March 6 — Continued attacks on precious art and architecture

I. The heavy bombardment of Chernihiv is ongoing. Vladimir Otroshchenko, the mayor of the city, has said that many architectural monuments have been damaged. He believes that the level of destruction in the city has now surpassed the damage caused by the Nazi bombardments of August, 1941. Detailed information is hard to come by, but there are reports that Russian planes are dropping FAB 500 bombs on Chernihiv. These are heavy munitions designed for the destruction of fortifications.

II. The ancient town of Ovruch, situated in the Korosten district of the Zhytomyr region, was under heavy missile attack on the night of March 6th.

This town is the home of one of the oldest standing ecclesiastical buildings in Ukraine: St. Basil Church, erected in 1190 by Prince Rurik. It was designed by Petr Miloneg, one of the very few architects of Kyivan Rus whose name was recorded in early medieval chronicles. At the moment, details on the extent of the damage aren’t available.

III. For the past two days, the city of Zhytomir, the administrative center of the Zhytomir region, has been under heavy Russian bombardment. The city has numerous architectural monuments and sites important to Jewish cultural history. The Zhytomir Regional Museum has an important collection of old masters. Among the highlights are works by Annibale Carracci, Jacob Ferdinand Voet, Matthias Stomer, Jean-Étienne Liotard, and Hubert Robert.

“Portrait of a Woman,” Jean-Étienne Liotard
“Annuciation,” Matthias Stome. (This is the left side of a diptych.)

IV. The barbarous bombardment of the center of Kharkiv, the second biggest city in Ukraine, is ongoing. Many important monuments of Constructivist architecture are facing complete destruction! (See my March 3 post and my article “Ukrainian Architecture Under Threat“).

V. This is not a cultural monument, just a village church near Kyiv. But I find the image heartbreaking.

A church in the village of Bobryk near Kyiv

VI. The news isn’t all terrible. For instance, the evacuation of some Ukrainian museums is in progress. Take a look at this stunning AP article from Lviv.

Workers at the Andrey Sheptytsky National Museum in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv move the “Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin” of the Bohorodchany Iconostasis to safeguard it from attack on Friday, March 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)