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March, 20 - July, 14, 2013

the One-Pillar Chamber of the Patriarch's Palace

Organized by:
the Moscow Kremlin Museums 

01# Icon In the history of the Russian state one of the most important place is occupied by the figure of Grand Prince Ivan III. During his reign the unification of the Russian lands around Moscow entered its final stage. Having possessed a brilliant mind and the ability of strategic thinking Ivan III was able to outline the main political tasks and trends that were further developed by his son Vasily III and grandson Ivan IV the Terrible. In the time of Ivan III the search for a new paradigm of the Russia's development has begun, basing on the idea of Moscow as the Third Rome. Its main objectives were formulated under Vasily III and acquired the form of a political programme under Ivan IV. The energetic spirit of the epoch found vent in the formulation of new historical and cultural ideas and the creation of outstanding works of art, such as the iconostasis of the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery and the monumental fresco painting executed by Dionisius for the Virgin Nativity Cathedral of the Ferapontov convent. The Grand Prince was the one to organize the major reconstruction works in the Kremlin, turned by Italian architects into an excellent fortress with a magnificent Assumption Cathedral on its central square.

One of the most important sections of the exposition, entitled "The Heritage of Byzantium and the Private Piety of the Sovereign", is to illustrate the new Moscow ideology aimed at proving the right of the Russian Sovereigns, as blood relatives to the Byzantine Emperors, to succeed to the Empire that had fallen under the Turks. Exhibits in the section reveal the Byzantine ideas and symbols inherited by the Russian artistic tradition. Items worthy of particular note are the "objects of private piety" - reliquaries, pectoral crosses, panagias, which belonged to the Grand Prince and members of his family. These articles were believed to serve the best proof of “kinship” to the Byzantine Emperors.

The second theme of the project – "Gathering of Russian lands" – covers the dramatic process of the establishment of Russia as a state of the united cities or principalities. The third section, entitled "The Descendant of Saint Vladimir", includes the items presenting the return to the national historical roots, to the history of the Grand Prince's family.

The fourth section - "The Way to Autocephaly" - dwells upon the policy of the Grand Prince towards the autocephaly of the Russian Church, when the authority of the Church was strengthened through the glorification of the Russian Saints, first of all those who had been Church hierarchs. Under Ivan III the cult of Saint Peter, the Metropolitan of Moscow, was established. He was revered as a prayer not only for Moscow but for the whole of the Russian land as well. The highlight of the exposition in this section is the icon "Saint Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow with Scenes from his Life", created by Dionisius for the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. It became the cathedra of the Moscow Metropolitans and the Grand Prince did his best to fill it with precious church plate.

The title of the fifth and the last section – the "Ioannes Vasilii dei gratia magnus dux" (Ivan Vasilyevich, Grand Prince by the grace of God) – is derived from the citation, inscribed in Latin on a slab from the facade of the Saviour’s (Spasskaya) Tower that faces the Red Square. This slab serves a symbol of Russia's openness to the Western world and proof of Russia's joining the European family. The section presents the works that provide evidence of the intensive cultural contacts between the Moscow state, developed under Ivan III, and various countries of the Orient and Occident.

The project, covering such a remarkable period within the history of Russia, introduces the figure of Ivan III to the audience and reveals his contribution to the development of the Russian state and culture as well.

General partner of the project is Gasprombank
With the assistance of Statoil ASASNS Group of Companies
Mass media support by Россия 24RiaNovostiРадио КультураВаш досуг