The studying of the Russian north wooden architecture starts at the latter half of the XIX-th century. “Opening” of the folk architecture created on-off made a peculiar sensation in the scientific world. The itinerary notes of the academician Vladimir Suslov, published in Saint-Petersburg in 1888 was much talked about.
Among the specialists who made a lot for to preserve the Pomor architecture, Andrey Karetnikov should certainly be noted. His name should stand in the range with such starchitetcs as D.N. Mendeleev, P.P. Pokryshkin and P.D. Baranovskiy, but it`s been unfairly forgotten.
For the first time A.V. Opolovnikov wrote about A.A. Karetnikov`s contribution only in 1974, characterizing his activities as the foundation, where modern methods of folk architecture “later successively began to form”. In his book Opolovnikov casually mentioned about the unfair Karetnikov`s dismissal from the position of eparchial architect [7, p. 18-19]. The extant documents of the Arkhangelsk ecclesiastical consistory in the State archive of the Arkhangelsk region could help to find out the reasons that forced the architect to resign from his position.
A.A. Karetnikov graduated from the Institute of Civil engineers named after Emperor Nicholas I, “with the grade of Civil engineer and X rank rights”. On a basis of the Ministry of Internal Affaires order № 22 ddt. the 27th of August 1901 he was appointed as a junior engineer on road building “under Guvernorate of Livonia special participation”. In 1903 the architect was transferred to the Arkhangelsk Government Rules Committee, where he rose from the rank of a junior engineer up to a government architect and government engineer of building department [2, op.4, t.2, d. 3268, sheet 111 rev., 112 rev.; 6, 1910, p. 190; 6, 1911, p. 72; 6, 1912, p.134; 6, 1913, p.128; 6, 1914, p.2; 6, 1915, p. 1; 6, 1916, p.1].
From September 1st 1903 through May 1st 1908 Andrey Karetnikov was performing his duties as an eparchial architect, mentioned position had been vacant since the 8th of December 1899. After receiving the bishop Ioanniki`s offer on the 14th of June 1903 Karetnikov presented an employment petition. He took up his duties on the 1st of September after obtaining the Arkhangelsk governor`s permission, who wrote to the bishop: “Junior engineer on road building A.A. Karetnikov is allowed to take up his duties as an eparchial architect, at the same time preserving direct job responsibilities according to his position at his current position” [1, 1903, № 18, p. 289-290; 2, op.4, t. 2, d. 3268, sheet 96, 99, 104].
Picture 1. Arkhangelsk eparchy churches, restored under A.A. Karetnikov`s supervision: - Nikolski church in village Panfilovo (lost) photo of restoration time; b – church ensemble in village Turchasovo, photo of 1970s, c – Nikolskaya church in village Zachachye, photo after 1909 Arkhangelsk regional museum of Local lore.
Within 4,5 years of work in the eparchy Karetnikov supervised the renovation works, estimated the budget, did the measures. Using the method of complete rebuild “in the same axis and authentic shape” Karetnikov restored the Nikolskiy churches, situated in Panfilovo and Zachachye, the bell-tower and the church complex in Turchasovo as well. (pic. 1) [1, 1911, № 11, p. 130; 2, op. 4, t.3, d.1710, sheet 2-4, 26, 27, 34, 104-104 rev.].
The architect put in great efforts to preserve cultural heritage of the Russian North, he was against the log churches siding, advocated ancient iconstands preservation, definitely opposed “dilettante” renovations, monument destruction or displacement. In fact, he prevented from making “grandeur” in places of worship, called on prudent approach in facing, dissembling, restoration, obligatory agreement with the Imperial archeological committee (IAC) at all questionable cases [1, 1908, № 4, p.45, 47].
Andrey Andreevich was not alone in his convictions, many architects of that time had the negative opinion about monuments deformation. V.V. Suslov wrote in his notes: “The most part of ancient wooden churches which I have seen, are deformed in such a way that not only details have been lost but even the forms themselves are disfigured…” [7, p. 67]. The restorers D.V. Mendeleev and P.P. Pokryshkin supported V.V. Suslov`s opinion. They were against exterior construction changings of wooden churches, where the beauty of construction material was presented as art material, where constructive and functional peculiarities presented at the same time decorative design. Siding and iron housetops fully demolished the folk architecture aspects of monuments. A.A. Karetnikov supported distinguished scientists, followed the obeyance of laws, his reports with the idea of restoration necessity or impossibility were sent to IAC.
