The Convent of Nativity of Saint John the Baptist is a former Russian Orthodox nunnery in Pskov. It is notable for the katholikon, one of Russia's oldest churches, dating from the first half of the 12th century. The church is located at the city center, on the left bank of the Velikaya River, in the Zavelichye quarter. It currently belongs to Krypetsky Monastery. It is the second oldest building in Pskov after the katholikon of the Mirozhsky Monastery and was designated an architectural monument of federal significance.
The construction date of the katholikon is traditionally estimated as the beginning of the 1140s. The studies of local Pskov architect, Sergey Mikhaylov, performed between 1970 and 1980, suggested the dates between 1124 and 1127. The Ivanovsky monastery was first mentioned in 1243. It was founded by Princess Efrosinya, the wife of Prince Yaroslav Vladimirovich of Pskov, who became a nun in the monastery. In 1243, she died and was buried in the cathedral. Later, a number of Pskov princesses also became nuns, and they were buried in the cathedral as well.
In 1615, during the Swedish siege of Pskov, the monastery was occupied by the Swedish army, and the katholikon was severely damaged. The monastery was closed in 1925. The building was subsequently used as a garage, a storage room, and a museum. In 1944, during World War II, there was a fire in the cathedral. In 1949-1959 it was restored. In 1991, the Cathedral of Nativity of Saint John the Baptist was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church, and in 2007, it was transferred to the Krypetsky Monastery.
Unlike many other churches in Pskov, the Ivanovsky katholikon is made of limestone, with some additions of plinthite. It has three apses and three domes, and its architecture is close to that of the katholikons in Antoniev Monastery and Yuriev Monastery in Novgorod. Originally, the interior was covered by frescoes, but almost all of the frescoes were lost. There is a belfry, built in the 16th century and adjoining the southwestern corner of the church.References:
The Palazzo Colonna is a palatial block of buildings built in part over ruins of an old Roman Serapeum, and has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over twenty generations.
The first part of the palace dates from the 13th century, and tradition holds that the building hosted Dante in his visit to Rome. The first documentary mention notes that the property hosted Cardinal Giovanni and Giacomo Colonna in the 13th century. It was also home to Cardinal Oddone Colonna before he ascended to the papacy as Martin V (1417–1431).
With his passing, the palace was sacked during feuds, and the main property passed into the hands of the Della Rovere family. It returned to the Colonna family when Marcantonio I Colonna married Lucrezia Gara Franciotti Della Rovere, the niece of pope Julius II. The Colonna"s alliance to the Habsburg power, likely protected the palace from looting during the Sack of Rome (1527).
Starting with Filippo Colonna (1578–1639) many changes have refurbished and create a unitary complex around a central garden. Architects including Girolamo Rainaldi and Paolo Marucelli labored on specific projects. Only in the 17th and 18th centuries were the main facades completed. Much of this design was completed by Antonio del Grande (including the grand gallery), and Girolamo Fontana (decoration of gallery). In the 18th century, the long low facade designed by Nicola Michetti with later additions by Paolo Posi with taller corner blocks (facing Piazza Apostoli) was constructed recalls earlier structures resembling a fortification.
The main gallery (completed 1703) and the masterful Colonna art collection was acquired after 1650 by both the cardinal Girolamo I Colonna and his nephew the Connestabile Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and includes works by Lorenzo Monaco, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Palma the Elder, Salviati, Bronzino, Tintoretto, Pietro da Cortona, Annibale Carracci (painting of The Beaneater), Guercino, Francesco Albani, Muziano and Guido Reni. Ceiling frescoes by Filippo Gherardi, Giovanni Coli, Sebastiano Ricci, and Giuseppe Bartolomeo Chiari celebrate the role of Marcantonio II Colonna in the battle of Lepanto (1571). The gallery is open to the public on Saturday mornings.
The older wing of the complex known as the Princess Isabelle"s apartments, but once housing Martin V"s library and palace, contains frescoes by Pinturicchio, Antonio Tempesta, Crescenzio Onofri, Giacinto Gimignani, and Carlo Cesi. It contains a collection of landscapes and genre scenes by painters like Gaspard Dughet, Caspar Van Wittel (Vanvitelli), and Jan Brueghel the Elder.
Along with the possessions of the Doria-Pamphilij and Pallavacini-Rospigliosi families, this is one of the largest private art collections in Rome.