house of God, from the peasant hut, with one or two icons in the corner forming a 'window to heaven' or a 'High Jerusalem', to the private chapel in a prince's palace.75 Portable folding iconostaseis or single boards divided into tiers allowed the faithful to unfold a spiritual world anywhere. Icons were carried with armies in portable chapels and in processions of the cross on the street.

Ivan IV76

Developments during the reign of Ivan IV 'the Terrible' (1533-84) illustrate the complex links between art and architecture, liturgy, statehood and rulership, with reference both to Russia's perceived place in world history and to the enhanced role of its monarchs as protectors of the true faith. The notion of Moscow's rulers as God's elect imposed certain obligations upon them and required constant checks on the 'purity' of Russian spiritual life and practice. In 1547 there was a great fire in Moscow, which churchmen interpreted as a signal for repentance and purification. Icon painters from Novgorod were transferred to Moscow. With the help of Metropolitan Makarii, formerly archbishop of Novgorod, and himself an icon-painter, Ivan actively sponsored the production and collection of holy objects. Just as his predecessors had 'gathered in' the Russian lands under Moscow's leadership, now Ivan brought old icons or copies, saints' relics and other objects to Moscow from other cities. Makarii himself made many personal commissions, for example the so-called Borovskii Gospels in a silver gilt cover studded with jewels and mother-of-pearl (1530-33).

In the sixteenth century many new iconographic compositions were created to express complicated ideas that would 'appeal to the mind rather than the soul', as one historian has expressed it.77 Highly complex subjects illustrated biblical texts, hymns and prayers. A famous example is the icon from the Dormition cathedral known as 'Blessed is the Host of the Heavenly Tsar' or the Church Militant, based upon texts from Daniel 12 and Revelation 19. In it the Archangel Michael leads another horseman identified as Ivan IV and his troops from Kazan to Moscow (from Sodom to the heavenly city of Jerusalem), escorted by angels bearing martyrs' crowns. Unidentified figures may include the saintly princes Vladimir and Boris and Gleb. Earthly battles

75 See O. Tarasov, Icon and devotion: sacredspaces inimperialRussia, trans. R. Milner-Gulland (London: Reaktion, 2002), 38-9.

76 On Ivan IV, see A. P. Pavlov and M. Perrie, Ivan the Terrible (London: Pearson/Longman, 2003).

77 Engelina Smirnova, 'Moscow icon painting from the 14th to the 16th century', in The art of Holy Russia, 34.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Angel Ascendancy

Angel Ascendancy

Be Prepared To See Massive Changes In Your Destiny Guided By The Archangels. This Book Is One Of The Most Valuable Guide To Communicate With Archangels For Life.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment