Museum "Annunciation Cathedral" - One of the most visited museums in the Moscow Kremlin. It is with this temple that the activities of Andrei Rublev in the Kremlin are connected.
Blagoveshchensky cathedral has its own historical differences. It was part of the palace of the Grand Duke: directly behind it were the sovereign duma chambers, with which he was connected by passages. Through it, the most solemn processions were carried out, sometimes foreign embassies passed to the palace. They used to say about him in antiquity that he stands "by the Grand Duke in the courtyard in the hallway." This was the first most important house church of the Moscow rulers. All this led to the attraction for its creation and decoration of the best artistic forces of its time.
This monument, perhaps no less than the Assumption Cathedral, can tell about its ancient ties with the history of Moscow, with the Kremlin architectural ensemble. The genuine part of the Annunciation Church of the late XIV - early XV century, its entire lower, so-called "base" floor, has been preserved. It serves as a basement, the foundation for the existing building. This is one of the earliest preserved monuments of white stone architecture in Moscow. It can be used to judge the architectural features and the nature of the large construction in the Kremlin, which was started by Ivan Kalita and continued by Dmitry Donskoy and his son Vasily. It can be added that scientists conduct successful archaeological research under the foundation of this ancient structure and find traces of an even earlier construction.
The annalistic news of the beginning of the 15th century has been preserved, from which it is clear what this temple meant for the Moscow Grand Duke: he instructs him to decorate the largest and most famous artists Feofan Grek, Prokhor from Gorodets and Andrei Rublev with paintings. The cathedral, located near the golden-domed palace, next to another Moscow miracle of that time - the city tower clock with a ringing, was the site of important ceremonies that were supposed to raise the authority of Moscow during its active exaltation and the creation of a single state. Corresponding place Blagoveshchensky cathedral occupied during reconstruction of the Kremlin under Ivan III. It was supposed to give even more solemn character to the grand-ducal residence. Its construction went side by side with the creation of the receiving throne room - the Big, or the Faceted Chamber and the treasury.
Its creators were the same talented Pskov architects who "were skilled in stone-cutting tricks," who simultaneously erected the Rizpozhenskaya church on Cathedral Square, completing it several years earlier than the Annunciation.
The grand-ducal church was built from 1484 to 1489. In size, it significantly exceeds the palace church of the Metropolitan. Put on a high ancient basement, it rushed upward with its three-headed completion. Its main constructive and artistic qualities are characteristic of the Moscow architectural school. The image of the monument is such that it creates a joyful, festive, bright mood that was so characteristic of the art of the capital of this time, which corresponded to the general upsurge of national identity.
Later, in the 16th century, it was this monument that was most influenced by historical changes. It is more often than other buildings of Cathedral Square decorated, renovated, giving it more splendor, elegance, greatness. By 1508 basically, an unprecedented grandiose construction in the Kremlin ended, associated with the creation of a new metropolitan fortress and the residence of the Grand Duke. Then, in connection with the completion of the new large palace complex, the adjacent Annunciation Cathedral was painted famous Moscow painter Theodosius, became golden-domed, inside was richly decorated "Gold and beads". Its portals, facing the palace and the square, were redone in the Italian way - they created like small triumphal arches with lush carvings and gilding.
In the reign of Ivan the Terrible, when there were further political changes in the development of the Russian centralized state, The Annunciation Cathedral has acquired an even more representative imposing appearance: originally the three-domed church was then turned into a majestic nine-headed temple. So he came to our time.
The connections of the monument with historical events, with the life of the capital were diverse. One of the features of the Annunciation Cathedral is that it was a temple "at the royal treasury". In the basement of the cathedral, under its powerful white-stone arches, a part of it was kept. The main storage was nearby in the Treasury chamber, which adjoined the apse of the cathedral and was built at the same time. In essence, the chamber and basement of the cathedral were a single repository of the greatest state values and all kinds of treasures: “lalas and yachts, stones and pearls, all sorts of fencing, gold belts and chains, vessels of gold, silver and stone, silk clothes and all kinds of other clothes, whatever there is". There were strong walls, deaf forged doors, reliable locks. Not without reason did the basement of the state court sometimes turn into dungeons for dangerous political opponents of the grand duke. It was impossible to escape from here. Here, for example, in 1492, rebellious prince Andrei Goryai, brother of Ivan III, died in prison without waiting for a pardon. It is clear that this was a very reliable place to store signs of state power, archives and treasures. It was from here that grand princely regalia was issued to official ceremonies and then swept through the Annunciation Cathedral.
