Over 350 artworks executed by Russian sculptors for St Isaac’s Cathedral form a unique collection of the 19th century monumental and decorative sculpture.
The vaults and the drum are adorned with the sculptures of the apostles, prophets and angels carried out by I. Vitaly and his assistants R. Zaleman and V. Belyaev.
The prophets on the vaults at the western end and the angels at the eastern end are shown in dynamic poses; such interpretation suggests the influence of the 18th century Italian Baroque. The figures of the vaults, the drum and of the iconostases are made of copper by means of galvanoplastic technique, used for the first time on such a scale in the construction of St Isaac’s Cathedral.
The smaller iconostases are crowned with sculpted groups “The Resurrection” and “The Transfiguration” by N. Pimenov.
The great doors embellished with the numerous reliefs executed by I. Vitaly play an important part in the Cathedral’s sculpted decoration. They represent three eras in the history of the Christian Church: the Apostolic Era (western doors), the Era of ecumenical teachers, saints and martyrs of the Orthodox Church (northern doors), and The Saints specially honored by the Russian Church (southern doors). The figures are cast in bronze and covered with decorative patina.