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Virtual Tours round the Russian Museum

The Mikhailovsky Palace

The Russian Museum » The Mikhailovsky Palace » Room 1

Room 1

The Russian Museum possesses more than five thousand icons. Different schools of icon painting are represented in the exhibition: Novgorodian, Moscovian, Pskovian and other schools, which show the evolution of Old Russian painting.

The oldest icon in the collection of the Russian Museum is The Angel with Golden Hair. It was painted around the very start of the thirteenth century. Who painted the icon and how and when it came to be in a Russian church remains a mystery. The presence of golden threads — symbol of the majesty and immortality of the Olympian gods — betray Greek traditions, the heir to which in the Middle Ages was Byzantium.

The Mother of God of Tenderness of the White Lake is an early-thirteenth-century icon and an extremely rare and ancient work of art. Its iconography — Eleusa or “tenderness” (the Christ child embraces His mother, brushing her cheek with His face) — had been established in Byzantium before the twelfth century. The representations in the margins of the icon date back to an even older tradition.

The St Boris and St Gleb icon (Moscow, mid-14th century) is one of the most striking of medieval monuments in the museum collection. Boris’s deep blue cloak and its red and golden ornamental design shine forth, lending the icon a solemn and festive air. Boris and Gleb were two brothers, the sons of Prince Vladimir, founder of Christianity in Rus. Internecine warfare broke out following his death and both brothers were killed. Boris and Gleb were subsequently revered in Russia as defenders of the faith.

The Project “The Russian Museum: the Virtual Branch”
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