Nicholas Roerich Estate Museum in Izvara
Nicholas Roerich
Estate Museum

in Izvara

N. Roerich «Ancient Finnish Churches»
Original in Russian

Page: 5 from 12

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There are also stories about the discovered paintings that were covered anew. Vandals' joy! – what had attracted scientists from England and Scandinavia was painted over. Such barbarism affected also the second most ancient Finnish church in Nousianen. The most ancient, the champion of antiquity amongst the churches, is Mariankirkko, which had cathedral status until 1300. Nousianen frescoes are almost totally unknown in literature, there has been almost nothing in print about them except rather old brochures by a Mr. Nervander (Kirkollilesta taiteesta Suomesla keskiaikana. Kirjoitta nut E.Nervander. Helingissä 1887-8). The brochures were printed in Finnish and Swedish. The illustrations leave a lot to be desired as they are performed as hatchings only. It is owing to lack of other sources that one is compelled to refer to that publication for the oldest illustrations on Nousianen. These amazing murals have never been published at an artistically acceptable level of pictorial representation.

There exists yet another publication on ancient Finish churches released, however, in mere 200 copies and thus devoid of any public importance, as booksellers refrain from even trying to locate it.

The content of Nousianen murals has never been decisively explicated; a part of later plaster layers were never removed. Now the entire church has been whitewashed. Only by the sarcophagus of Bishop Henrik - bearing etchings on copper relating the scenes of the bishop's life – and by the church inventory book may one surmise to have arrived to that very remarkable church to see which one had traversed so many miles of abominable road.

Concerning the Nousiainen murals the best reporter is surely the above Mr. Nervander as he had witnessed them first had. For some reason he failed to protect them from being plastered over, so he is more likely to belittle their importance than exalt it. Let us listen to his antiquated manner of writing and his interpretations, obsolete though as they might seem.

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Museum Address: 188414, Izvara Village, Volosovo District, Leningrad Region, Russia.
Phones: +7-813-73-73-273 (group tours); Phone/Fax +7-813-73-73-298 (general)
Museum Director: Cherkasova Olga Anatolievna