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20 June 2017 – 11 September 2017

Moscow, State Historical Museum

Organized by: 
State Historical Museum 
Moscow Kremlin Museums

The Moscow Kremlin Museums participate in the exhibition at the State Historical Museum, dedicated to the large-scale activity of Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia Macarius. He was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1988. It is Metropolitan Macarius who is associated with one of the most flourishing periods of Russian medieval culture. The basis of the exhibition is icons, manuscripts, arts and crafts pieces, as well as small statuary from the collection of the State Historical Museum.

The exposition is complemented by the items from the Moscow State Integrated Museum and Heritage Site 'Kolomenskoe' and the Russian State Archive of Ancient Documents. The Moscow Kremlin Museums loan two Old Russian unique works of pictorial art of high artistic and historical merit, belonging to the mid – second half of the 16th century.

The icon of the Crucifixion with the Two Thieves and Sixteen Marginal Scenes of the Passion was painted by Pskovian artists after the fire of 1547, for the Annunciation Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin, which was a domestic church of the Russian Tsars. This masterpiece belongs to the so-called symbolic and allegorical icons, which appeared in the epoch of Metropolitan Macarius. The theme is based on the four canonical Gospels and the apocryphal 'Gospel of Nicodemus'. The mullion illustrates the Crucifixion of Christ with the two thieves; sixteen marginal scenes present evangelical events from the Raising of Lazarus to the Sealing of the Tomb of Jesus Christ. The icon reflects all the features distinctive of the artistic manner of the epoch of Metropolitan Macarius, including narration based on literature sources, the richness of details and characters, as well as miniature brushwork.

The icon of St John the Baptist was a patronal icon of Tsar Ivan the Terrible. Originally it was placed on the Veneration tier of the iconostasis at the Annunciation Cathedral, but after the death of the sovereign it was transferred to the Archangel Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin and placed by his tomb at the Diaconicon. The tradition of putting the image of the sovereign's patron saint on the Veneration tier of the domestic church iconostasis goes back to the epoch of Metropolitan Macarius and Ivan IV. The icon of St John the Baptist was painted on the tsar's order by a Greek artist in the mid 16th century. An iconographic feature of depicting the saint praying before the God's arm in the upper left corner emphasizes the theme of the heavenly intercession of St John the Baptist for the Russian tsar and all the Orthodox Christians.