Icons ascribed to Andrey Rublev
Many consider Andrey Rublev the greatest Russian icon painter. His
works found recognition during his lifetime and in the 16th century
the Russian Orthodox Church already held them up as iconographic standards.
However very little is known about Rublev's life and only a handful
of facts can be related with any degree of certainty.
Andrey Rublev was born between 1360 and 1370 and died in 1430. It
seems that as an adult he became monk at the Savior Andronikov monastery
in Moscow, where he was also buried after his death.
Most scholars agree that he executed frescos of the Dormition Church
in Zvenigorod, the Annunciation Cathedral in Moscow (with Theophanes
the Greek and Prohor from Gorodets), the Dormition Cathedral in Vladimir
(with Daniil Cherny), and of the Trinity Cathedral of St. Sergius'
Trinity Monastery (with Daniil Cherny). Out of these frescos only
fragments have survived in the towns of Vladimir and Zvenigorod. But,
thankfully, we have several icons that bear the imprint of his genius.
The first two icons on this page come from the deesis (the Greek for
"prayer" or "supplication") tier of the Annunciation
Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. Some scholars attribute this icon
of the Mother of God to the famous icon painter Theophanes the Greek,
who worked alongside Andrey Rublev in that cathedral.
The icon of the Savior comes from the so-called Zvenigorod deesis
tier, which was discovered in 1918 in a barn next to the Zvenigorod
Church of the Dormition. The authorship of this piece has never been
seriously questioned. This icon of Christ has a dimension of psychological
depth rare for Medieval art. In the eyes of the Savior, we find genuine
humanity and unsearchable wisdom.
The last three icons on this page are understood to originate from
the Trinity Cathedral of the St. Sergius' Trinity Monastery in Sergiev
The icon of the Trinity is another highly venerated icon. This symbolic
representation of a Triune God speaks of unity in diversity and harmonious
fellowship of love. St.
Sergius of Radonezh (1322-1392) said that by contemplating the
Holy Trinity we may overcome the fear of the odious divisiveness of
the world. Today's world needs to hear this message as much as the
15th century Russia did.
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