Михаил Нестеров. Портрет Льва Толстого. 1907 г.
Михаил Нестеров. Портрет Льва Толстого. 1907 г.
Михаил Нестеров. За приворотным зельем. 1888 г.
Alexandra’s egg list for Easter 1906 gifts (her children’s names appear at the top) and some of the eggs themselves pictured above it.
Saints Boris and Gleb, with Scenes from Their Lives. Attributed to the Moscow School, mid-fourteenth century.
Icons were instruments of the Church, used to tell Biblical narratives to a largely illiterate audience, much like the stained glass windows in the cathedrals of Western Europe. Icons were often exchanged at weddings to bless a couple, or given to a soldier going into battle for good luck. They could depict Christ, the Virgin Mary, saints like Boris and Gleb, or even religious festivals. Icons are wooden (generally pine or lime) with pigment, gold leaf, and egg yolk on them, and sometimes metal embellishments for protection against wear. However, for many pious Russians, they are far more than that. Icons were believed by many in medieval Russia to be windows into heaven; they could even have mystical healing powers. For secular purposes, icons are now valuable as works of art, but the importance of spirituality in icons cannot be overly stressed.
According to Orthodox Christian tradition, the first icon was made when Jesus wiped His face on a cloth, leaving an imprint of His face upon it. Additionally, Jesus as God-made-flesh also annulled the Old Testament/Torah law about making images, because He was literally depicted in human flesh (although the icons-as-idols argument continues to be controversial among different Christian belief systems). Orthodox believers are quick to point out that it is not the icon itself that is actually being worshipped, but rather, the deity it depicts.
The icon St. Boris and Gleb: Scenes from their Lives dates from the middle of the fourteenth century and is attributed to the Moscow School. It is the earliest known depiction of the saints Boris and Gleb. Boris and Gleb became canonized as saints for supposedly surrendering to their evil brother and fellow prince, Sviatopolk, who proceeded to kill them in a squabble for the princely throne. Sviatopolk is linked to Cain in this narrative, who was also condemned for killing his brother in the Bible. Throughout the medieval period, Russian culture tries to tie itself to Christian history by introducing Biblical characters into Russian history. Although Boris and Gleb are martyrs, they both hold swords in front of them and are dressed as warriors.
The artwork is done in the traditional Greek manner; at this time, Russia had not yet developed its own art culture. Artists like Theophanes, a Greek living in Russia, were imitated to the extent that there is little variety in medieval Russian icons until the arrival of Andrei Rublev in the fifteenth century. Typical folk colors like red and green are used throughout the icon, although it has a rather dark hue overall, due to centuries of wear and exposure to smoke from incense during religious ceremonies. Both brothers’ heads are crowned with delicate golden halos to indicate their status as saints. The men’s features are stern and masculine, lacking in emotion in typical Greek style. They are tall and slender; their forms are mostly hidden in their drapery, and it is difficult to distinguish their anatomy. Their stance is unnatural, with both of their feet sticking out in opposite directions, demonstrating a lack of understanding about posture in Byzantine and early Russian art.
Although the brothers appear formidable with their swords—a sign of their status as princes—they are strangely accepting of their fate at the hands of their brother Sviatopolk’s assassin. In Gleb’s death scene, he appears to hover above the ground, demonstrating his status as a saint. In another panel, angels preside over him as he lies between two logs, symbolic of the logs used for boats in Slavic funeral ceremonies. A fire leads hunters to the fallen brothers, who are then carried back home to their other brother, Yaroslav the Wise. This example of divine intervention in contemporary human affairs shows the complex relationship between folklore and spirituality in Russian history, as well as the artistic achievements of Moscow.
The future Tsar Alexander III of Russia and his brother Grand Duke Vladimir.
Valentina Tereshkova, the pilot of Vostok 6 and the first woman in space
March 6, 1869: Dmitri Mendeleev presents his periodic table to the Russian Chemical Society.
Dmitri Mendeleev was a Russian chemist and, from 1865 to 1890, a professor at the Saint Petersburg State University. Along with German chemist Julius Lothar Meyer, he formulated the system to classify and organize the approximately 56 known chemical elements on which the modern standard periodic table is based. Mendeleev’s system differed from previous attempts to organize the elements in that his principal organizing factor was atomic mass, which led him to logically group elements based on “an apparent periodicity of properties”. In the presentation entitled “The Dependence Between the Properties of the Atomic Weights of the Elements” (March 6, 1869) in which he introduced the basic principles of his system, he noted:
Elements which are similar as regards their chemical properties have atomic weights which are either of nearly the same value (e.g., Pt, Ir, Os) or which increase regularly (e.g., K, Rb, Cs).
In addition, by noting gaps in his periodic table, he was able to predict the existence of (and leave spaces for) then unknown elements, among them gallium and germanium - which he respectively referred to as ekaaluminium and ekasilicon. Mendeleev’s accurate predictions of the existence and specific qualities of undiscovered elements based on gaps in his groups was one significant difference between his and Meyer’s table, which was otherwise similar and actually introduced earlier.
The element mendelevium (atomic number 101), discovered in 1955, was named for Mendeleev.
The Palace of Sciences, Arts and Letters at the Exposition Universelle in 1900, Paris
Vintage Russian woman
Château de Schönbrunn, à Vienne (Autriche): la Gloriette.
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Alexander Peresvet was a Russian Orthodox Christian monk who fought in a single combat with the Tatar champion Temir-murza (known in most Russian sources as Chelubey or Cheli-bey) at the opening of the Battle of Kulikovo (8 September 1380), where they killed each other.
The battle of Kulikovo was opened by single combat between the two champions. The Russian champion was Alexander Peresvet. The Horde champion was Temir-murza. The champions killed each other in the first run, though according to a Russian legend, Peresvet did not fall from the saddle, while Temir-murza did.
Peresvet’s body, together with that of his brother-in-arms Oslyabya, were brought to Moscow, where they lie buried at the 15th-century Theotokos Church in Simonovo
Napoleon I of France - Robert Lefevre
Moscow - February 2014