Fancy decor of Moscow houses: What is common between the house on Chistye Prudy and the Dmitrievsky Cathedral of ancient Vladimir
Fancy decor of Moscow houses: What is common between the house on Chistye Prudy and the Dmitrievsky Cathedral of ancient Vladimir
Stone patterns of Moscow houses: House with animals

There is a stunning house on Chistye Prudy in Moscow, one of the most interesting in terms of decor, which is popularly called the “House with Animals”. Its facade is decorated with fabulous animals and birds, as if descended from the pages of books with Russian folk tales. A very unusual house! And, of course, he, like many houses in the center of Moscow, has its own interesting history.

"House with Animals" on Chistye Prudy

Through the entire facade of its third and fourth floors, an amazing figured pattern of fabulous animals and plants stretches.

Amazing home decor on Chistye Prudy

The author of the sketches of all these bizarre terracotta bas-reliefs is the artist Sergei Vashkov, who considered himself a student of Vrubel, from whom, however, he never studied. But in creativity they were very close in spirit.

Sergei Ivanovich Vashkov (1879-1914)

There are many beautiful old houses left in the center of Moscow, but it is this one that makes you stop and, looking intently, try to solve the riddles of the outlandish pattern. The main theme of the decoration of this building was the ancient Russian motifs of Vladimir architecture, of which there are very few samples left, and which still remain a mystery. Sergei Vashkov was fascinated by ancient Russian architecture, the peak of which was the Dmitrievsky Cathedral in Vladimir, erected in the 1190s. The bas-reliefs that adorn it became the prototypes of the mythical animals that settled on the facade of the house on Chistye Prudy.

But this is not a simple copying of ancient Russian motifs, but a very subtle stylization in the spirit of the 1900s, from the standpoint of the modern era. In addition, the bas-reliefs on the house are grotesquely enlarged, deliberately enlarged in comparison with the Vladimir ones.

For comparison - white stone carving on the walls of the Dmitrievsky Cathedral and patterns made by Sergei Vashkov. The similarity with the patterns on the Dmitrievsky Cathedral is undoubted, but we will not find identical copies here.

White stone carving on the walls of the Dmitrievsky Cathedral Patterns by Sergei Vashkov

The house on Chistoprudny was conceived as a tenement house at the Trinity Church on Gryazi. Some of the apartments were supposed to be given to parishioners in need of housing, and the rest of the apartments were to be rented out. The money for the construction was allocated by the church, and in 1908-1909 the handsome house was built. The house was four-story, with an amazing roof fence, balconies and beautiful gates.

Photo of the 1910s. from the family archive of the Dmitrevskys (Dmitrievskys) Photo of 1910 by Gurzhiev Ancient gate House in the 30s

Sergei Vashkov worked as an artist at the church utensils factory, was its artistic director. And although a tenement house on Chistye Prudy became his first experience in an architectural field that was new to him, Vashkov did his job perfectly. He also designed the interiors of this house. And he himself lived here in one of the apartments until his last days.

Beauty and grace … "House with Animals" on Chistoprudny Boulevard still amazes with its beauty, but initially it looked more graceful.

Many tenement houses underwent changes during the Stalin era, mainly, they were built in height. This house did not escape such a fate. In 1945, its appearance changed - the house became two stories higher, and even three stories higher at the corners. The balconies and the decorative lattice on the roof disappeared. Fortunately, in this case, it was possible to almost completely preserve the very beauty - the decorative design of the house, made by Vashkov. Only the uppermost row of bas-reliefs was damaged. In the 2000s, the house was repainted, it became bluish-green, and the bas-reliefs on it were whitewashed.

Sergei Ivanovich was rarely engaged in architectural design, therefore, his works in this area are very few, but, nevertheless, they are very interesting.First of all, this is a church in the dacha village of Klyazma near Moscow.

Klyazma. Church of the Savior Image Not Made by Hands (1913-1916) Fragments of majolica from the facade of the church according to sketches by S.I. Vashkova

And also the pearl of wooden architecture is the famous Aleksandrenko dacha. The dacha was decorated on the outside with delightful wooden carvings, in an intricate pattern of which fabulous flowers, animals, birds, fish were intertwined.

Dacha Alexandrenko

But it is no longer possible to admire this miraculous tower - it completely burned down in 2003.

There is great interest today Dmitrievsky Cathedral in Vladimir, eclipsing all the temples built before him.

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