Central Andrei Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Culture and Art

Central Andrei Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Culture and Art was founded on the Andronikov Monastery territory in 1947. By the time of the museum foundation the monastery had been totally ruined, the museum collection was literally gleaned and the collected works demanded a careful and long-term restoration. Nonetheless, 13 years later, the museum was opened on September 21, 1960. The exhibition combines dozens icons disclosed from later applied drawings and cleaned after dirt, paintings taken from the walls of ruined temples and works of decorative art. Collecting pieces and restoration continue nowadays and are an integral part of the museum’s everyday life.

 The museum provides thematic exhibitions both in the monastery complex, and in its exposures. The exhibition covers following topics:

1. Iconography. This is the most valuable and significant part of the museum’s collection. An important and vibrant part of the collection is the Tver paintings. The Principality of Tver existed from the XIII century to 1485, when it was annexed to Moscow. The museum possesses perhaps the best collection of the Tver icons of the XV century, which are expressive and colorful in painting. Rostov continued to preserve the role of major spiritual and artistic center even after it joined to Moscow. The Rostov painters participated in the creation of the tremendous iconostasis of the St. Cyril-Belozersky Monastery Assumption Cathedral. Five icons of the iconostasis are stored in the museum collection. A special place belongs to the works and traditions of the great Moscow icon painter of the late XV-early XVI century, being assessed as the second painter after Andrei Rublev, and namely Dionysius. The museum has one of the best collections of metropolitan iconography of that period.

2. The monumental painting. The earliest example of monumental painting in the museum collection are two ruined iconic representations of saints, referring to the famous painting of the Church of the Transfiguration of Our Savior on Nereditsa Hill nearby Novgorod, built in 1199 and destroyed during the Great Patriotic War.

3. Arts and crafts. The major part of the collection is small classical works: miniature wood, stone and bone carving, copper and silver casting and brazen encolpions of the XI-XV centuries. A variety of iconography, decorations and casting quality is represented in pectoral icons and crosses, made by the Novgorodian masters in the XIV-XVI centuries.

4. Sculpture gives a vivid idea of the temple sculpture development since the era of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich reign. Flatness is common to Old Russian relief images, volume is taken as something conventional and pictorial means are widely used. The back side of the sculpture has often been cut off for the connection to the shrine’s rear wall. Apart from icons to pray, decorative carving has long been present in the temples, namely the iconostasis, shrines and the holy gates.

5. The manuscripts and early printed books. The museum’s collection of manuscripts and early printed books combines about two thousand literary texts. The most valuable among them is the book of Saint Basil’s fasting dated back to the beginning of the XV century. Among the old books there are Moscow, Kiev, Vilnius, Lviv, Ostrog publications – starting from the famous “Ostrog” Ivan Fedorov Bible dated to1581 to the production of the Old Believers’ printing works of beginning of the XX century. Only a small part of this collection can be represented in the permanent exhibition.

Leave a Reply