Mosaic Art

The Mosaic Magic of St Isaacs Cathedral – St. Petersburg

(4 min read) St. Petersburg is home to some of the biggest Christian Orthodox churches in Eastern Europe, housing a glittering array of lustrous artwork, incredible architecture and biblical scenes depictions.

St. Isaacs Cathedral, St. Petersburg, Russia Mosaic frescos
St. Isaacs Cathedral, St. Petersburg, Russia

St Isaacs Cathedral is by far the largest and most world-renowned for its stunning mosaic décor. The gorgeous, classic, decorative wall art that envelopes the interior of St Isaacs actually inspired the revival of mosaic art in Russia in the 19th Century, adding up to 62 separate masterpieces in total, covering 500 square meters!

Saint Isaacs Mosaic Artwork craftsmanship and St. Isaacs's Cathedral
Everything about this place is grand, from its size, craftsmanship, and architecture, to its opulent finery.

The bottom level of St Isaacs is adorned with mosaics based on sketches by T. A Neff; depicting linen-robed saints and famous, dramatic biblical scenes among its grand gold pillars and marble walls.

Gorgeous mosaic art frescos at St. Isaacs Cathedreal the product of patience, dedication and immense skill.
Several tiers boast a range of almost unimaginable scenes made in mosaics, the product of patience, dedication, and immense skill.

Stunning Architecture and beautiful mosaic murals at
Stunning Architecture and beautiful murals

The second tier of the cathedral focuses on the “Passions of Christ” and the four evangelists.

St. Isaac's Architecture
As though one looks up to the heavens, St Isaacs’ architecture is one of a kind and holy in its beauty.

The stunning beauty of St. Isaacs’ dome made of decorative mosaic wall art.
The stunning beauty of St. Isaacs’ dome

Mosaic murals and warm colours make a truly renaissance scene at St. Isaacs Cathedral, Russia.
Chandeliers, murals, and warm colors make a truly renaissance scene.

Gorgeous Mosaic Murals at Saint Isaac's Cathedral
Gorgeous Mosaic Murals

The mosaic replacements were an ingenious way to re-imagine classic church art, the holy scenes could be reconceptualized. Placing tile and smelt where oil paint used to reside protected the mural art from fading, and water damage and surged the interior with a unique style.

A stunning mosaic fresco depicting angels and saints at St. Isaacs' Cathedral, Russia
A beautiful, painting-like mosaic fresco depicting angels and saints.

A beautiful example of this mosaic replacement is the portrayal of “The Last Supper”; referenced with sketches from mosaic artists I.P Kudrin, the decorative wall art is gorgeously renaissance, echoing Leonardo Da Vinci’s own conceptualization of the biblical scene.

To achieve the wonderfully rich color palate; a complex series of techniques were used; small pieces of colored Smalti in over 12 000 colors were used to achieve the rich color gradients in the skin and metallic tones, creases in clothing and lighting effects, meticulously placed to achieve a perfect effect when viewed from afar. A similar effect can be seen in more complex pixelated art which comes together to form a gradient when viewed at a distance, regardless of its individual tiles.

“The Last Supper” mosaic fresco and wall art decoration
“The Last Supper”; a beautiful reconceptualization of the classic Da Vinci.

The decorative wall art in St Isaac’s is renowned for its perfection, the quality of craftsmanship involved granted it high praise in the 1862 World Exhibition; in London; where it was noted that the Russians “reached perfection in the making of Smalti unmatched elsewhere in Europe”.

A mosaic fresco of Jesus surrounded by his disciples at St. Isaacs' Cathedral in Russia.
A mosaic fresco of Jesus surrounded by his disciples.

A holy figure made up entirely out of tiny square tiles of mosaic smalti at St. Isaacs' Cathedral, Russia.
Strangely moving, ineffably human, and almost touchable, it is hard to imagine this holy figure is made up entirely of tiny square tiles.

When we look at the incredibly intricate portrayal of biblical mosaic fresco, we see blood under sheer skin, glistening eyes, deep textures in fine robes; the work of true mosaic mastery.

A mosaic wall art fresco of Mary Magdalene
Mary Magdalene mosaic fresco.
A religious mosaic artwork of The last supper.
The last supper mosaic reproduction.

Are you feeling inspired to enrich your soul with the decorative wall art of orthodox Eastern Europe?




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Kate S.

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  1. Danye
    August 7, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    Wow!! What a beautiful place! Thanks for sharing, beautiful pictures!

  2. Amber Myers
    August 7, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    Wow, I am in awe. So gorgeous. I would love to see this in person. I am amazed at the talent of people.

