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Sullivan's Russian Orthodox Church

 
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Reidy



Joined: 07 Jan 2005
Posts: 1426
Location: Northern CA

PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2018 1:26 pm    Post subject: Sullivan's Russian Orthodox Church Reply with quote

Little-known story about a little-known building.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8424

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If any style of architecture is more florid, busier and overwhelming than Victorian, it is Russian Orthodox. I cannot work up any enthusiasm for this building, especially the interior. Nor for St. Luke's portraiture.
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Meisolus



Joined: 06 Jun 2010
Posts: 141

PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're killing me Roderick! First no Mahler, now no Victorian? I'm teasing, and I can understand why it isn't to everyone's taste, but I personally deeply love Russian architecture, especially of the Orthodox or Imperial variety. I find all that decoration to be passionate and uplifting.

I do agree the church isn't Sullivan's best, but I think restoring the original polychromy on the exterior would be an improvement.

Also, I think that there is an argument to be made for Sullivan as very much a Victorian/Art Nouveau architect. His ornament is far more rational and integrated than was typical of the period, but he was not creating in a vacuum.
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8424

PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do agree that HLS was caught between the Victorian and the Modern. As fine as his decorative touches are, they are also effusive in a way that would have warmed the hearts of the Victorians. Yet I cannot condone the excesses of Victoriana. Take the Burnham & Root house that is in danger, compare it to the Carson Mansion in Eureka, CA. The one is absolutely sublime, while the other brings to mind incessant screaming and insanity, the antithesis of asylum.

The polychrome exterior of HLS's church was a proposal that wasn't carried out, so a restoration would probably not include it. But I think it would be a more appropriate finish. As is, and has always been, the exterior seems a bit dowdy. Now go inside, and focus on something, anything! The interior is a mishmash of fanciness run amok. There is no focus. St. Basil's Cathedral is the same, outside and inside. Overwhelming. It is the borscht of architecture.
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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 5799
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don’t like borscht, either?

It’s extremely nutritious, and no unnecessary ingredients...
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Meisolus



Joined: 06 Jun 2010
Posts: 141

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roderick,

Regarding the lack of focus in the Russian Orthodox style, that was kind of the point. When you enter a churches like that, you enter a different world. They were intended to be a manifestation of heaven on earth. All the gold and color was meant to dazzle, and wasn't supposed to be like anything else. It's a glimpse of the divine. Your eye is supposed to travel around the space and constantly find something new. It's a totally different mindset than we have today. Very Baroque in a way.

I'll keep my opinion of the Carson Mansion to myself.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15943
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not everyone is prepared to accept joyful exuberance on its own terms, I suppose . . .





Does anyone think it odd, by the way, that those promoting the Burnham project didn't see fit to connect client A C Burnham with the architect, geneologically ?

I find no mention, on the page, of a connection between the two men. Or is it simply a coincidence ?

SDR
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DRN



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 3515
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to believe the Burnham mansion was not "dipped in white" when it was first completed. Whitewashing buildings like this does them no aesthetic favors. A few days with an X-acto knife and a sander at each element of the façade would tell the story of the house's color history and reveal what it originally looked like....a few more days with a microscope and a paint expert would lend further accuracy to the effort.

I'm sure a return to the original color scheme would enliven the house, which, admittedly, is a little drab right now.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15943
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right. Note that, on the Carson exterior, there appear to be only two paint colors; just enough articulation to suit the very busy forms. A third hue might
work, as well; more than that would be redundant. Gold-leaf accents are often found on San Franciscan examples, literally gilding the lily . . .

For me, this level of decoration might as well go further, into Furness-land. There you would find delightfully exaggerated elements and details; one
laughs out loud, rather than merely giggling.

SDR
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8424

PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have seen photos of the Carson Mansion with a much brighter shade of yellow. Either it has been repainted in a softened color, or the yellow has faded considerably ... which it tends to do.

DRN, check outside in's photo of Burnham as it originally looked. It's a B&W, but obviously the color was not the TDMW it is today. Today one must look past the pastiness of the paint to see the detail.
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Meisolus



Joined: 06 Jun 2010
Posts: 141

PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2018 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roderick, if you can find the picture of the Carson with a brighter shade of yellow, I'd love to see it. All the pictures I have ever seen show it as the above photo indicates. My understanding is that those are the original colors.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 15943
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2018 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first images I saw of the Carson palace were "in yellow." We always believe what we see or hear in our first exposure to an object to be its correct state -- how are we to know better ? I await confirmation of the fact, in this case. Anyone ?

There's this . . . https://fineartamerica.com/shop/yoga+mats/carson+mansion

and this: http://www.northcoastphotographer.net/files/pany-test-11.jpg

SDR
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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 5799
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When it comes to American Victorian architecture, I’m partial to the brick variety. Old Louisville is a veritable treasure trove:

https://www.oldhouseonline.com/.amp/articles/a-tour-of-old-louisville
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8424

PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, Peter, brick houses of the period are far superior. Wood and stucco allow things like Carson to go hog wild, while brick seems more restrained.

I also think the current color of Carson is a huge improvement over the yellow. But it is still too busy, outside and in.
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