The State Museum St Isaac’s Cathedral –
The Museum Complex
Savior on the Spilled Blood
Stonework

The Church of the Resurrection of Christ was conceived as one of the principal churches in the capital, designed to serve as a reminder of great deeds performed by the tsar Alexander II the Liberator.

 

The rich and diverse decor of the church was supposed to correspond to its great significance. Stonework plays a particularly important part in creating the stately and festive appearance of the church. Although the stonework is less pronounced in the exterior than in the interior decor, it is still quite conspicuous.

 

 

The most eye-catching are numerous ornamental details around window openings. Decorative elements on the dome drums, frames, kokoshniki, and arched bands are made of Estland marble. The wall base, up to a height of three meters, is lined in dark and light grey granite quarried in the island of German in the Lake of Ladoga. The grey granite slabs alternate with twenty dark red slabs of Norwegian granite that are set in recesses and bear inscriptions in gilt lettering of the acts performed by Alexander II.

 

The pillars of the porch are made of grey granite from Ust-Kamenogorsk.
The architect A.A. Parland made use of colored ornamental stones that came from a variety of Russian and foreign quarries. The craftsmen skillfully exploited the natural beauty and peculiarities of the stone to create the interior that looks like a museum of stonecutting art.

 

The canopy that marks the assassination site of the Emperor was executed of precious and decorative stones from the Urals and Altai region. This is an architecturally complex structure of four grey-violet jasper columns that support a high entablature of Revnevo jasper with stylized vases of Nikolaev jasper on the corners.


The marble floor is stunning, representing 45 mosaic patterns that never repeat themselves. The floor was made by the renowned Novy firm in Genoa, Italy.
 


The walls up to a height of 2,5 m are lined with green Italian serpentine, which was also used to make the raised platform before the iconostasis (solea) and the carved benches along the walls. The stone for the walls, solea, and benches was processed in Naples in 1905. The bases of the four central pillars are faced with labradorite.

 

Colored stone features in the iconostasis more then elsewhere. It was executed by artisans from Novy firm based on the models by Stepanov. The palette of the marble is unique: red and brown at the bottom, growing lighter upwards, and is reminiscent of wood carvings.


Each of the icon stands is a collection of local coloured stones in itself. These are mostly rose and crimson orlets with dark veins of manganese from the Urals. Although beautiful in itself, the orlets is embellished with carved ornaments of jasper from the Urals. The bases of icon stands are of greenish-grey striped Revnev jasper from Altai. Against its background the red columns of Korgon porphyry stand out vividly.


After the church was closed in 1930, its magnificent stone finishing was neglected. There was no heating in the church for over 50 years, the siege of Leningrad and the storage of theater prompts in it had a particularly adverse effect on the Church.
Work to restore the walls began in 1977 and was completed in 1995, and was carried out only during the warm seasons of the year. The interior stonework was restored by teams under A.A. Shcherbakov and S.I. Radchenko (The Restoration Association) from 1980 up to 1994.