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Old-Russian Painting. 14-16 centuries

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on 11 September 2018

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Transcript of Old-Russian Painting. 14-16 centuries

Old-Russian Painting.
14-16 centuries

1. a particular depiction of a subject in terms of the content of the image.
In the Old–Russian and Byzantine art, the iconography of a particular subject established the canon (set of rules) of the subject's depiction.

2. a branch of art history that studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images.
The Twelve Great Feasts are as follows

The Nativity of the Theotokos, 8 (21) September
The Exaltation of the Cross, 14 (27) September
The Presentation of the Virgin into the temple, 21 November (December 4)
The Nativity of Christ/Christmas, 25 December
The Baptism of Christ — Theophany, also called Epiphany, 6 (19) January
The Presentation of Jesus into the Temple, 2 (15) February
The Annunciation, 25 March (April 7)
The Sunday before Pascha (Easter) — the Entry into Jerusalem or Willow/Palm Sunday
Forty Days after Pascha (Easter) — the Ascension of Christ
Fifty Days after Pascha (Easter) — Pentecost
The Transfiguration, 6 (19) August
The Dormition (Falling Asleep) of the Theotokos, 15 (28) August

Timeline of Russian history (12-16 centuries)
1237 The beginning of the Mongol invasion of Rus
1147 The foundation of Moscow by knyaz Yuri Dolgoruky
1299 The city of Vladimir performs the leading role
1327 Moscow duchy became the strongest among other centers of Russia
1480 The end of the Tatar-Mongol invasion of Russia
1547 Ivan IV the Terrible became the Tsar of All the Russia

The Principality of Moscow originated with Daniel I, the first Grand Knyaz of Moscow
1283 The Mongols burnt down Moscow
1325 Metropolitan Peter transferred the cathedra to Moscow. The city
became the center of the Russian church
1380 The Battle of Kulikovo. United Russian troops under the leadership of
Dmitry Donskoy against the Mongols. The first Russian victory

Core territory of Muscovy, 1300
Territory of Vladimir-Suzdal, acquired by Muscovy by 1390
Territory acquired by 1505 (Ivan III)
Territory acquired by Vasili III (r. 1505–1533)
Grand Duchy of Moscow (Muscovy) between 1390 and 1547
1478 - Ivan III annexed the city to the Grand Duchy of Moscow
Icons of the Saints
St. George and the Dragon
School or cultural center: Novgorod
Late 14th—early 15th centuries
Tempera on wood
58.4 x 41.8 x 3.5
State Russian Museum
St Petersburg
St George with Scenes from His Life
School or cultural center: Novgorod
Early 14th century
State Russian Museum
Hagiographic icon
Hagiographic icon

(in Russian: jitinaia ikona)
is an icon which center is occupied by the representation of a saint or some event of his life, while margins are occupied by borders of small compartments called
kleima, that
depicts episodes from the saint's life, death and miracles.
Characteristics of both icons:
red background
strong outlines
hierarchical scale
flat figures
no depth of space
icon of 14 century (St George with Scenes from His Life) -
more rigid, simplified shapes based on decorative principles;
light modulation of faces
con of 15 century (St George and the Dragon) -
more vibrant colors
proportions and gestures are more elegant
using of white highlights

Birth of Virgin Mary
mid of 14 century
113x75 cm
Tretyakov Gallery
, the Virgin's mother - the biggest figure at the center - is reclining in a bed.

the Virgin's father
Two servants are about to bathe the infant.
Four women bringing their gifts to Anna
The architecture shows that the event happens inside the house, most likely in Anna's bedchamber.
The Nativity
The Nativity with Selected Saints
School or cultural center: Novgorod

First half of the 15th century
57 × 42 cm
The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
In the center of the icon are
the disproportionately large figure, resting in a cave, and
as a baby in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes.

