Simplicity and Strength of the Oldest Moscow Church

Simplicity and Strength of the Oldest Moscow Church

3 minutes to read

There are dozens of churches in Moscow. Most of them are created in the 18th and the 19th century in baroque or classical style, richly decorated with columns, fretwork, and golden domes. The oldest Moscow churches are simple, but radiating spiritual strength. The Cathedral of the Savior was built at the beginning of the 15th century on the territory of the Savior St. Andronicus Monastery. Nowadays, the monastery is home to Andrey Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Art.

Photo © credits to Alex Rosh
Photo © credits to Alex Rosh

Andrey Rublev’s icons expressed the spirit of Russian people

Andrey Rublev, a genius Russian icon painter, frescoed the Cathedral of the Savior, and now his name is given to the Museum of Old Russian Art. Someone said that the spirit of Russian people is expressed in the best way in Alexander Pushkin’s poems and Andrey Rublev’s icons. His works reflected the spiritual ideals of the Russian people, made them feel the unity and harmony, love and joy, inspired them to love God and not to be afraid of Him. His characters are humble, elevated and ‘human’. A very few works of Andrey Rublev survived, and the most famous one is “Trinity”.

Photo © credits to Andrey Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Art. Andrey Rublev frescoes the Cathedral of the Savior
Photo © credits to Andrey Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Art. Andrey Rublev frescoes the Cathedral of the Savior

Russian icon, a window to the unearthly world

In the Museum of Ancient Russian Art, there are no Andrey Rublev’s works, but you will see many wonderful icons of different ages here. The Russian icon is not just a portrait or a picture for worshiping. From the spiritual point of view, it is a window to the unearthly world, through which a worshiper can connect to God, or a saint, or an important spiritual event and get some spiritual powers from them to overcome external circumstances or internal sorrows.

Photo © credits to Andrey Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Art
Photo © credits to Andrey Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Art

Henri Matisse admired Russian icons as artworks

The first artist who admired Russian icons as artworks was Henri Matisse. He was impressed by their spirituality and deep philosophy, pure colours and perfect composition. Visiting Moscow in 1911, he spent his days in the monasteries, churches and private collections. He said that icons are the primary source of all artistic endeavor and the modern artist should derive his inspiration from these primitives.

Photo © credits to Andrey Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Art
Photo © credits to Andrey Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Art
They are really great art. I am in love with their moving simplicity. In these icons the soul of the artist who painted them opens out like a mystical flower. And from them we ought to learn how to understand art. Such a wealth of pure color, such spontaneity of expression I have never seen anywhere else. This is Moscow's finest heritage. Henri Matisse
Photo © credits to Andrey Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Art
Photo © credits to Andrey Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Art

Andrey Rublev's Museum of Ancient Russian Art located in the Savior St. Andronicus Monastery is a unique spiritual and cultural place. Here, you can see the oldest Moscow church, the Cathedral of the Savior built in the time of Andrey Rublev. You can also listen about the enthusiasts who hardly saved it from the destruction in the Soviet time and established the museum in 1947. Moreover, you can see the collection of icons, works of ornamental art, manuscripts and early printed books, and fresco fragments, that make you feel the simplicity and strength of the ancient Russian culture. The museum offers visitors a variety of general and specialized guided tours.

Andrey Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Art
Andrey Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Art
Андроньевская пл., 10, Москва, Россия, 105120

Cover photo © credits to azbuka.ru

Mentioned places


The author

Victoria Derzhavina

Victoria Derzhavina

I live in Moscow. I am passionate about travelling, history, nature and architecture. I worked as a tourist guide in Moscow and other Russian cities for several years. I get inspiration visiting new places and like sharing it with others.

Stories you might also like


Responses