2023 Author: Leah Sherlock | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:26
Venerable, favored by the court of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, possessing a multifaceted talent - in addition to icons, he painted frescoes, miniatures, made woodcuts - such was Simon Ushakov, whose biography sins only by the absence of the exact date and month of birth and the unknown origin. But this is already progress, since his great predecessors Andrei Rublev and Feofan the Greek do not know the date, month, or even the year of birth, and the latter also has the date of death indicated with the prefix “about.”
Not an anonymous author at all
A lot is known about Ushakov, even the fact that Simon is his nickname, and he was named after Pimen. This became known because the icon painter Simon Ushakov was the first to make his works copyrighted. And now, on one of the icons, completed in 1677, he indicates that it was painted by Pimen Fedorov, nicknamed Simon Ushakov. It was a tradition in those days to have two names - oneThe “secret” received at baptism was dedicated to God. It could not be spoken in vain. The other, “called”, everyday, was intended for life. Information about the artist can be gleaned from the signatures on other icons - one of them is kept in the Georgian Church in Kitay-Gorod. In fact, most of his works are signed.
Ushakov Simon Fedorovich, the famous Moscow icon painter of the 17th century, is considered a prominent representative of the last period of the art of Muscovite Russia, which began with the construction of the Kremlin, which became the symbol of a united country. A new stage in the history of Russian culture is characterized by new techniques and approaches to the depicted subject. The painting and architecture of ancient Russia absorbed the skills of representatives of various schools, including the Italian one. All of them worked on the construction and painting of the Kremlin chambers. New trends have made architecture, icon painting and other types of art more decorative, colors have become brighter, images have become more plastic.
In general, this transitional period from the old to the new art was bright and full of masterpieces of talented people (the icon painter Simon is its main representative). And therefore in history the second half of the 17th century is often compared with the Western Renaissance or the Baroque era. Indeed, all kinds of art and construction experienced a boom. Architecture flourished - a very large number of temples were built.
Secrets of origin
Simon Ushakov is a talented painter and graphic artist, obviously from an early agehe studied the skill of the artist, since rarely anyone before him and after was admitted to the Silver Chamber for the official position of a denominator at such a young age - at 22 years old. The exact date of birth is not known, as well as the origin. There is only the year of birth - 1626, and the assumption that Simon Ushakov comes from townspeople, that is, he came from the medieval class of formally free people. Although one of the icons signed by him (as noted above, he was the first to designate his works) contradicts this - the icon painter calls himself a “Moscow nobleman” there. Most likely, he did not lie, and later received the title as a sign of special distinction on the part of those in power. Another researcher of Ushakov's work, Boris Shevatov, writes that Simon was even a hereditary nobleman and that is why he had the opportunity to master the skill and then get a public position with a salary.
Variety of talent
At the place of the first service, his duties included creating sketches of various kinds: for gold, silver, enamel church utensils. The painting of the banners was also part of his duties, as well as the development of drawings and motifs for embroideries. The number of tasks needed to be completed was great, but Simon Ushakov managed to paint images all the time, both for the church and for people, gradually becoming the most famous icon painter. By making skillful maps, painting church walls, beautiful notches on guns - this talented person became famous for all this and many others.
Skill, diligence, amazing performance attracted the attention of the authorities, and in 1664 he was transferred to the Armory, where he was appointed to a well-paid position of “complained isographer”. Talent is honed, fame is expanding, and now Simon Ushakov becomes the head of all icon painters in Moscow. The biography of his later life suggests that he was not familiar with the poverty and non-recognition that usually accompany many artists. The last of the brilliant icon painters of the pre-Petrine era died in Moscow, in 1686, surrounded by fame, prosperity and recognition.
Shadow moments of biography
Although there were some unpleasant moments - in 1665 the artist was disgraced. He was even exiled to a monastery, apparently in Ugreshsky. But the exact address is unknown, as well as the reason that irritated the tsar - either a nudity in one of the paintings, or sympathetic statements addressed to the Old Believers. However, in 1666 the artist is again mentioned as a royal servant.
The first known work of the master is the image of the Vladimir Mother of God, dated 1652. He is notable only for the fact that five years after him, the first Savior not made by hands, Simon Ushakov, saw the light. They argue about him, he may like it or not, but the image has become known for violating the canons of writing. Realistic features appear in it, it is carefully and voluminously written out. Jesus has eyelashes, eyes shine, as if from a tear. And despite this, the church accepted the icon. Of course, this was not a revolutionary word in icon painting, but something new,certainly has.
In total, several of these images were written - some experts believe that in the artist's work he became programmatic. Trying to get as close as possible to the ubrus, on which, having wet his face, Christ himself left his miraculous image, Ushakov constantly improves his icons - changes some features, adds or removes inscriptions. It is believed that the artist himself and the students of the workshop created under his leadership were the first to look up to Western masters. They began to introduce human features into the faces of the saints depicted by them, which was not in the old Russian icon painting. Representatives of Ushakov's school, in his own words, tried to "write as if alive", that is, approaching reality in their work, for which they were subjected to harsh criticism from the Old Believers (Abvakum generally said that Ushakov, drawing Christ, blasphemes). Savior miraculous Simon Ushakov, dated 1670, was written for the Trinity Cathedral of Alexander Sloboda. Now it is stored in the Armory.
