Russia • 1360−1428
The whole life of Andrei Rublev is a few mentions in chronicles, less than a dozen icons and frescoes belonging to his authorship, and hundreds of art critic versions, historical legends and scientific hypotheses of varying degrees of credibility and argumentation. One could even doubt whether Andrei Rublev existed at all or was it a collective poetic image of a saint artist who wrote all the most incomprehensible in the Old Russian art of the 15th century. No matter how difficult it is to make your way to a real man, Andrei Rublev, through the canon biographies of his contemporaries, through layers of centuries-old renovations of his icons, through the ashes of burning monasteries and temples, he was still a unique artist, for his time and now six centuries after.

Old Russian icon painter did not sign his works, did not seek immortality through fame. Not interested in him and the search for his own style. There could be only one look - as close as possible to the truth. Hence the difficulty with the authorship and the almost useless attempts to recognize that Rublev himself wrote in the Assumption Cathedral of Vladimir, and that his friend Daniel Blackwhere is Rublev himself, and where is the so-called “Rublev school”, members of the artel. The artist Andrei Rublev was opened to the world by the godless Soviet power immediately after the revolution, and before that in monasteries and temples the icons he painted were traditionally tinted and covered with linseed oil, and every second merchant was sure that he had at least one icon of the ancient Russian icon painter in his red corner . And even canonized the saints Rublev only during Perestroika - in 1988.

Saint Andrei Rublev

Andrei Rublev - canonized Russian artist. You can’t approach his life with a standard biographical algorithm: parents, teachers, recognition, travel, friends, enemies, weaknesses and victories. Piety, education, humility, artistic genius and daily spiritual feat - so right. But even those scant records that have been preserved in the annals and lives of the saints, finish the canonical image of Rublev with one important living feature: he was incredibly bright and joyful.

In the XIV century there were almost no names in Russia, only princes and boyars, and the peasants would receive such a privilege only after 5 centuries, after the abolition of serfdom. And the surname of Rublev, preserved in history, reveals several mysteries not registered in the annals. First: the artist came from an educated, and possibly a high-ranking family. The second: for the monk, the surname preserved in all written references is evidence of his special recognition and reverence as a master. The surnames, along with the worldly name, were lost even among the holy fathers and elders, often changed to nicknames with reference to the place of asceticism, and contemporaries kept their surname to Rublev.

The version of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra as the place of mowing and the first years of Andrei's obedience is very poetic and fits into the picture of his spiritual life with an ideal puzzle. If that was the case, Rublev could find Sergius of Radonezh himself, a collector of the Russian land, a preacher of unity, one of the main instigators and creators of Russian culture alive. But even if the artist did not start his monastic way here, he breathed this air, new, giving hope for justice and all-conquering love.

Rublev was supposed to be about 20 years old when, for the first time, the combined forces of the Russian principalities came out against the Tatars and won. His young faith in man and faith in unity were raised and fed by those people who fought alongside Dmitry Donskoy against the Tatars, and their children, who were proud of their fathers. It was the time of the first spiritual ascent in Russia: pagan traditions are only now passing away, more than a hundred monasteries are opened in one Moscow principality, a common thing for Rusich is knowledge of the Greek language and travel to Constantinople, Russian professional writers, Russian artists appear, who cease be faceless, whose names are remembered.

And one of the features "Characteristic of the era of intensive growth of the value of the human person, was the friendship, for the first time especially noted by the book" (D. Likhachev). The “Sopostovnik”, a friend, a creator, a possible teacher and the closest person for Rublev, is the artist Daniel Cherny. They will write together all their lives and live side by side, together they will paint the walls of the Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir and the Trinity Cathedral of the Trinity-Sergius Monastery. And in the days of big holidays, when it’s impossible to work, after the festive church service in the Assumption Cathedral of the Kremlin, the two of them will sit down on tall wooden benches and watch the ancient Byzantine paintings on the walls of temples for hours on end.

Now Moscow is very close, because Andrei Rublev is a monk of the Andronikov monastery. Most likely, he moved closer to Moscow as one of the most powerful art centers. It arranges public fiction of the famous Theophanes the Greek, other excellent Byzantine masters work here, new churches are being built and painted, here a prince chooses the best masters. And in the painting of the Cathedral of the Annunciation of the Kremlin, along with Feofan Grek in 1405, Andrei Rublev is already involved.

But the artist will still return to the Trinity-Sergius Monastery, as a glorified master, in order to “paint the glory of Sergius” the white-stone Trinity Cathedral, rebuilt on the site of the old wooden church burned by the Tatars. It is here, for the new iconostasis, that Rublev will write the incomprehensible "Trinity".

He died in old age in the Andronik monastery and was buried near the walls of the old bell tower. Andrew died before a friend and, according to legend, before the death of Daniel came to him, calling for "eternal bliss." The image of Rublev was bright and joyful.

Artist Andrei Rublev

Even a hundred years after the death of Rublev, they considered it an immutable authority; at the Stoglav Cathedral, his name will be the only one in the instruction for all painters: “Pisati to icon painters icons from ancient translations, how Greek icon painters wrote and as Andrei Rublev and other notorious icon painters wrote”. The burial place of Rublev was honored and remembered until the end of the 17th century, and then it was lost. Secular people of the 18th and 19th centuries hardly felt the importance and closeness of the artist. Until then, until it was time big shocks.

The Commission for the disclosure and preservation of ancient Russian painting, established in 1918, was originally a blasphemous undertaking. Icons were taken out of the iconostases of ancient monasteries and temples, sent to the Restoration workshops, where they removed the later layers of paint and opened the most ancient, valuable originals for art history. The iconostases gaped holes, the icons belonged to the state, and the monasteries became museums. But a strange thing, after hundreds of years, this blasphemy is already seen as the wisest and most miraculous possible decision: in the meat grinder of total destruction and destruction of religious shrines, the Commission managed to preserve the most valuable artistic monuments - on the one hand, and the perhaps not the only, prohibitively powerful, guide to the church and to faith for the Soviet people.

Author: Anna Sidelnikova
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