Norwegian medieval architecture in Russian accounts (late nineteenth to early twentieth century)
After the gradual decline of Late Classicism in Russian architecture in the mid-nineteenth century, a search for new paths of development began in the ideological atmosphere prevailing in the reign of Nicholas I (1825-1855), who personally encouraged people to look to national and medieval heritage. The first Russian architect to professionally examine the character of Nordic medieval architecture in the broad context of European art was Ieronim Kitner. The first professional accounts made by a Russian architect of Norwegian stave churches indicate highly important directions for the further study of the subject, such as the European (Romanesque) context, external influences (Byzantine, Oriental), and the carvings in their relation to manuscript tradition, and, most significantly, they also express a sincere and deep concern for the past, proclaiming the necessity for preservation and maintenance, which was not so evident in that period. Russian interest in the architectural heritage of neighbouring Norway was not, however, confined exclusively to works of wooden architecture.