Andrei Rublev

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Andrei Rublev was an iconic Russian painter from medieval era. He used to paint Orthodox icons and frescos in particular. He decorated the Cathedral of the Annunciation’s frescos of the Moscow Kremlin in the early fifteenth century.

He is believed to be born sometime during 1360s and presumably lived in the Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, Moscow, Russia. Rublev’s name emerged when he painted for Muscovite Cathedral in collaboration with preeminent Russian artists such as Prokhor of Gorodets and Theophanes the Greek. The latter was a notable Byzantine master and known to have mentored Rublev after moving to Russia. In 1408, he painted the Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir along with Daniil Cherni. Moreover, they painted together the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius. Following Cherni’s death, Rublev travelled to Moscow’s Andronikov Monastery where he decorated the frescoes of the Saviour Cathedral. It was marked as one of his last works.

The miniatures in the Khitrovo Gospels, at least one of them is speculated to be painted by Rublev. The piece of work that is authentically painted by him is considered to be the Trinity. It is currently located at the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. The artwork is modeled after an earlier icon known as the “Hospitality of Abraham”. He reinterpreted the Hospitality of Abraham by erasing Abraham and Sarah from the scene. In addition to that, he made use of subtle symbolism to divert the main focus of the painting from the figures to the subject of Mystery of Trinity.

Rublev juxtaposed two different traditions of art in his work. He fused the highest asceticism with the harmonized Byzantine art. The characters he presented in his works are characterized as serene and tranquil. Eastern Church painting and of Orthodox iconography are some of his iconic works that are deemed epitome of church painting and Orthodox art.

Once again the year of his death is conflicted. While some believe it occurred in 1430 at Andronikov Monastery, others assume it happened in 1428. His work played a pivotal role in shaping the ideals of many young artists of his time, including Dionisy. A church council held in Moscow in 1551, known as the Stoglavi Sobor approved and promoted Rublev’s icon style. They held it as a model for other church’s paintings and decorations.

Four centuries later, a museum in his name was opened at the Andronikov Monastery. It featured his masterpieces from centuries before. In 1988, he was canonized as saint by Russian Orthodox Church. A feast day is celebrated in his name on 29 January or 4th of July. To honour his memory and to present attribute to the legend, a film was produced eponymously in 1966, by Andrei Tarkovsky. It was loosely based on his life events, marking the first and only production during the Soviet era to present Rublev as a celebrated artist and historic figure.

Most of his indelible works were produced early fifteenth century. Such works include Nativity of Jesus which Rublev painted in 1405. The same year he decorated the Church of Annunciation with several paintings. He also painted Theotokos of Vladimir, St. Michael and St. Gabriel, (1408) for Dormition Cathedral, Vladimir. His Theotokos from Deësis is often confused with the work of Theophanes the Greek. Christ the Redeemer, Ascension and Apostle of Paul is now part of Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

Andrei Rublev Paintings

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