The position of the architect was always at the side of monuments defenders, but this position was not accepted by the others. The consistory was filled with complaints against the architect. At times, for the purpose of photo fixation of the church construction, he unceremoniously wasn`t let into the churches, and this fact surprised the architect, he wrote about it in his contributions. [4, 1909, № 4, p. 18 – 38]. The honorable attitude towards his activity, sometimes petulancies about “dilettante” renovations were the reason of Karetnikov`s discharge. The pretext was specious – referring to the primary employer, they issued the order – offering Karetnikov to hand in his resignation. The events were playing out as follows.
In April 1908 the bishop endorsed the Consistory record of paying the wages to the architect. ”The information has come to my knowledge about different defects of Mr. Karetnikov in his profession. Concentrate those if they exist and decide… [2, op. 4, t. 2, d. 3268, sheet 115]. In Karetnikov`s case the Consistory saw the following defects: “… lack of technical surveillance over the church constructions or simple bureaucracy in cases at rectors` reports of Verkolskiy, Kozheozerskiy, Krasnogorskiy. Siyskiy. Shenkurskiy monasteries, from Bychenskiy, Panilovskiy., Panozerskiy, Pokshen`gskiy, Stupinskiy and other parishes…” In Consistory report ddt. the 25th of April 1908 it was indicated that: “having discussed the frequent cases of tardiness and failure of the eparchial architect`s activity mentioned in the report, primarily at awkwardness of appropriate technical real surveillance over the constructions of the department of religious affairs…we offer Karetnikov to hand in his resignation from the eparchial architect position; if failing, relieve the architect from his post of eparchial architect since the 1st of May 1908…” [2, op. 4, t. 2, d. 3268, sheet 115, 118, 119].
Andrey Andreevich didn`t agree with his employer, on the 28th of April he wrote to the Ecclesiastical Consistory: “… as for more than 4 ½ years of eparchial architect services I haven`t got any punch items either from the Ecclesiastical Consistory or from His Grace, so I`m kindly asking the Ecclesiastical Consistory not to refuse and give me the copy of the same report with His Grace`s resolution followed, not later than the 29th inst…” The answer was short: “The resolution wasn`t given in the report, but the ordinary journal of your wages payment …, therefore it presents impossible to send you the copy of nonexistent report” [2, op. 4, t. 2, d. 3268, sheets 122, 122 rev., 123].
In November 1908 Karetnikov applied to the Consistory and listed all the fulfilled projects over his service years. [2, op. 4, t. 2, d. 3268, sheet 142, 142 rev.,]. On the 2nd of January 1909 the architect presented a petition to bishop Mihey: “Shortly thereafter His Grace`s arriving to Arkhangelsk I had the honor to carry on a conversation with You regarding my sudden discharge from the position of the Arkhangelsk eparchial architect, asking… to review my case, as solved, to the best of my belief, incorrect and unfair. May it please your honor of promising me to fulfill my request, though it wouldn`t be so soon. Nowadays I have ventured to counter a written petition addressed to His Grace about the retrial and my reinstatement at the position of Arkhangelsk eparchial architect… In capacity of confirmation of this very statement… I`m taking the liberty to give here an example of my activity at eparchial architect position: at a time when the accusations were being fabricated and well before this time I was quietly doing my business which has been recently thanked by the Imperial Archeological Committee in Saint-Petersburg, this message of thanks all the more is valuable for me that it comes the Committee by its personal initiative from without any requests…” [2, op. 4, t. 2, d. 3268, sheet 179, 180, 181].
In a month Karetnikov wrote a comprehensive letter over again: “…I consider it necessary to state that I always performed my duties of eparchial architect carefully and ardently, as far as my forces, knowledges and technical experience permitted. When the projects came to approval of the Technical Building Committee under the Holy Synod of the Imperial Archeological Committee, they were not only accepted but even certificated flatteringly. I will point out the central heating improvement projects in Kem`, housing modification projects of the Ecclesiastical consistory building, or the opinion of the chairman of MIA Technical building committee, the professor N.V. Sultanov, about my restoration project of the Zachatyevskaya church. The same Archeological committee gave me the credence at drawing the plan from nature of the ancient Paberezhskaya church…” [2, op. 4, t. 2, d. 3268, sheet 151, 151 rev., 152, 152 rev.].
