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Kharkiv city skyline, the old town with the Pokrovsky Monastery 17 th century., and the Assumption Cathedral 18 th century
Tuesday, 17 May 2022

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Culture news > A 800-year-old fresco has been revealed at St. Sophia`s Cathedral

Restorers of “Sophia Kievskaya” peeled off one fresco to reveal another one, which could be seen for the last time 800 years ago. The fact that the fresco in the northern part of the Cathedral consists of two layers and each of them has an image on it became known accidentally.

In 1950th a piece of plaster peeled off the wall, under which there turned out to be another image, dating as all the most valuable items in the Cathedral back to the 11th century. The fact was registered, but no one took it up – there was no financing. Works on its restoration have started only recently.

It can be suggested that the “double fresco” appeared in the following way. In the 11th century, when the new Cathedral was built, inscription was made under the window in the gallery. In 12th-13th centuries for some unknown reasons monks covered the window with bricks and put a new fresco, depicting three Saints in full height, over all the formed space.

Excursion about Kiev from “Prime Excursion Bureau” – Thousand – year –old Sophia and Ancient Kiev

“It is known exactly that the second fresco was put in the 12th-13th centuries, since scientists have found out inscription-graffiti and decrypted the date on it” – the main painter- restorer of the reserve “Sophia Kievskaya” Anatoliy Ostapchuk says. - We hope it didn`t happen because the first one was damaged. By the way, this is the only such place, since in other galleries the windows were left untouched”.

 

 

Yes, when putting a layer of plaster on a comparably “young” – 100 – 150 year -old painting, the ancient masters could hardly suppose that it would help to preserve its bright colors through years. Especially considering the fact that the upper one hasn’t preserved very well.

Now the image is covered with double layers of gauze and special paper to fix it and keep from damaging during demounting.

“We will try to take it off and expose it on the opposite wall – Anatoliy Ostapchuk continues. - Ten big cuts were made on the fresco. We plan to strengthen them to keep from breaking off and will separate them from the wall carefully. And then we will mount them on three big boards. The lower image should not be damaged. Similar technology was used at the Church of the Saviour at Berestovo to reveal a fresco of the 12th century”.

The window is also planned to be released from bricks and blocks, covering it. Its thousand-year-old antiquity also turns out to be very rare: similar ones have been kept only in Istanbul, on the territory of former Byzantine. Bricks on the opposite side have been demounted. A wooden frame with very thick, about 10 centimeters crossbeam of that time turned out to be under them.

They have not researched what type of wood that was yet, but it is evident, that it has preserved greatly. Even a salient piece of glass of emerald-green color remained intact. At that time the process of production of plate and thin glass was not known yet. Works are planned to be finished in a few months.

According to Mycityua.com