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andrei rublev

Artist: Andrei Rublev

Born: circa 1365

Died: 1430

Nationality: Russian

Movements: Medieval Russian Painting, Byzantine Art,

Novgorod School of Icon Painting,

Most Prominent Works:

○ The Man of Matthew (c. 1395),

○ The Virgin of Vladimir (c. 1395 – mid 1410s),

○ The Annunciation (late 14th century – early 15th century),

○ The Virgin Mary and St Andrew the First Called (1408),

○ Christ the Redeemer (early 15th century),

Holy Trinity (1425-1427),

○ Baptism of Jesus (c. 1410s),

○ Ascension (1408).

Mediums: Painting (Icons, Frescoes and miniatures);

Illuminated manuscripts;

brief summary

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significance

Generally considered as the greatest iconographer of Russia, Rublev is a religious artist, who completed various icons, frescoes, and worked on multiple illuminated manuscripts; generally recognized as the epitome of religious orthodoxy and iconography

Described as “a kind and quiet person, filled with light” by his contemporaries, he put profound “deep thoughts” in everything that he created. It is said that he prayed more than he worked.

Very little is known about his life. It is known that he was born in Pskov, around 1370 and that at some point in time, he became a monk in the Trinity-St. Sergius Monastery. Rublev’s surname, a hereditament at the time only possessed by royalty, suggests that his family almost definitely had some level of wealth and status.

In the 1360s, during Rublev’s childhood, Russia was a difficult country that suffered a series of disasters, the most significant of which, are the 1365 fire in Moscow (took many lives and destroying portions of the city), a few years later, in 1371, a widespread famine, and shortly after the invasions by Prince Algirdas of Lithuania. No evidence indicates that Rublev was directly affected by these events, but they do contextualize the period that he grew up in and possibly reveal his ‘heavenly’ inspiration and devotion to religion.

Artistic Characterization/Goals: Rublev’s works were considered the ideal style for Orthodox iconography and Church painting, altarpieces and murals associated with the Novgorod School of Icon Painting. The figures in his paintings are always calm and peaceful, and his aesthetic distinctiveness (the ways in which he far surpassed his contemporaries), lies in his distinct capacity to merge Russia’s intangible concept of beauty, with the rules and traditions of Byzantine Christian art. In the philosophical aspect, he also united an introspective attitude of Italian sentiment with the Slavic creativity. His works ranged from fresco and tempera paintings, to miniatures and illuminated manuscripts.

The Man of Matthew (c. 1395), from the Khitrovo Gospel.

The Annunciation – one of the Icons of the sixteen feasts (late 14th century – early 15th century), in the Annunciation Cathedral, Moscow.

Holy Trinity (1425-1427).

influences/legacy

Theophanes the Greek, who was a notable Byzantine master and is thought to have tutored Rublev, helping him develop his artistic skill upon moving to Russia. His influence can be clearly seen in a few of Rublev’s works, in the pose, gestures and clothing of the figures.

The Virgin Mary (late 14th century – early 15th century) by Theophanes the Greek, Cathedral of the Annunciation | The Virgin Mary (1408), by Andrei Rublev, Dormition Cathedral, Vladimir (originally).

Our Lady of the Don (1390s) by Theophanes the Greek | The Virgin of Vladimir (c. 1395 – mid 1410s) by Andrei Rublev.

Not only did he influence many artists around his time, such as Dionysius (c.1440-1502), but centuries after his death Rublev’s knowledge of spiritual symbolism and colour inspired Wassily Kandinsky, whose works reveal a lot of interest in Russian iconography.

The Virgin of Vladimir (c. 1395 – mid 1410s) by Andrei Rublev | The Mother of God Hodigitria (c. 1502-1503) by Dionisius.

Ascension (1408) by Andrej Rublëv and Daniil, in the Annunciation Cathedral, Moscow | All Saints Day l (1911) by Wassily Kandinsky.

Rublev’s reputation grew significantly in the 20th Century after several of his icons were rediscovered in a run-down shed, in Zvenigorod. In 1959 the Andronikov Monastery inaugurated the Andrei Rublev Museum and his status was further established after being canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church, becoming Saint Andrei Rublev in 1988 – becoming the first Russian painter to receive such a distinction. The artist also had a movie loosely based on his life: Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev, in 1966. Lastly, the Russian church annually commemorates Saint Andrei Rublev’s feast day on July 4th or January 29th.

  1. As a monk in the Trinity-St. Sergius Monastery, Rublev painted most of his works under a vow of silence and in a fasted state (Asceticism was a common practice among Russian Orthodox priests and monks at the time).

  2. It’s possible that his Christian name was changed, being named Andrei only after becoming a monk.

  3. Most of his frescoes were unfortunately destroyed during the Moscow Kremlin fire of 1547.

  4. It’s likely that Rublev painted one of the miniatures – portraits of four Evangelists and each of their symbols – in the Khitrovo Gospels, an illustrated Book of Gospels of the early 1400s.

  5. Because Russian icon painters never signed or dated their works, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when and which are Rublev’s paintings. It is believed that many other works of his are still waiting to be discovered.

  6. Already during his lifetime his icons were worth their weight in gold.

The Rublev Trinity: The Icon of the Trinity by the Monk-painter Andrei Rublev
By Gabriel Bunge (2007)

58 Color Paintings of Andrei Rublev – Russian Medieval Painter (1360 – 1430)
By Jacek Michalak (2015)

Andrey Rublev Official Website

Prominent Russians: Andrey Rublev
By Russiapedia

significant works

Artist: Andrei Rublev
Title: The Virgin Mary
Date: 1408
Medium: Tempera on wood
Size: 313 x 106 cm
Location: Dormition Cathedral, Vladimir, Russia (originally)

Artist: Andrei Rublev
Title: The Annunciation
Date: Late 14th century – early 15th century
Medium: Tempera on wood
Size: 81 x 61 cm
Location: Annunciation Cathedral, Moscow, Russia

Artist: Andrei Rublev
Title: Holy Trinity
Date: 1411-1425
Medium: Tempera on wood
Size: 142 x 114 cm
Location: Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

Artist: Andrei Rublev
Title: The Man of Matthew (from the Khitrovo Gospelfrom the Khitrovo Gospel)
Date: c. 1395
Medium: Tempera on wood
Size: unknown
Location: Russian State Library, Moscow

Artist: Andrei Rublev
Title: The Virgin of Vladimir
Date: c. 1395 – mid 1410s
Medium: Tempera on wood
Size: 102.2 × 69.5 cm
Location: Museum of Vladimir-Suzdal, Vladimir