Images become more human
The faces on Ushakov's icons were strikingly different from the images of the Old Believers, whose name explains this. The old rituals, strictly preserved for centuries, dictated the manner of painting icons, which is very far from the surrounding reality. Darkened with time, they were strikingly different from the bright ones, since "God is light", more colorful and calm images of saints from Ushakov's icons. In his work, for the first time, the oldancient Russian art and new realistic trends.
For the first time in his works, elements of "Fryazhsky" or Western art appear. He borrows from them the perspective, and sometimes the plot - "The Seven Deadly Sins." There are dozens of Western paintings and prints on the subject.
Completing a number of great Russian icon painters - Theophan the Greek, Andrei Rublev, Dionysius - Simon Ushakov becomes a bridge to the next stage in the development of Russian painting. The educator displayed his views on art, on the responsibility of authors for their works, on the reality of the depicted object in his book “A Word to the Curious Icon Painting”, which was published in 1666, written, possibly in exile. The views expressed in it by the author are so progressive that some critics expressed the idea that he was not so bold in his pictorial work. In the book, he sings of the “mirror principle”, which speaks of the desire for image accuracy. In this regard, the artist developed a new technique of writing - small, barely distinguishable strokes that make the color transition invisible, they were called "melt" and were multi-layered. This made it possible to draw an oval of the face, the color of which approached the real one, to make the chin and neck rounded, to emphasize the swelling of the lips, and to carefully draw out the eyes. Ushakov honed all these tricks on his favorite images - the Savior and the Virgin.
Go to portrait
Thanks to this, he was still alivecalled "Russian Raphael". And not in vain. Because the first portrait of Simon Ushakov, or rather his brush, or parsuna (the word came from the Latin term persona - personality) is also a new word in art. He painted a tomb portrait of Skopin-Shuisky, a number of other parsuns of the Moscow nobility. The portrait works include his most famous icon, which is considered the greatest work of the 17th century, the artistic and political program of the era - “The Tree of the Moscow State”, also known as “Praise to Our Lady of Vladimir” or simply “Our Lady of Vladimir”, there are and other titles.
The main work of the master
This unusual icon, in addition to the Kremlin walls, painted as truthfully as possible and located at the bottom of the picture, depicts the Assumption Cathedral. This main shrine of the Russian state is also depicted with photographic accuracy. At its foot, two people are planting a tree “The Russian state is the gatherers of Russian lands Ivan Kalita and the Moscow Metropolitan Peter, known for transferring the symbol of spiritual power, the Metropolitan See, to Moscow from Vladimir, thus marking the vertical of power.
The work is a historical epic
On the branches of a tree, Simon Ushakov placed medallions containing portraits of people - kings (Fyodor Ivanovich, Mikhail Fedorovich, Tsarevich Dmitry) and saints with prayer scrolls in their hands, who did everything to strengthen the Muscovite state and its capital Moscow - the political and spiritual center. On the right are Patriarchs Job and Filaret. Metropolitans Jonah, Alexy, Cyprian,Philip and Photius. On the left - Sergius and Nikon of Radonezh and other pillars of Orthodoxy. Portraits of Alexei Mikhailovich, which he ordered from Ushakov in considerable quantities, have not been preserved. And the more interesting and significant is the parsun on the icon, since the author tried to give it a complete resemblance to the original. The tsar himself, his wife and two princes, Alexei and Fedor, are depicted as a group standing on the territory of the Kremlin. In the clouds, angels receive from the hands of the Savior the attributes of power for Alexei Mikhailovich. All this symbolizes the process of crowning the kingdom of the earthly lord with the heavenly king. In the center of the icon is the Face of the Mother of God of Vladimir with the baby Jesus in her arms. The canvas is signed, like other works by Simon Ushakov.
Other works of genius
His works include frescoes on the walls of the Faceted and Tsar's Chambers of the Kremlin, the walls of the Archangel and Assumption Cathedrals. Given the versatility and diversity of creativity (coins were minted according to Ushakov's sketches), there are many works left.
The icons of Simon Ushakov deserve special words. In addition to the above Savior not made by hands in various modifications and several icons of the Mother of God of Vladimir, the faces of Christ Emmanuel, the Kazan Mother of God, the Annunciation, the Calvary Cross are known.
Transition to painting
Today, 50 icons are known, which were signed by Simon Ushakov himself. "Trinity" is worthy of a separate description. It was completed in adulthood - in 1671. The date is indicated both from Adam and from the Nativity of Christ. Extended signatures were often made on the obversecanvases. The icon has been kept since 1925 in the Russian Museum, where it came from the Gatchina Palace. The composition of the icon was borrowed from Andrei Rublev, whose work, as is commonly believed, it is inferior in terms of strength of spirituality and philosophical sound. This is due to the oversaturation of the canvas with carefully written household items. With these secular details, some icons are more reminiscent of painting. Simon Ushakov was always interested in her. He was engaged in renewal, that is, the restoration of paintings. Actually, the "Trinity" is a step in the transition from icon painting to fine art in its purest form. He was well acquainted with the masters of Western schools and sometimes borrowed the background for his icons from such major artists as Veronese. Therefore, Ushakov is not only a great icon painter, but also a talented artist and graphic artist.
Disciples and associates
His many talents include the gift of teaching. Simon Ushakov even worked on a textbook for his students, the book was called The Alphabet of Arts. After his death, which occurred on June 25, 1686, an excellent art school of followers remained, among whose students were such major painters and icon painters as Tikhon Filatiev, Kirill Ulanov, Georgy Zinoviev, Ivan Maksimov and Mikhail Milyutin.
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