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 Andrei Rublev St.

Born:   around 1370
Deceased:   January 29, 1430



Andrei Rublev is widely known as the foremost master of Moscow school of icon-painting, monumental and book painting of the 15th century. His oeuvre presents one of the pinnacles of Russian and world culture.

Biographical data about Andrei Rublev is rather scant: he was most probably born in Moscow Princedom somewhat about 1370 and brought up in circular environment; when a grown up person he took monastic vows, either in Troitse-Sergieva (Trinity Sergius) Lavra in Sergiev Posad or Andronikov (St. Andronik) Monastery in Moscow. There is also a version that yet as a youth he became a monastic novice in Troitse Sergieva Lavra. There are reasons to believe that there he was a novice under Nikon Radonezhsky (disciple of St. Sergii Radonezhsky) and could even meet St. Sergii Radonezhsky (Serge of Radonezh) himself, who died in 1392. Andrei was his monastic name, whereas his circular name remains unknown (according to the tradition it was probably also starting with A). His surname suggests he was coming from a family of craftsmen: rubel was the name of the instrument used for knurling leathers. There is one preserved icon signed with Andrei Ivans son Rublev; it belongs to a later period and the signature is obviously forged, yet it might serve as indirect evidence showing that the artists father was called Ivan.

Creation of Andrei Rublev was developing on the basis of art traditions of Moscow Rus; he was also very well acquainted with Byzantine and South Slavic artistic experience. The first record of Andrei in a chronicle dates to 1405 and indicates that Theophanes the Greek, the Elder Prokhor and monk Andrei Rublev painted the Annunciation Cathedral in Moscow Kremlin.

Apparently by 1405 Andrei had succeeded in icon painting since the monk was entrusted with such important work, and therewith on a par with Theophanes the Greek. Next time Andrei was chronicled in 1408, when he jointly with Daniil Chyorny was painting frescos in the Dormition Cathedral in Vladimir. Just three years later Andrei already had assistants and apprentices. Painters were attracted to him so long as by that time Andrei had already developed his original, genuinely Russian style. In the 1420s Andrei with Daniil Chyorny headed works in the Trinity Cathedral of Troitse-Sergiev Lavra. Unfortunately those frescos have not been preserved. In 1420 he created his famous masterpiece The Trinity.

The world-view of Andrei Rublev was greatly influenced by the atmosphere of national surge of interest in moral and spiritual issues characteristic of the 2nd half of the 14th early 15th century. In the framework of medieval iconography the artist contrived to express new, elevated understanding of spiritual beauty and moral power of man. He believed that man did not have to undergo the General Judgment after his death. According to him, a person pays for his/her sins with sufferings in ones lifetime. It is remarkable that the artist refused to paint icons depicting the Dread Judgment.

Andrei Rublev died in 1427, or, according to other sources, on January 29, 1430 in Moscow and was laid to rest in Andronikov Monastery. The Russian Orthodox Church canonized him in 1988.

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