The stiffened music of the Russian temples

The graceful white-stone temple stands at the river Nerly flood plain above a mirror of smooth waters as though admires by its water reflection. This small, retiring on architectural composition church of Pokrov on Nerly (1165) is considered as the perfect creation of the Russian architects.

The acquaintance with Nerly's temple creates an image of harmony, architectural beauty. And there is a question involuntarily: what "secrets" the Russian architects creating this temple eight centuries back possess?

Studying the architecture of Nerly's church the Russian architect Shevelev came to conclusion that in this architectural masterpiece there is the proportion represented the ratio of the lager side to the diagonal of the "two-adjacent square", which is the rectangle with the side ratio: 1:2. Thus, in the basis of interconnected proportions of this architectural facility the proportions of the "two-adjacent" square and its derivative, the golden proportion, are put. The availability of these proportions determined a beauty of the temple.

It is difficult to find the person who did not know and did not see the cathedral of Basil Blessed on the Red Square in Moscow. The history of creation of this temple is the following. October 2, 1552 is the day of the Tatar capital downfall; this historical event saved Russia forever from the Tatar invasion. For glorifying of the "Kazan taking" compared in the Russia history with Kulikovskoy battle the tsar Ivan Grozny decided to erect the Pokrov cathedral at the Red Square in Moscow; later this temple was nicknamed by the people as the "Basil Blessed" temple in honor of the God's fool who was buried near the temple walls in the 16th century.

For composition of the cathedral construction the harmonic combination of symmetrical and asymmetrical proportions is characteristic. The temple, symmetrical in its basis, contains many geometrical "irregularities". So, the central volume of the large tent is shifted on 3 m to the West from the geometrical center of all composition. However "inaccuracies" make the composition more picturesque, "alive" and it benefits in the whole. For architectural furniture of the cathedral there is characteristic rising the decorative forms upward; the forms grow one from other, stretch up, forming the groups consisting of more small-sized decorative parts.

Harmonic analysis of the Basil Blessed temple
Harmonic analysis of the Basil Blessed temple.

Pursuant to this composition idea the proportions of the cathedral are constructed also. The researchers have found out in it the proportions based on the golden section series:

where j = 0.618. In this partitioning there consists of the main architectural cathedral idea unified for all cupolas and integrating them in one proportional composition.

By consideration of the Basil Blessed temple there is a question involuntarily: incidentally whether that the number of cupolas (around of the central cathedral) is equal to 8? Whether there were any canons determining number of cupolas in a temple? Apparently, existed. The elementary orthodox cathedrals of the early period were one-cupolas. After reform of the patriarch Nikon in the middle of the 17th century it was forbidden to built the one-cupolas churches as mismatching to the five-cupolas grade of the Orthodox Church.

Apart from one and two-cupolas orthodox churches many of them had 5 and 8 cupolas. However Novgorod Sofia cathedral (10th century) had 13 cupolas and Preobrajenskaja church in Kigi cut down from a wood 2,5 centuries back, had 21 cupolas. Whether such growth of the cupolas number "by Fibonacci" (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21) is accidental?

Preobrajenskaja church in Kigi
Preobrajenskaja church in Kigi.

The expression "the architecture is the stiffened music" became pithy saying. It does not grow out from the stringent scientific analysis, it most likely the total of figurative, intuitive sensation of a certain connection of the harmonic architectural form with musical harmony. The musical melody is based on alternation of sounds of a different altitude and duration; the essence of the music melody consists of temporary ordering the sounds. The spatial ordering of the forms underlies in the basis of the architectural composition. It seemed anything common douse not exist between them. But to evaluate the sizes of the space construction of the geometrical figure, we should follow by a view from the beginning up to the end of this figure, and the more its length the longer its perception. Apparently, it follows from here a fundamental connection of the spatial and temporary perception of objects by the person.