The St. Andrew’s Church was constructed in Baroque style which came into being and was formed in the middle of the 16th century in Italy, and for two centuries was popular in many European countries. In Russia and Ukraine that style was reigning in the architecture, painting, literature, and music from the end of the 17th to the middle of the 18th century. The Baroque style has most brightly shown itself in the architecture, which mastered applied arts, sculpture, and painting. The Baroque architecture is distinguished by extremely dynamic composition structure, forms contrast, whimsicality of silhouettes, richness of external and internal decoration, wide use of lights and darks play, and organic unity with natural environment. The interiors are decorated with variegated in color paintings, and sculptural compositions.
The St. Andrew’s Church.
Almost all features of the Baroque style are reflected in the architecture and dйcor of the St. Andrew’s Church. The hill’s complicated relief, spring and subsoil waters have determined placement of the St. Andrew’s Church on a massive stylobate looking like a two-storied structure. The Cathedral is located in the middle of the five-corner terrace to be reached by means of cast-irons stairs with three landings. In plan the Church is cruciform, the southern and the northern beams are considerably shorter then the western and the semicircle eastern ones: edifice’s length is 31.7 m, width — 20.4 m, height from the terrace to the top of the cross makes 50 meters. The five-domed Church’s composition consists of the central dome and four decorative turrets crowning supporting pylons – counterforts placed along the structure’s diagonal axes. The pylons cut the stylobate’s mass vertically and lean on stone foundation walls. Externally they are decorated with the pillars of Corinthian order, placed on a high pedestals — two on three sides of each pylon. Each couple of pillars ends with entablature and semicircle pediment. There is an impression that pylons serve as pedestals for corner turret only, while as a matter of fact they play very important constructive role, i.e. the role of counterforts. The pylons are crowned with well-proportioned turrets, columns with capitals of Ionian order, decorative niches, and cupolas with openwork crosses, thus enabling to contrast architectural volumes and visually accentuate the structure’s vertical lines. In the middle of the structure raises a drum 10 meters high and 14 meters in diameter, in which 8 semicircle on the top window are cut. Over the drum rises above a sphere-like dome dominating in the Church’s silhouette. The dome is divided into eight sectors by means of a gilded ornament, in each of them there is a lucarne. The dome is crowned with a cupola, a ball, and a cross. Thus, the centricity of the five-domed composition of the edifice’s external volume is being highlighted. The Church’s walls are divided horizontally by architectural profiles onto three uneven parts: a base, a wall, and a entablature with pediments. In the middle of the western façade there is the only entrance with metal doors adorned with ornaments and crosses. In the facades’ decoration are used rhythms of singular and double pilasters with Corinthian capitals, intricate profile cornices, and rich relief Baroque ornaments. On tympanums of the pediments cast-iron cartouches with the empress Elisabeth monogram are located. Large and small windows of the main volume are adorned with stucco molding platbands, and capitals of the pillars and pilasters are cast-ironed and gilded. The dome’s drum is decorated with pilasters with Ionian capitals, entablature, and cartouches. According to the author’s creative manner, the décor’s pompousness increases from the bottom to the top, and the domes and cupolas shine with the richness of relief details. As a result of such an architectural composition the Church’s edifice makes an impression of well-proportioned and light one. Artistically arranged pillars and pilasters, cartouches, stucco work, profiles’ asymmetric lines on the background of general symmetry of main parts provide the structure’s volumes for dynamics, motion of which is directed to the center and upwards. Impression of an exceptional harmony and picturesqueness is created thanks to use of Rastrelli’s favorite colors – white, turquoise, and gilding. Well-proportioned white pillars, pilasters, and cornices stand out against a turquoise wall, destroy its monotony, and the green of domes in combination with gilding of decorative details provide for the edifice’s refinement and delicacy.
The edifice of the St. Andrew’s Church has extremely harmonically blended with the surrounding landscape and is an important dominant in the build-up territory of the city. Constructed on a high Dnipro steep slope, so called Starokyivsky mountain (84 meters above the Dnipro) it rises above the Podil, successfully linking the upper and the lower parts of the city. The Church serves as a kind of landmark at the entrance to Kyiv from the south-eastern part, pointing out at a place, which according to the chronicles, was sanctified by the Apostle St. Andrew, and from which the ancient Kyiv takes its origin.
From the St. Andrew’s church porch there is a wonderful view to the lower part of the city — Podil with its architectural monuments of the 17th — 20th centuries, to the water main — the Dnipro river and behind the Dnipro distances, to the new residential communities.
The Church’s edifice unites three streets — Desiatynna, Volodymyrska and Andriyvsky Descent, which meet on the square in front of the Church and make a united space and architecture ensemble in which the St. Andrew’s Church is a dominant. The square is restricted by buildings of later years of construction which with their not very expressive architecture stress even more the grandeur of the St. Andrew’s Church.
Main effect of that edifice is harmonious unification of all its parts in a common gust upwards. Irrespective of the season and the weather, when catching your breath you watch at the St. Andrew’s Church, is seems that the edifice hardly touching the ground, raises to the sky in smooth flight.
The St. Andrew’s Church silhouette unexpectedly coming to the surface from the city’s panorama, each time is being perceived in a new way, causing inimitable emotional and aesthetic feelings. Not without reason, for a long time it has become the city’s calling card.
Thoroughness of constructive and artistic design has also found its reflection in the edifice’s interior. The St. Andrew’s Church interior is a central-domed one, pillar free space in which easily recognizable are cross shaped plan of the structure, and architectural splitting of the walls with pilasters, cornices, and window apertures. The cross’s branches are overlapped with vaults, and arch walls and sails of the central part support the drum ending with a dome. Characteristic feature about Rastrelli’s creative work is a plastic, sculptural treating of the architectural forms. Great role is given to the architectural order, which is used by architect not only as a means of the wall’s partitioning, but also as a carrier of relief and dark and light. As to the character of the decoration, the temple inside can be divided on two parts, i.e. walls and the dome. Along the premise’s perimeter runs an intricate profile cornice, and vertical lines are underlined with the pilasters of the Ionian order with flower garlands. Vaults are profiled with formworks of lucarnes and paneled protuberances. Transition from the walls to the drum is made by means of another strap of entablature. Eight windows of the drum are interchanged with equal number of double pilasters in Corinthian order supporting the third strap of magnificently profiled entablature. The dome is divided into eight triangular sectors, each of them containing a lucarne and a scenic picture. One of the means for dimensional decoration of the interior is the color. White dead surface of the pilasters, and cornices provides the premise for lightness an expressiveness, and blue and grey background of the walls creates the impression of the depth, remoteness, and coolness. Thanks to such a color division, compression of insignificant space by the walls’ configuration becomes invisible, and the massiveness of hanging over vaults, weight of the drum and the dome become imperceptible. An important role in the interior belongs to the windows of the main volume, the dome. They are placed in two tiers: large, semicircular on the top in the first one; and small round lucarnes in the second one. Rastrelli paid particular attention to the windows decoration, thus underlying and increasing the meaning of walls as a tectonic and composition base of the structure, and simultaneously adorning it according to the general program of the interior decoration. Elements of the flower character, bow-shaped Baroque pediments, various crooks, the architect uses heads of cherubs for decoration of the window-frames, thus accentuating the sculptural interpretation of the architectural image. Through the window apertures wide flows of light are coming, filling up the premise and creating whimsical light and dark game on the gilded details of plaster molding and wood carving.