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The Moscow Kremlin Museums’ collection preserves about 3000 icons. The historically formed complex embraces the period of the late XIth - early XXth century. The key monuments in the collection are items of icon-painting created for decoration of cathedrals, Tsar’s and Patriarch’s Chambers and chapels of the Moscow Kremlin.

Early icons which decorated the first stone cathedrals of the XIVth century give the idea of forming Moscow school of painting. Among them there are such icons as “Trinity”, “Our Saviour of the Angry Eye”, “Saviour Shoulder-Length”, “Saviour Not Made by Hands” of the XIVth century from the Assumption Cathedral, “Archangel Michael with the Deeds of the Angels” of the late XIVth century from the Archangel’s Cathedral. The Annunciation Cathedral houses the most ancient iconostasis with creations of the late XIVth - early XVth centuries which belong to the Theofan the Greek’s and Andrei Rublev’s circle.

Works by Dyonisius and his workshop that adorned the interior of the Assumption Cathedral, just built by Aristotle Fioravanti, date back to the late XVth - early XVIth century. There is the icon of the first Moscow Metropolitan Peter with the scenes from his life among them.

The significant part of the works is preserved from the time the cathedrals were decorated under the first Russian Tsar Ivan IV (the Terrible) during the second half the XVIth century. The Annunciation Cathedral accommodates the unique iconostasis complexes created for small side-chapels of Ivan the Terrible’s time.

During the period, when Moscow was becoming the capital of the integrated Russian State, the illustrious holies from other centers of Russia were brought to the Kremlin. The Assumption Cathedral preserves the oldest monument of the collection - the double-sided icon “Virgin Hodegetria” and “Saint George” of the turn of the XIth century.

Under the first tsars of the Romanov Dynasty in the XVIIth century, royal icon-painters worked in the workshops of the Armoury Chamber in the Kremlin. They created the complexes of multi-tiered iconostases of the XVIthI century for the Church of Laying Our Lady’s Holy Robe (icon-painter Nazary Istomin Savin), the Assumption (1653) and Archangel’s (1679-1681) Cathedrals. At that time royal icon-painters Yakov Kazanets, Nikita Pavlovets, Michael Milyutin, Simon Ushakov and others worked in the Kremlin.

The Moscow Kremlin Museums’ funds preserve icons from Moscow Kremlin’s architectural monuments destroyed in the 1930s, e.g. the Chudov Monastery and the Ascension Convent, the Cathedral of the Saviour on the Bor and others. In the 1920-1930-s, a part of icons from the abolished Solovetsky Monastery was transferred to the Museum’s funds.


See also: Explore the collection of the Moscow Kremlin Museums online