  3. Natalia
    August 7, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    I’ve never been to St. Petersburg, but I’d love to visit this place. The cathedral looks wonderful and I love its mosaics. 🙂

  4. Jennifer
    August 7, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    Been meaning to visit St Petersburg forever! Thanks for the pictures. Now, I’m really motivated to visit.

  5. Norma Nikutowski
    August 7, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    All these pictures are so inspiring and enriching for the soul. The decorative wall art of orthodox Eastern Europe is beautiful.

  6. Stephanie
    August 7, 2019 at 9:48 pm

    Wow, talk about a big mosaic! I never thought about it that these are just huge mosaic artworks. It looks gorgeous and I’d love to see it in person one day.

  7. Katherine Gamble
    August 7, 2019 at 10:48 pm

    I don’t know when, but I need to get there. These photos are so breathtaking and inspiring. I have to add St. Petersburg to my 2020 list! Great post!

  8. Lohas
    August 7, 2019 at 10:56 pm

    So much work and time have gone into these pieces that it is a lot of take in. The ceilings always have an impact on me, it s such a large space and so much detail that goes into it.

  9. Marjie Mare
    August 7, 2019 at 11:17 pm

    The pictures are so glamorous. I will definitely visit that majestic place to have an unforgettable experience.

  10. Glenda
    August 7, 2019 at 11:40 pm

    The Mosaic at St Isaaacs Cathedral is so beautiful. The last supper mosaic reproduction is my favorite.

  11. Tamara
    August 8, 2019 at 12:50 am

    This is a stunning article! It reminds me of my time in Italy. Ah, the memories!!

  12. Tiffanie
    August 8, 2019 at 1:57 am

    So incredibly beautiful! I have always wanted to see it in person! Thank you for all the detailed photos. It felt like I was there.

  13. Kara
    August 8, 2019 at 4:23 am

    What a stunning place to visit, the artwork is incredible

  14. kumamonjeng
    August 8, 2019 at 5:38 am

    St. Petersburg is in my bucket list as we plan to visit Russia in the coming years during the summer. Glad to learn about St. Petersburg now.

  15. Neely Moldovan
    August 8, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Wow this cathedral looks so incredible! I love the mosaics. So pretty!

  16. Angela Tolsma
    August 8, 2019 at 9:30 am

    I have never been but I want to! That amount of time and effort that used to go into buildings is a amazing and I wish we were do detailed today!

  17. tweenselmom
    August 8, 2019 at 9:32 am

    wow, I mean, just wow! Those artworks are magnificent and I really wish to see them with my own eyes someday.

  18. Kami
    August 8, 2019 at 11:12 am

    Just WOW, these images are stunning and I can only imagine being there in the moment.

  19. dreaming.loud
    August 8, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    These mosaic artworks looks awesome..! I love the pictures, such a great blog, thanks for sharing..!

  20. Lavern Moore
    August 8, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    Always can find great mosaics here. Today yet another great share on their display in the cathedral that many will find beautiful!

  21. Arya
    August 8, 2019 at 1:16 pm

    I always love traveling the world through your posts. Thank you for sharing x

  22. Sincerely Jackline
    August 8, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    St. Isaac’s cathedral looks so stunning..! The outside view from afar is already breathtaking, and the photos you shared, seeing its ceiling and bottom is so cool..! The arts are so amusing..!

  23. Emily Fata
    August 8, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    Wow, St. Petersburg Cathedral looks like a magnificent work of art! One day, I would love to travel here to see it all myself…. so stunning.

  24. Louise
    August 8, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    I’ve never been to St Isaacs Cathedral before but it looks magical. I’ve just added it to my ever-growing bucket list of places to visit before I die 🙂

    Louise x

  25. Heather
    August 8, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    I can’t get over the beauty of it all. I would love to go and take a million pictures.

  26. Krysten Quiles
    August 8, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    Wow it is so beautiful what can be done with a mosaic. Thank you so much for sharing this, it’s really stunning.

  27. Terri Beavers
    August 8, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    Your photos are absolutely stunning. If it looks this amazing in photos, I can’t imagine the effect of being there. What a lovely holy place.

  28. Lina
    August 8, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    There is no doubt that Petersburg has so many places to visit, and this cathedral is no an exception, love all the details and all the history that it has!

  29. Yeah Lifestyle
    August 8, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    What a stunning mosaic display this is. St Petersburg is on my list of places to visit and I would love to stop of at St Isaac’s Cathedral to marvel at this beautiful and magical creation

  30. Kiwi
    August 8, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    Wow so historical. I would love to visit this for myself!

  31. Angela
    August 8, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    This looks so amazing! I would love to visit there some day. The pictures look so beautiful, love the architecture too!!!

  32. Traveling Morion
    August 8, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    I wish i have the time and travel fund now to explore this interesting and beautiful site!

