land rises, in a gradual slope, to a ridge of hills which connects the two peaked mountains, and the whole surface of the slope is covered with a forest of trees of the most luxuriant growth. Beyond this region of wood, the crest of the hills, and the sides of the mountains as far up as about one-third of their height, appeared to be generally in a state of cultivation : on the summits of these hills stand the towns and villages of the natives. The houses are of wicker work, all nearly of the same size and plan; they are built round an open area, and each is surrounded with a railed fence or enclosure, within which their cattle are shut up at night. The means of subsistence must be abundant, as the price of a sheep, or goat, was a common knife, of the value of three-pence; and a piece of iron hoop, a couple of inches in length, would purchase two or three of their finest fowls.
Captain Kelly describes the inhabitants as a fine race of people; they are, he says, of a middle stature, with limbs well formed, muscular and active; their countenances very peculiar, the general contour of the face being that of a square with the