Pop-up Moscow

Moskva, khram Vasilia Blazhennogo (Moscow, St Basil’s Cathedral)
Prague: Artia, 1957

This is one of two Artia cards in the Catherine Cooke Collection. Based in Prague, Artia was on the cutting edge of pop-up design, producing books as well as postcards. Both Cooke postcards show famous buildings in the Russian capital (the other is of the monumental Moscow University). Here, we see the extraordinary St Basil’s Cathedral, one of the most enduring symbols of Russia.

Built in the sixteenth century on the orders of Ivan the Terrible, the cathedral stands outside the walls of the Kremlin, at the river end of Red Square. In the foreground stands a nineteenth-century monument to Minin and Pozharskii, two Russian heroes of the seventeenth century. This stood originally in the centre of Red Square but was moved by the Soviets to the front of St Basil’s, where it remains to this day.

St Basil’s coloured turrets continue to fascinate visitors, and the building is an obvious choice for a Moscow pop-up card. The background for the icon places it firmly in the modern city of the Soviets. The Kotel’nicheskaia Embankment House, one of the Stalinist ‘Seven Sisters’ (another of which is Moscow University), shines in the distance.

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