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Andrey Rublyov Museum of Early Russian Culture and Art, Russia

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Named after the 14th century Russian monk and legendary icon painter, the Andrey Rublyov Museum boasts the best collection of works by the artist and houses permanent exhibitions of icons of the Moscow School from the 15th and 16th centuries, sculptures from the 12th to the 17th centuries and various religious frescoes. Little is known of Rublyov's life but it is thought that he was born about 1360 and worked as an assistant to another great icon painter, Theophanes the Greek, who came to Russia from Constantinople.

Fairly late in life, Rublyov became a monk, first at the Trinity St. Sergius Monastery in Sergiyev Posad and then at the Andronikov Monastery in Moscow.


Russian painters did not sign their works until the 17th century, so paintings can only be assigned to Rublyov on the basis of written evidence or of style. Extensive written evidence has linked the medieval painter with wall paintings in Vladimir as well as those at the Andronikov and other monasteries in Moscow.

A large number of icons have also been attributed to him, many of which are housed in the museum or on display at the Tretyakov Gallery. Rublyov was trained wholly in the Byzantine tradition, in which the spiritual essence of art was regarded as more important than naturalistic representation.

By the 14th century, this style had given way to a more intimate, humanistic approach, and to this Rublyov was able to add an element that was truly Russian, a complete unworldliness, and it is this that distinguishes his work from that of his Byzantine predecessors.

The museum holds regular temporary exhibitions of icons and religious works and is housed in the former Andronikov Monastery, which was originally founded in 1360 by the then Metropolitan of Moscow, Alexei. Excursions round the museum include a look inside the monastery's working Spassky Cathedral, thought to be the oldest building in Moscow and still bearing traces of murals believed to have been painted by Rublyov himself. More info on: www.moscow-taxi.com

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