In the middle of the 16th century, after a great calamity - the Moscow fire of 1547, in the fire of which the Annunciation Cathedral and the Treasury Chamber were damaged, the tsar’s house church was turned into a kind of center for putting in order the burnt monuments of the Kremlin in order: restoration works of art were planned here, and the general supervision over their execution.
In the history of the Annunciation Cathedral, the 60s of the 16th century are memorablewhen Moscow, in an effort to reunite all the ancient Russian lands in one state, captured the city of Polotsk during the Livonian War. This event was dedicated to the construction of special aisles in the house church of Ivan the Terrible and the execution of murals at the entrance to the cathedral, glorifying the feat of arms of soldiers.
It is noteworthy that in the Annunciation Cathedral, as in other monuments of Cathedral Square, a patriotic, military theme is heard. Not the whole history of this interesting monument seems clear. Researchers are occupied with many related problems. Some of them are debatable. The constant and thorough study of the monument and its museum collection, archaeological excavations, and restoration discoveries take the path of truth in these disputes.
The largest event in the history of Soviet restoration was the discovery of works Theophanes the Greek, Prokhor from Gorodets and Andrei Rublev in the Annunciation Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. It was believed that the icons they painted for this monument at the beginning of the 15th century did not survive, since the annals reported their death during the fire of 1547. However, in the first year after the transfer of the Kremlin cathedrals to Soviet museum jurisdiction, they were identified, and in 1919 they were completely exempted from later entries. So, from the first years of its new activity The Annunciation Cathedral turned out to be a museum of masterpieces. However, a lot of time passed before the full organization of the museum. A large volume of work of restorers was the clearing of wall painting, which was carried out in several stages. The disclosure of the icons of the cathedral continues to this day.
Annunciation Cathedral - one of the richest museums of ancient Russian painting. Here are represented not only the works of Theophanes the Greek and Andrei Rublev, but also earlier works, many works of the 16th century. It preserved wall paintings, executed in 1508 by the sons and students of the famous Dionysius - the master Theodosius “with the brotherhood.” The paintings of the master Theodosius, organically entering the interior, merging with it, form a single whole with architecture. Everything here - and mural, and icons, and decorative decoration - is combined in harmony. The cathedral as a whole is characterized by a predominance of warm, soft, colorful combinations.
The picturesque ensemble of the Annunciation Cathedral not only remarkable in itself, but it is still a living example of how in the 16th century they strove to preserve traditions in art, how they paid tribute to the legacy, authority of the past. This is evidenced, first of all, by a careful attitude to the iconostasis with the works of Andrei Rublev, the most revered artist in Ancient Russia. In addition, the researchers draw attention to the fact that individual story cycles in the wall paintings of the 16th century clearly repeat (in general, unfortunately, almost unknown) the subject of the murals that decorated Annunciation Church at the beginning of the XV century.
A rare collection of icons of the Annunciation Cathedral Museum enables its visitors to consider the work of Moscow icon painters over several centuries. A large group of easel paintings is located in the southern gallery of the monument in addition to the icons presented in the iconostasis. Most of them belong to the Annunciation Cathedral, the rest are entered into the museum exposition from other icon collections of the Moscow Kremlin.
The exhibition acquaints not only with the art of Moscow, mainly of the XV-XVI centuries, but also with its origins. It opens with monuments belonging to the Vladimir-Suzdal art culture - icons of the 13th century “Savior of the Golden Hair” and “The Appearance of the Archangel Michael to Joshua”. Following them are placed works related to the most important periods in the history of ancient Moscow painting - the era of Andrei Rublev and the time of Dionysius. The largest group of works belongs to the second half of the 16th century. Almost all of them come from the upper aisles of the Annunciation Cathedral. A remarkable architectural monument, a collection of priceless works of art, a kind of artistic chronicle of ancient Moscow - this is how the Annunciation Cathedral appears before us.