Karetnikov wasn`t reinstated in his former position. The specialist, who was highly appreciated by the architectural association of the country, became unwanted for the Arkhangelsk eparchy. But Andrey Andreevich didn`t give up, his citizenship and love of folk architecture appeared at his work in the Arkhangelsk eparchial ecclesio-archeological committee (AEEAC) a member of which he was since 1904.
Karetnikov constantly made reports and gave lecturers. This tradition started when he was an eparchial architect. The first journal entry of AEEAC concerning the architect`s presentation before the Committee ddt. the 16th of March 1905: “Having heard: the presentation of the Committee member, the engineer A.A. Karetnikov, with 3 photographical prints of the Paberezhskaya church Onezhskiy district parish, built in 1724…” [3, op. 1, d. 45, sheet 8; 3, op. 1, d. 90, sheet 2].
In 1908 in AEEAC report there is an information bellow: “Heard of the Committee member Karetnikov`s report regarding the contemporary landscape of ecclesiastic architecture and icon-painting in the eparchy based on personal observations of the author and concerning as well the necessity of taking the measures in order to preserve and maintain the existing monuments of the old Russian architecture and icon-painting…” [1, 1909, № 11, p.342 – 343; 3, op. 1, d. 51, sheet 6]
The 9th of September 1912 at ceremonial meeting, devoted to the 25th-anniversary of AEEAC, Karetnikov noted with a sore heart in his report that plenty of churches have been already missed: burnt, destroyed, burgled or just couldn’t be preserved. [4, 1913, № 2, p.50 – 56].
Karetnikov did measures, took photos and gave his recommendations concerning the restoration of the stone churches of Troitskiy parish in Uhtoostrov. In 1912 he reported on the current situation of the parish`es ancient buildings, which attracted much interest. AEEAC decided to seek assistance of the highest government agencies “considering the architectural and historical value of the Uhtoostrovskiye churches at lack of local funds for repairs… [1, 1913, № 16, p.449-453: 1, 1914, № 9, p.3: 1, 1912, № 5, p. 366].
Besides the main occupation, Karetnikov gave lecturers on the history of churches building and the archeology, completed the collections of AEEAC archives with historical pieces, considered the petitions on reconstructions of churches, bell-towers, chapels. The quantity of petitions was huge. For example, in 1910 AEEAC received the enquiries from the Ecclesiastical committee regarding the following items: disassembly of the moldering church Spasskaya of Olemskiy parish in Mezenskiy district, inside repairs of iconstand in the Nikolaevskaya church of Nizhnekoydokurskiy parish in Arkhangelsk district, outside repairs of the ancient church Nikolaevskaya of Shatogorskiy parish in Pinezhskiy district and of the Svyato-Troitskiy stone church of Vaymuzhskiy parish in Kholmogorskiy district, repairs of the bell-tower in vill. Sukhonavolotskaya of Sorotskiy parish in Kemskiy district, carrying the bell-tower from the cold Bogoroditskaya to the warm Nikolaevskaya churches of Verhnepadiengskiy parish and new rebuilding of the bell-tower of Osinovskiy parish in Shenkurskiy district. “In all these cases, the Committee…having declared for the preservation of the ancientness on the supposition of possibilities for these purposes, however gave the final decision on the matter to the competence of the Imperial Archeological Committee” [1, 1911, №5, p.365 – 366: 2, op.4, t. 2, d.3268; op. 1, d. 43, sheet 17; 3, op. 1, d. 50, sheet 17; 3, op. 1, d. 60, sheet 6 rev., 7].
Karetnikov struggled for every monument, he used to say: “The interest to the novelty, cheapness and practicalness at whatever cost, in the absence of real beauty, without outside reasonable influence have mothered the temptation to demolish the old…” [4, 1909, № 4, p. 18]. Karetnikov`s opinion meant much in taking the right position of AEEAC concerning the wooden architecture. As a result plenty of historical constructions have been preserved. Among them there are the Pokrovskaya church (1763) in Rakula, the church in Shirsha (1771) and the church (1762) of Layskiy parish near Arkhangelsk, the Voskresenskaya church in Malaya Nemnyuga on the Pinega (in the mid XVII-th century), Elias (1725) chapel in Azapolye and Afanasiyevskaya (1732) chapel. The renovations of iconstands using local craftsmen`s efforts were stopped and the restoration by the specialists recommended by IAC was agreed in the Sumskiy church in Kemskiy district, the Troitskiy church of Paberezhskiy parish in Onezhskiy district and the Nikolskaya church in Zachachye etc. [1,1910, №11, p. 1-8 (app.); 1, 1911, № 5, p. 365 – 373; 1, 1912, № 1, p. 33 – 37; 1, 1912, № 2, p. 38; 1, 1912, № 3, p. 49 – 54; 1, 1912, № 4, p. 55 – 61; 1, 1913, № 9, p. 1 – 10 (app.); 1, 1914, № 9, p. 1 – 13 (app.); 1, 1915, № 22, p. 452 – 458; 1, 1915, № 23, p. 457 – 483; 1, 1916, № 14 – 15, p. 307-323].
