Compiled by Robert Bird:

Historical documentation on Andrei Rublev

Excerpted from V. N. Lazarev, Andrei Rublev i ego shkola (Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1966) 75–78.
The material is published here for the first time in English. Translation copyright by Robert Bird (University of Chicago, Slavic Languages and Literatures).

1405, Chronicle of Trinity Monastery

"That same spring they began to paint the stone church of the Holy Annunciation at the palace of Grand Prince, not the one that currently stands, and the masters were Theophanes the Greek icon-painter, Prokhor the elder from Gorodets, and the monk Andrei Rublev, and they finished that same year..."

1408, Chronicle of Trinity Monastery

"That same year on May 25 they began to paint the great cathedral stone church of the Holy Mother of God in Vladimir, on the order of the Grand Prince, and the masters were Danilo the icon-painter and Andrei Rublev."

1400–1418, Epiphanius the Most Wise, "Life of St. Sergius"
[During the leadership of Alexander at the Andronikov Monastery, 1410s]

"At this time in this monastery the hegumen was Alexander, the disciple of the aforementioned Savva, a virtuous man, wise and very accomplished. So was another elder, Andrei by name, who exceeded all others in his great wisdom, and had pious grey hair, and much else. By these two was the monastery built in Christ's grace, and they held benevolent counsel with the brotherhood [of the monastery] and with God's help they created their own very beautiful stone church in the monastery and decorated it with their own hands in memory of their fathers, which can be seen to this day."

1450s, "Life of Nikon" from the Second Sophia Chronicle

"But the most venerable [Nikon] was overcome with a great wish, with faith, and remaining continuously in this state, desired to see with his own eyes the church completed and decorated; so he quickly gathered painters, very great men, superior to all others, and perfect in virtue, Danil by name and Andrei his spiritual brother, and some others with them; and they did the job quickly, as they foresaw in their spirit the end of the lives of these spiritual fathers, which would occur soon upon the completion of the job. But since God was helping to complete the most venerable one's job, they devoted themselves to it assiduously and beautified the church with the most various paintings, which to this day are capable of astounding viewers. Leaving their final handiwork and memory, the venerable ones remained a short while before the humble Andrei departed this life and went to the Lord first, and then his spiritual brother Danilo the most pious, who had lived well thanks to God and who piously accepted a good end in old age. When Danil was preparing to separate himself from his bodily union, he saw his beloved Andrei, who had preceded him in death, and called out to him in joy. When Danil saw Andrei, whom he loved, he filled with great joy and confessed the visitation of his spiritual brother to the monks who stood before him, and thus in joy he gave over his spirit to the Lord.

1440s[?], "Tale of the Transfer of Sergius' Relics"

"This must also be mentioned: the wish of our venerable father and abbot Nikon was fulfilled, and in his name were invited the wonderful virtuous elders and icon-painters Danil and the aforementioned Andrei, who had won themselves eternally spiritual brotherhood and great love, and as they decorated with painting this church and the end of their God-pleasing and blessed life, and thus they departed to the Lord in each other's sight and in spiritual union, just as they lived here and they left this final inscription in their memory to be seen by all".

Late 15th century, Joseph of Volokolamsk (1439-1515)

"The metropolitan Aleksei, the new miracle-worker, created two monasteries, Andronikov and Chudov, and for Andronikov monastery he chose Holy Andronik from [the monastery of] Saint Sergius. Holy Andronik was radiant with great virtues and with him were his disciples Savva and Alexander, and wonderful and famous icon-painters Daniil and his pupil Andrei, and many other similar people, who had such virtue and such care for fasting and monastic life that would make them worthy of God's grace, and only to ascend to divine love, never worrying about earthly cares, but always raising their mind and thought to the immaterial and divine light, always raising their sensible eye to the eternally painted images of Christ our Lord and His Most Pure Mother of God and all the saints, as if seated on thrones at the very feast of the most radiant Resurrection of Christ and beholding before them the divine and most-holy icons, which they ceaselessly look upon; and thus they were filled with divine joy and radiance. And not only did they work thus on this day, but only other days as well, when they were not occupied with painting. For this reason Christ our Lord glorified them in their final mortal hour. First Andrei died, then his spiritual brother Daniil became sick and, in the final breath of strength, saw his spiritual brother Andrei in great glory, calling him into this eternal and infinite blessedness."

1551, Council of One Hundred Chapters (Stoglav Council)

Icons should be painted "from the ancient standards, as Greek icon-painters painted and as Andrei Rublev painted along with other famous icon-painters."

17th century, "Tale of the Holy Icon-painters"

"Venerable Andrei, the icon-painter from Radonezh, known as Rublev, painted many holy icons which were wondrous and very beautiful. This Andrei earlier lived in obedience to venerable father Nikon of Radonezh. The latter ordered him to paint an image of the Most Holy Trinity in praise of his father, Saint Sergius the wonderworker. Later he lived at Andronikov Monastery with his friend Daniil, and died there."
"Venerable father Daniil, friend and spiritual brother of father Andrei, called the Black [or the Monk], painted many holy icons. This Daniil lived inseparably with Andrei who came to him after death. At the Monastery of the Holy Saviour of venerable fathers Andronik and Savva, they painted the church with frescoes and icons on the invitation of hegumen Alexander. Here they were found worthy of falling asleep in the Lord. See about him in the life of St. Nikon."

18th–19th centuries.

Total loss of concrete knowledge of Rublev. Each Old Believer imagined his icons to have been "painted by Rublev." In a 1907 monograph N. P. Likhachev argued that the only reliable attribution was Rublev's Trinity, which had been cleaned in 1904, and that it should be taken as the point of departure for reconstructing Rublev's oeuvre.

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