Voices from Russia

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Russian History is on Exhibit in the Displays of the Andrei Rublyov Museum in Moscow

Filed under: Christian,cultural,fine arts,history,religious,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00


Inside the Andrei Rublyov Central Museum of Medieval Russian Culture and Arts at the Andronikov Monastery of Our Saviour in Moscow

The collection of the Andrei Rublyov Central Museum of Medieval Russian Culture and Arts reflects seven centuries of Russian history. The institution bears the name of the great 15th century Russian iconographer, St Andrei Rublyov. In the run-up to New Year, the museum marked two significant anniversaries, 650 years since the birth of the legendary iconographer and 60 years since the founding of the museum.

The Saviour-Andronikov Monastery, which houses the museum’s collection, is itself a unique architectural monument. It is Moscow’s most ancient monastery, having been built in the 14th century. St Andrei Rublyov supervised the work of painting its main cathedral, the Cathedral of Our Saviour; as for the belfry, it is the second-highest after the Belfry of Ivan the Great in the Moscow Kremlin. The monastery was the largest centre for the copying of valuable manuscripts; also, it safeguarded one of the most cherished Russian holy objects, the Icon of Our Saviour Not Made by Hands. A legend says that the image was brought from Constantinople by Metropolitan Aleksei, who founded the monastery to commemorate his miraculous rescue from a storm which caught his ship at sea. During the course of the centuries, the monastery was looted and destroyed many times by fire, and many of its treasures, icons, rare manuscripts, books, and masterpieces of church art, perished in those disasters.


Icon of St Seraphim of Sarov, an 18th and early-19th century Russian saint. This illustrated the Russian text of this article. Is this in the Andronikov collection? Could be… Russians are not pedantic Germans!

A new page in the history of the Saviour-Andronikov Monastery opened in the middle of the previous century when it was proclaimed a reserve. Its collection began to be restored; exhibits were bought by special groups or donated. The first items were examples of old book printing, a tiny prayer book, and, compared with it, an enormous 19th century Book of the Psalms weighing some 10 kilogrammes!

At present, the museum’s collection has 10,000 items, ancient books and pieces of applied arts. Yet, the museum is world-famous, primarily, for its collection of icons of various schools, starting from the earliest period of Christianity in Russia to the late Middle Ages. The pride of the collection is works by masters such as St Andrei Rublyov and Dionisy and closest disciples, who painted icons at the order of Tsar Ivan Grozny. “At that time, the so-called illustration icon appeared, some examples of which are presented in the museum’s jubilee exposition. For example, one such is The Nativity of the Most-Holy Mother of God. The icon demonstrates a turning point in the development of the art of Moscow, a transition from the enlightened refinement of the epoch of Dionisy to a dramatic period in Russian history, the one associated with the rule of Tsar Ivan Grozny”, said Gennady Popov, the museum’s director.

Before the 17th century, icons depicted only spiritual, noetic, life, but, later, landscapes and architectural elements began to appear. For instance, something looking like a tower on one of the icons reminds you of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Experts believe that the gem of the exposition is a five-storied iconostas, a work of the 17th century Moscow iconographic school. The staff of the museum is convinced that the jubilee exposition is an important stage in the restoration of Russia’s holy sites.

30 December 2008

Yelena Andrusenko

Voice of Russia World Service



Dakar Is Still Dakar, Even If It Is Held In Latin America

Filed under: Russian,sport — 01varvara @ 00.00


KAMAZ racing team in Moscow

The world’s most prestigious international motor rally, the Dakar-2009, kicked off in Buenos Aires on Saturday, 3 January. For the first time in 30 years, the race will be held on tough Latin American roads, rather than in Europe and Africa. Continual guerrilla wars in African countries caused the organisers to change the traditional venue for the meet. The fighting makes the race dangerous both to the racers and to the fans crowding along the track.

The new route will cross Argentina and Chile and then return to Argentina to make a huge 9,000 kilometre loop. The racers will drive into the Andes twice through passes located at an altitude of 4,000 metres. The road from Chile back to Argentina will cross the Atacama Desert, so, the route will prove quite hard to traverse.

“Most racers are driving the route for the first time, which makes it a complete mystery to them”, said Russian driver Firdaus Kabirov, “so, we will have to take our bearings when we are already committed to the course. But, the biggest problem is dusty roads, which makes it very difficult to overtake the vehicle in front of you. We will lose a lot of time overtaking other vehicles and we will run a certain amount of risk in the process. This makes the Latin American race very different from the previous Dakar motor-rallies in Africa”.

Again, the drivers of the Russian KAMAZ truck team, with their record of seven wins in the Dakar rally, stand the best chance to win this time, too. The Russian team is made up of three crews, just as before. Team captain Semyon Yakubov said he hoped that the Russian trucks, which have undergone exquisite tuning at the hands of super-professional and experienced mechanics and engineers, will not let the racers down. “The shock-absorbers have been finally brought to perfection. The suspension, too, has undergone major change, which provides greater travelling comfort and speed in the trucks”.

The Russian racers see their main rivals in the Dutch team, who are used to this kind of road, and, besides, have lighter vehicles. “But, we’ve come here to win, and we will try not to disappoint the Russian fans”, the Russian drivers noted.

3 January 2009

Svetlana Andreyeva

Voice of Russia World Service


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