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By Tamara T. Rice

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Even though there is no mention of a Court workshop in any surviving document, the three princes who formed the architectural style of Vladimir-Suzdal- may well have had one. St Demetrius is shown on this icon seated on a throne, holding the type of sword which, in medieval Russia, served as the symbol of sovereignty. As in the Virgin Orans the throne stands on a contemporary carpet of Anatolian or Caucasian origin. The Saint's face is as much that of a man following a religious vocation as of an alert military commander, and is a vivid personification of the gallant heroes who figure in Russian folk-lore.

Even these few fragments suffice to show the high quahty of the work, but they are especially interesting on account of their emotional content for they make no effort to conceal the anxiety and stresses to which those striving to enter Paradise are seated beneath the trees They on the where each stands aloof and assured, unaffected by earthly worries of the sort which trouble the Suzdalian Saint. The self-control attained by the Patrician-looking saints represubjected. thus present a clear contrast to the figures walls of Hagia Sophia at Kiev, 46 36 Another fresco from the cycle of the Last Judgement in the Cathedral of the Assumption, showing Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham, this time painted in 1408 by Andrei Rublev and Daniel Chomy.

Contemporary documents provide no solution, for although the chronicles state that 'Andrei sought no craftsmen among the Germans' (the word German being describe all to Andrei used in Russia almost into modern times to Westerners), they also mention that 'God brought from all parts of the artists earth,' 31 19 19-23 These details from the facade of the Cathedral of St George at Yuriev-Polski have been chosen to illustrate the diversity of styles to be observed in the sculptures. saints tine shown above and Western The row^ of present a blend of Byzan- influences, and so too do the decorations on the section of wall shown on on the other hand, the two figures on the left: two which is clearly derived from the East and which also embodies ///.

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A Concise History of Russian Art by Tamara T. Rice

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