the left side of the Festival row of the iconostasis of the Annunciation cathedral attributed to Rublev include the Entry into Jerusalem, the Nativity of Christ, the Raising of Lazarus and the Transfiguration.47
The earliest contemporary reference to Rublev appears under the year 1408: 'On 25 May they began to paint the great stone cathedral church of [the Dormition of] the Holy Mother of God, which is in Vladimir, by the order of the great prince, and the artists were the icon-painter (ikonnik) Daniil [Chernyi] and Andrei Rublev.'48 The subjects that survive include the Transfiguration, Entry into the Temple, and Joachim, Anna and Zacharius. In the i420s Andrei and Daniil painted frescos for the Trinity cathedral in the Trinity-St Sergii monastery at the invitation of Abbot Nikon, in accounts of whose life it is related that the icon-painters 'decorated that church with wall paintings at the end of their God-pleasing and blessed lives, then departed to the Lord God, in closeness to one another, in spiritual union, just as they lived here, and this last painting they left as a memorial to themselves for all to see'.49 Other sources, however, state that Andrei's last work was in the Andronikov monastery in Moscow, where 'the beautiful church was decorated in marvellous painting by his own hands'.50 Sadly, neither these nor the Trinity frescos have survived, although the seventeenth-century over-painting of the latter may follow Rublev's outlines.51
Not one of Rublev's icons is dated (medieval icons rarely were) or mentioned in contemporary chronicles. Tradition alone suggested their provenance, supplemented later by stylistic and scientific analysis. This applies also to the Old Testament Trinity, 'the quintessential Russian icon' (fig. 12.2).52 Many studies give its dates as i422-27, on the grounds that Rublev completed his masterpiece for the new Trinity cathedral shortly before his death. The Life of Nikon ofRadonezh recounts how the abbot asked Andrei to paint a house icon for the local tier of the iconostasis (completed by 1427) 'in praise of his [spiritual] father
47 Alpatov Early Russian icon painting, plates 74, 76, 77, 79; Plugin, Master Sviatoi Troitsy, 21-43.
48 M. D. Priselkov, Troitskaia letopis': rekonstruktsiia teksta (Moscow and Leningrad: Nauka, 1950), 466; Polnoe sobranie russkikh letopisei (hereafter PSRL), xxv, 237; Tikhomirov, Andrei Rublevi ego epokha', 5-6.
50 Kniga o Sergii (Moscow, 1646), quoted in Tikhomirov, Andrei Rublev i ego epokha', 13.
51 Plugin, Master Sviatoi Troitsy, 509.
52 R. Milner-Gulland, The Russians (Oxford: Blackwell, 1997), 199. See also Andrei Rublev. (Sviatye zemli russkoi)', Nauka i Religiia 4 (1998), 32-3; A. Nikitin, 'Kto napisal "Troitsu Rubleva"?', Nauka i Religiia 8 (1988), 44-8.
Was this article helpful?