The presence of the Ox and the Donkey in the Nativity icon fulfills one of many prophecies in the Old Testament book of Isaiah:
“The ox knows his owner, and the donkey his master’s crib” (Isaiah 1:3) .
Here the animals are also shown providing warmth to Jesus by their breath.
The sky salutes Jesus with a star. This star is being followed by the Magi.
The angels
The shepherds are the first to be given the Good News of Jesus’ birth.
Joseph who looks troubled is approached by an old man (might be Satan who suggests that if the infant were truly divine He would not have been born in the human way.)
The Three Magi bring their gifts.
In Orthodox tradition, the Nativitys is shown in a cave, surrounded by impossibly sharp, inhospitable, rocks which reflect the cruel world into which Jesus was born.
celebrated on September 8 (21)
Nativity of the Virgin
The Nativity with Selected Saints
School or cultural center: Pskov

Late 15th century

81 × 71 cm
The Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg
The Dormition
School or cultural centre: Pskov

13th century

135 × 100 cm
The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
The Prophet Elijah in the Wilderness with Scenes from His Life and Deesis

School or cultural center: Pskov
Late 13th
141 × 111 cm
The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
The Prophet Elijah and the Fiery Chariot
School or cultural centre: Pskov

late 14th century

129 × 103 cm
State Historical Museum, Moscow, Russia
The faces:
light modulation on the dark background
According to the Bible, Elisha (Eliseus) and "the sons of the prophets" knew beforehand that Elijah would one day be assumed into heaven. Elisha asked Elijah to "let a double portion" of Elijah's "spirit" be upon him. Elijah agreed, with the condition that Elisha would see him be "taken".

Elijah, in company with Elisha, approaches the Jordan. He rolls up his mantle and strikes the water. The water immediately divides and Elijah and Elisha cross on dry land.
Suddenly, a chariot of fire and horses of fire appear and Elijah is lifted up in a whirlwind. As Elijah is lifted up, his mantle falls to the ground and Elisha picks it up.
In 1510, Grand Prince of Moscow Vasili III ended Pskov's independence and made the city a part of the Grand Duchy of Moscow.

Double-Faced Icon-Tablet
School or cultural center:

Late 15th—early 16th centuries

24 × 19.5 cm
The Museum of History, Architecture and Art, Novgorod, Russia
The story of Christ’s dedication in the Temple is described in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 2: 22-40). The elderly St Symeon, described in hymns as a “priest”, is inspired by the Holy Spirit to take up the Christ-child in His arms.

Symeon’s recognition of baby Jesus as the Messiah is shown in his deep reverence: bowing low and holding Christ with covered hands. Christ Himself is shown as actively blessing those present, appearing as Lord and Saviour, rather than a helpless babe-in-arms.
At the center - a four-pillared
– a canopy above an altar.
The ciborium itself was a common feature of first millennium churches, covering the altar and having curtains to veil the consecrated host at particular times of the Liturgy. The icon of the Presentation is therefore depicting Solomon’s Temple as a Christian church
Prophetess Anna -
an elderly Jewish woman who prophesied about Jesus at the Temple of Jerusalem.
with two doves - his offering to God
St Symeon with baby Jesus
The Baptism of Christ
School or cultural center: Moscow

Early 15th century (1410s ?)
81 × 62 cm
from Annunciation Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin, Moscow, Russia
The Baptism of Christ
School or cultural center: Moscow

124 × 93 cm
The Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg
At the bottom the personification of the Jordan River (left) and the Sea, which is represented as a woman wearing a crown.
They appear to be fleeing from the feet of Christ. It's based on the words of the Psalm 114,3: “the sea saw and fled, the Jordan turned back.”
Angels wait invisibly to receive the newly baptized Christ and clothe Him
The Locus of Heaven with the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus (pure visible)
John the Baptist
The Transfiguration c 1403 (?)
School or workshop of
Theophanes the Greek


184 × 134 cm
The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

from Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral in Pereslavl-Zalessky
“There were eight on the mountain, but only six were visible.”
The Three Apostles:
St Peter
is shown with hand out-stretched toward the transfigured Christ, as though saying: “Lord it is good for us to be here…” (Matt 17:4);
the younger
is a beardless youth, is prostrating;
is brown-haired and bearded;
the prophet
In the gospels, Jesus takes Peter, James, son of Zebedee and his brother John the Apostle with him and goes up to a mountain, which is not named.
The mountain on which the Transfiguration took place is identified by St Jerome as Mount Tabor.
Once on the mountain, Jesus
"was transfigured before them; his face shining as the sun, and his garments became white as the light.
" At that point the prophets
Elijah and Moses
appear and Jesus begins to talk to them.