In 1916 Karetnikov left Arkhangelsk. After his departure AEEAC report contained: “…is out of real members of the Committee because of his movement to Petrograd – A.A. Karetnikov…was quite useful for the Committee, especially in the matters of art value of the ancient churches, chapels architecture, iconstands and icon-paintings as well…” [3, op. 1, d. 78, sheet 10 rev., 11.]
A.A. Karetnikov paid a heavy price for his convictions. Being discharged and deprived of the opportunity to exercise his inner control of restoration works in progress, the architect is working hard in AEEAC. He said in one of his essays: “…the cultural heritage of our antecedents is still to be defended and is going to be defended… in order to say firmly to oneself and to the others: “we have fulfilled our trust, do more” [4, 1909, № 4, p. 28, 38].
Picture 2. Constructions, built in Arkhangelsk in 1903-1916 upon A.A. Karetnikov`s project: a. – the Nikolskaya church of Nikolo-Korelskoye monastery podvorye (courtyard). Photo ddt. 1903.; b. – the Community hall named after Peter I (lost). Photo ddt. 1912; c. – the pavilion for House of Peter I (lost). Photo ddt. the 27th of 1914. Arkhangelsk regional museum of Local lore.
The architect has left the remarkable heritage. He is the author of the following works: “The destiny of the old ecclesiastic architecture in the Arkhangelsk government” (1908, IAARNS), “Wooden church building at the olden time in the Russian North” (1913, IAARNS), “About the churches of Troitskiy Uhoostrovskiy parish in Kholmogorskiy district and their restorations” (1913, AEJ), “Wooden building at the olden time in the North of Russia” (1915, “Svetilnik”), “Maria Dmitrievna Krivopolenova, the narratress of epic poems” (IAARNS, 1916), [3, op. 1, d. 78, sheet 10 rev., 11; 4, 1909, № 4, P. 18 – 38; 4, 1913, № 2, P. 50 – 56; 4, 1916, № 1, P. 33 – 36]. Karetnikov was good at photo fixation, his images of the archives collections of AEEAC present the invaluable illustrative material, embrace the significant part of historical constructions, make a rather complete picture of the ancient architectural art of the North, the great part of which has been lost [1, 1911, № 5, p. 368 – 369; 1, 1917, № 10; p. 181; 2, op. 4, t. 3, d. 2023, sheet 15 – 30; 2, op. 38, d. 229, sheet 1].
Performing his duties as a governorate architect, Karetnikov was exercising the technical control of the construction objects in Arkhangelsk, estimating the budgets, doing measures, giving the recommendations, exercising the technical supervision over the reconstruction of the House of Vayted`s successors`, the Governor`s house, the house of Petrominskiy monastery courtyard, the merchant house of the fishery manager K.Y. Spader and the building of the Eparchial woman seminary. Upon the Karetnikov`s projects the Nikolskaya church (pic. 2) of Nikolo-Korelskiy monastery courtyard (1903) was built in Arkhangelsk, as well as the pavilion for the House of Peter I (1909) (pic. 2), the electro-light-hydropathic with accommodation unit of doctor P.A. Dmitrievskiy`s manor (1912). The architect`s love of the folk architecture reflected in the project of the Community hall named after Peter I in Solombala (1909-1911) (pic. 2) and in the Sretensko-Kazanskaya church in Bolshoi Fekhtalme of Onezhskiy district (1904-1907).
For the contribution of preserving the culture of the Russian North Andrey Karetnikov was given a note of acknowledgement of the Imperial archeological committee and bronze medal of the House of Romanovs awarded. In 1916 he was transferred to the position in Petrograd, from 1918 to 1919 he worked in Murmansk. Karetnikov didn`t accept the new regime and immigrated in 1919, he stayed in Brussels. The date of A.A. Karetnikov`s death is to be cleared up, and his work is worth further learning.