their works. The characteristic 'emerald' green can be seen in the mountains in the icon of the Syntaxis of the Mother of God (late fourteenth century), a composition based on a hymn glorifying the Nativity of Our Lord. The familiar shepherds, angels and Magi above are joined by a cantor and choir of deacons below, an image of the liturgy itself, which draws in the congregation who will praise God and bring their own gifts to Christ through worship/7 Other regional centres of high-quality icon painting were Vladimir, Suzdal, Rostov and Tver, whose princes in the fourteenth century were contenders for political leadership/8 One of the most celebrated Tver icons is the so-called Blue Dormition (late fifteenth century), one of countless examples of a popular subject/9 What scholars dub a 'Northern' school ofnaive or 'primitive' art also emerged, distinguished by crude but bold draughtsmanship and the incorporation of folk motifs.

In all these centres the workshops of princes, archbishops and monasteries produced manuscript books. Various skills were required to make the ceremonial liturgical volumes - the Gospels, Acts of the Apostles and Psalter -which were used during services, borne in processions by priests and displayed before the altar. Many were richly bound in covers (oklady) of precious metals, engraved and embellished with gems. Manuscript illumination developed relatively late in Russia and remained very reliant upon icons and frescos as models. Images were used not as illustrations, but as embellishments of texts that the artists themselves may have been unable to read. The most frequent motifs were the four Evangelists, transmitters of the holy books. Major examples were the Siisk (i339-4o) and Khitrovo Gospels (c. i4i5), both of which were produced in Moscow.2CI


From the fourteenth century political and religious power increasingly focused on the city and principality of Moscow, whose ambitious rulers of the line

17 Illustrated in I. Kozlova, Masterpieces of the Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow: Acropolis, i994), i8.

18 SeeN. V Rozanova, Rostovo-suzdal'skaiazhivopis'XII-XVIvekov(Moscow: Izobrazitel'noe iskusstvo, i97o); V L. Vakhrina, IkonyRostovaVelikogo (Moscow: Severnyipalomnik, 2oo3); A. Rybakov, Vologodskaia ikona: tsentry khudozhestvennoi kul'tury zemli Vologodskoi XIII-XVIII vekov (Moscow: Galart, i995).

19 Illustrated in Masterpieces of the Tretyakov Gallery, 3i. See below on churches of the Dormition.

20 J. Cracraft, The Petrine revolution inRussian imagery (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, i997), 64; O. S. Popova, Russian illuminated manuscripts (London and New York: Thames and Hudson, i984).

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