Just as Elijah and Moses begin to depart from the scene, Peter begins to ask Jesus if the disciples should make three tents for him and the two prophets. But before Peter can finish, a bright cloud appears, and a voice from the cloud states:
"This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him."
The disciples then fall to the ground in fear, but Jesus approaches and touches them, telling them not to be afraid. When the disciples look up, they no longer see Elijah or Moses.

When Jesus and the three apostles are going back down the mountain, Jesus tells them to not tell anyone "the things they had seen" until the "Son of Man" has risen from the dead. The apostles are described as questioning among themselves as to what Jesus meant by "risen from the dead".
The Transfiguration of Jesus is an event reported in the New Testament when Jesus is transfigured and becomes radiant in glory.
The Entry into Jerusalem or Willow/Palm Sunday

Double-Faced Icon-Tablet
School or cultural center: Novgorod

Late 15th—early 16th centuries
24 × 19.5 cm
The Museum of History, Architecture and Art, Novgorod
The Raising of Lazarus
The Presentation in the Temple

In the Eastern Orthodox Calendar,
Lazarus Saturday
– which commemorates the raising of Lazarus — marks the end of Lent and the beginning of the Easter (Paschal) cycle.
, called forth from his tomb and still standing in the grave wrappings, which are being removed by a man
Martha and Mary -
Lazarus's sisters
calling Lazarus to come out
Jewish people
One person (in red dress) covers his nose - it shows that Lazarus had been in a tomb for 4 days and started to smell.
The end of the Great Lent and the beginning of
Holy Week
is heralded by Palm Sunday, which remembers the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.
The Great Lent begins on Monday seven weeks before Pascha.
The Entry into Jerusalem
Double-Faced Icon-Tablet
School or cultural center: Novgorod

Late 15th—early 16th centuries
The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
The Mount of Olives
The city of Jerusalem
Jesus Christ
on the back of a donkey
Next are the Apostles
Out of Jerusalem’s gates come the Jews who are welcoming Jesus and crying:
Hosanna to the Son of David!
Children are breaking off branches from the palms
Children laying branches and their clothes before Christ’s donkey
Easter (Paschal) cycle
(Icons from various Old-Russian schools)
is the center and focus of the image, he is blessing, his eyes directed to heaven. His clothes are depicted “white as light” as the Gospel writers describe, and the
surrounds his body. From his body, the beams of light are shown:
two going to the heaven, while other three - to each apostles.
In art,
- an ancient symbol, usually in the shape of almond which surrounds the figure of Christ or Virgin Mary, and symbolizes their majesty, glory and divinity.
The Transfiguration
The Transfiguration of Christ
School or cultural center: Moscow

Early 15th century (1410s ?)
81 × 62 cm
from Annunciation Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin, Moscow, Russia
The Transfiguration
from the Transfiguration Church in Kovalyovo, Novgorod
frescoes, ca. 1380
possibly Serbian masters

The Presentation in the Temple
School or cultural center: Moscow

124 × 92 cm
The Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg
Christ Washing the Disciples' Feet
The Last Supper
The Arrest of Jesus
The Agony in the Garden
The Last Supper
School or cultural center: Moscow

83.5 × 63 × 2.5 cm

Russian Museum
While the Passover meal with the Twelve that Jesus gave a radically new meaning to the food and drink of the sacred meal. He identified Himself with the bread and wine:
“Take, eat; this is my Body. Drink of it all of you; for this is my Blood of the New Covenant”
(Matthew 26:26-28). Christians have come to understand that this was the institution of the Eucharist: whereby earthly food – bread and wine – becomes the Body and Blood of Christ.

Scenes of the Mystical Supper usually depict the event in a straight-forward manner, as described in the Gospels: the Twelve are seated around the table;
John rests on Jesus’ bosom; and Judas dips his hand in the dish, revealing him to be Christ’s traitor based on Jesus's words:
“The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me." (Matthew 26:24)
The depicted events are not included in the 12 Great Feasts.
Before the meal, Christ washed the feet of the Apostles. By washing the feet of His disciples, He manifested His love and revealed His humility.
When Peter, shown being the first to have his feet washed, objected to His Lord’s humility, Jesus replied that if He did not wash His feet then Peter had no communion with Him. Peter retorted: “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head,” and this is how he is shown in icons of the scene, hand raised to his head.
The icon presents the prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane,
described in the Gospels:
The crucifixion Jesus was to endure was imminent. But, as a man He sought to escape it. He found Himself in a moment of decision. He prayed to God-Father,
“Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt”
(Mark 14:36).
Near Christ, the Twelve Apostles lay sleeping, unable to stay awake despite their Lord’s requests.
Finally, as Thursday turned to Friday, Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, so that He was arrested and brought before the governor Pilate.
4-parts icon, Novgorod
end of 15 century
4-parts icon from Novgorod
end of 15 century
The Crucifixion
master: Dionisius
School or cultural center: Moscow


85 × 52 cm
The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
The event is not included in the 12 Great Feasts.
the apostle
Roman centurion
Virgin Mary and three Holy women Mary Magdalene, Mary Cleopas and Mary, Mary, mother of James
The Descent into Hell
School or cultural center: Moscow

124 × 94 cm
The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
Adam (kneeling)
and Eve (in red)
Kings David
and Solomon
John the
The smashed gates
of Hell
at the bottom -
Adam's grave

The Ascension

master: Andrei Rublev
School or cultural center: Moscow


125 × 92 cm
The Tretyakov Gallery
The Resurrection
This iconography is based on the idea of the Orthodox tradition that the Resurrection is not content with simply showing us the Risen Christ, or the empty tomb.
The following Paschal (Easter) Hynm proclaimes:

Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

What is important here, that Christ defeated death. He was not content with laying in the tomb for three days after his crucifixion. Instead, while his body was entombed, Christ’s soul descended into Hades, or Hell. Christ descended there not to suffer, but to fight, and free the souls trapped there. Just as bringing a light into darkness causes the darkness to disappear, his descending into Hell resulted in Jesus’ victory over death.

Christ’s predecessors had descended to Hades, where they waited the his coming to get free.
The Feast of the Ascension is celebrated forty days after Easter.
Christ in glory: surrounded by the circle of light, supported by angels, and arrayed in brilliant golden robes.
Figure in red - personification of the New Testament
Figure in burgundy cloths -
personification of the Old Testament
Apostles in confusion.

Virgin Mary in Peaceful Prayer
Icon of the Ascension
15th century
The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
Double-Faced Icon-Tablet
School or cultural center: Novgorod

Late 15th—early 16th centuries

24 × 19.5 cm
The Museum of History, Architecture and Art, Novgorod
The Descent of the Holy Spirit
Pentecost (also called the Descent of the Holy Spirit)
is the event when the Holy Spirit descended as tongues of fire upon the Apostles gathered together and enabled them to preach in different languages.
At the bottom - a semi-circle, showing an old king against a dark background. He is often named as Kosmos and represents the world.
He is crowned as a symbol of earthly authority and represents all the peoples of the world.
He is sat
“in darkness and the shadow of death”
(Luke 1:79), and holds a blanket containing scrolls representing Apostolic teaching.
The Cenacle
(from Latin cēnāculum "dining room"), also known as the "Upper Room", is a room on the upper floor of the compound on Mount Zion, Jerusalem, traditionally seen as the site of the Last Supper.
King David's Tomb
A niche located on the lower level of the building is associated by tradition with the burial site of King David, it holds the sarcophagus, first mentioned in the 10th century.

However, the majority of historians and archaeologists do not consider the site to be the actual resting place of King David.
The modern view of the Cenacle, that was built around 12-13 centuries.

Folio 14v
The Rabbula Gospels, 6 century, Byzantium
Jesus before the Sanhedrin
(Jewish supreme court)
The Denial of Peter
Jesus before Pilate
The Flagellation of Christ
Carrying the Cross
Kiss of Juda
The mocking of Jesus
Climb on the Cross
Slide 32
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