  33. Alexandra
    August 9, 2019 at 12:27 am

    I had the absolute pleasure of visiting this place in St. Petersburg. I remember like it was yesterday. It’s indeed very impressive! And although no picture can make it justice I have to say yours are really good!

  34. Kathleen Cregg
    August 9, 2019 at 12:53 am

    What amazing art! the mosaics are beautiful in St Petersburg! I hope to make it there someday!

  35. Christa
    August 9, 2019 at 1:21 am

    I’ve been here! I visited St. Petersburg last year and was in awe of the incredible artwork. It’s absolutely stunning.

  36. Cindy Ingalls
    August 9, 2019 at 1:30 am

    Although I’ve never been a huge fan of religious art, I’m always inspired by how beautiful old churches are with their intricate designs. It is truly awe-inspiring.

  37. alexandra cook
    August 9, 2019 at 1:55 am

    This is such a wonderful place. I’ve heard about how beautiful St. Isaac Cathedral and I always wanted to visit here.

  38. twinspirational
    August 9, 2019 at 2:07 am

    These photos of St. Isaac’s cathedral looks so stunning, thanks for sharing pics. The artworks are so amazing..

  39. Steazo
    August 9, 2019 at 2:44 am

    Such a nice place. I love coming into these places. Id also love to see St Petersburg in the future.

  40. Arunas
    August 9, 2019 at 4:43 am

    Yep, all the cathedrals are wonderful and quaint, especially their ornate interiors. This one is no exception. Very artistic!

  41. Jackline A
    August 9, 2019 at 5:15 am

    Wow, the artwork in this cathedral is breathtaking. Thank you so much for sharing.

  42. Ritu Sharma
    August 9, 2019 at 5:48 am

    This looks like an amazing place to visit. photos are all beautiful. I’d love to visit and see all of this in person.

  43. Margaret Ortega
    August 9, 2019 at 5:49 am

    Wow, this looks incredible. I love the intricacy. I’ve always wanted to visit

  44. Sundeep
    August 9, 2019 at 6:33 am

    I am loving all these pictures. And I would to visit this place.

  45. kevin Akidi
    August 9, 2019 at 9:24 am

    The cathedral is stunning, everything is so beautiful. The mosaics are so elegant and meticulously placed. Amazing

  46. Flossie McCowald
    August 9, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Thanks so much for sharing these beautiful pictures! Would love to visit there someday; I love looking at art like this inside old churches in Europe…

  47. Carol Cassara
    August 9, 2019 at 11:09 am

    This has to be one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen. I’ve been around Europe but I haven’t visited St. Isaacs Cathedral. I sure would love to drop by and explore the next time we go!

  48. Melanie williams
    August 9, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    Oh wow how amazing is this place. So beautiful and the detail in the mosaic tiles is fabulous xx

  49. Kuntala Bhattacharya
    August 9, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    Wonderful art, a perfect display of artistic skill at its peak. I really felt wonderful looking at the pictures. Amazing

  50. Tiffany D
    August 9, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    I still have this on my travel list of things to see. Truly magnificent.

  51. Fatima Torres
    August 9, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    You just made me want to make my way to St. Pete’s to check it out. THanks for highlighting this area.

  52. Amila
    August 10, 2019 at 12:51 am

    It is an amazing cathedral.Cannot imagine how they’ve made these beautiful mosaic arts,specially for the purpose of church art.Wonderful!

  53. The Frugal Samurai
    August 10, 2019 at 9:59 am

    That is stunning! My word incredible to see – will put it on the bucket list for sure.

  54. Kylie
    August 10, 2019 at 10:51 pm

    I’ve seen a few cathedrals in Europe but this is definitely one of the more spectacular! Those mosaics are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  55. Tushar
    August 10, 2019 at 11:55 pm

    The cathedral is so majestic! I’ve never seen anything like it.

  56. Melissa Corsari
    August 11, 2019 at 9:39 am

    what a spectacular piece of art and look at those stunning mosaics!

  57. Agnes Vazhure
    August 13, 2019 at 6:00 am

    This is indeed stunning! Those mosaics and other masterpiece alike must be know all by people around the globe! Fantastic!

  58. Lyanna Soria
    August 14, 2019 at 9:37 am

    That place looks absolutely beautiful. I love the intricate designs in those masterpieces. Going to places with such artistic skills on display makes me feel amazing.

  59. Arun Dahiya
    August 14, 2019 at 10:37 am

    Omg, these are so beautiful and intricate. I specially love the holy figure one with squared tiles. I wish to see it in person. Mosaics make everything look magical.

  60. Dalene Ekirapa
    August 15, 2019 at 11:51 am

    Mosaic art is indeed so beautiful! The whole cathedral in the mosaic art makes it simply breathtaking! Now I know why many travel bloggers tend to showcase the cathedral. I love it!