Trinity Old Testament, Simon Ushakov, 1671

Trinity Old Testament, Simon Ushakov, 1671
Trinity Old Testament, Simon Ushakov, 1671 - 1

  • Posted by Simon Ushakov
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1671

Overview of the painting :

Trinity Old Testament – Simon Ushakov. 1671. 124x90x3.5
   Below on the front side of the icon is a Greek inscription: “…in the summer from Adam 7180, and from the Nativity of Christ 1671, October 16, a thoroughness of the royal master named Pimen Fedorov, nicknamed Simon Ushakov, in Moscow…”. Discovered in 1927-1928. She entered the State Russian Museum from the Gatchinsky Palace Museum in 1925.

   Simon Ushakov was one of the central figures of Russian culture of the XVII century. He was known not only for the artist’s work, but also for the diverse activities of the teacher, theorist, and the organizer. For many years, Ushakov led the Armory in Moscow, which at that time was the country’s main art center.

   One of the typical works of Simon Ushakov, the “Trinity” icon was created by him during his creative maturity. As the main compositional scheme, mainly in the construction of the central group of angels, Ushakov used the famous “Trinity” by Andrei Rublev. But at the same time, he changed all her spirit and meaning so much that the viewer would feel more like the difference between the two works of the same name than the similarity. The main pathos of “Trinians” by Ushakov is to create the appearance of the material, objective world. Angels with load figures and volumetricly written faces are sitting on massive carved stools. The table is closely decorated with a variety of utensils – gold and silver bowls, high glasses and plates resembling the real products of Russian masters of the XVII century. A tree with thick foliage rises on the slope of a round hill, and the architectural structure has very specific forms and is depicted in a linear perspective. Turning to the traditional plot and preserving the compositional scheme, as well as old techniques in the transfer of clothing folds, the artist of the XVII century in the main rethinking of the image. By emphasizing everyday life, strengthening the material interpretation, he thereby gives the icon a secular character and at the same time deprives it of spirituality and philosophical sound that make up the essence of the work of Rublev. This is especially pronounced in the interpretation of persons made volumetric, using luminaries, small strokes, lying in shape. Light with an even blush, equally serene, they do not contain a tense inner life, are deprived of poetic spirituality.

   Duality also affects the very style of the icon, combining various principles of perspective construction. The architectural background, apparently, is borrowed from the painting by Veronese “Peace at Simon Farisei”, familiar to the artist, probably by engraving. A correct and clear perspective with a hint of lighting transmission enters into a dissonance with the image of a table shown in the traditional reverse perspective, and with figures by an angel located in the icon without taking into account real space. This attempt to combine the icon-policy tradition with a new manner coming from Western art is one of the steps in transition to a new painting, which is already characteristic of the next stage in the history of Russian art.