Frescoes

St George’s Cathedral, Novgorod.

A bit of news: hundreds of thousands of fragments of frescoes from the beginning of the 12th century have been found in Great Novgorod. These are the remains from the St George cathedral of the St Uriah monastery before its reconstruction in the 19th century. It’s a unique discovery, and despite the large volume of the fragments they still barely cover 10% of the original area covered by frescoes in the church. Complete frescoes from the pre-Mongol period have survived only in the Mirozh monastery of Pskov, while remnants can be found in churches and monasteries in Novgorod, Old Ladoga, Vladimir and Suzdal.

Specialists of the Novgorod museum have begun the process of restoration of the fragments from the cathedral. It has already been established that the frescoes (which were used in the 19th century as construction material to raise the floor of the building) do not resemble the other Novgorod wall decor of the 12th century. It is supposed that the church was decorated with a multitude of light figures with small faces.

In addition, during the excavations in the sanctuary and the cupola of the cathedral were found ancient structures, including the episcopal bench in the main altar, the ancient floor boards, thrones, and, surviving in the bottom of the wall, a mural with decorative ornamental compositions in polished marble.

In the future, the researchers plan to continue the excavations, both inside and outside the walls of the cathedral, where might also be found further fragments of frescoes.

(Translated rather loosely from В Новгороде найдены фрески XII века, Colta.ru.)

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