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Ensemble of the Ferapontov monastery and frescoes by Dionysius

Ferapontov monastery. Photo: Kirillo-Belozersky museum-reserve Ferapontov monastery Fresco of Pantokrator. Photo: Kirillo-Belozersky museum-reserve Fresco of Saint Nicholas. Photo: Kirillo-Belozersky museum-reserve Собор Рождества Богородицы / Church of Nativity Ферапонтов монастырь / Ferapontov monastery
  • Ferapontov monastery. Photo: Kirillo-Belozersky museum-reserve
  • Ferapontov monastery
  • Fresco of Pantokrator. Photo: Kirillo-Belozersky museum-reserve
  • Fresco of Saint Nicholas. Photo: Kirillo-Belozersky museum-reserve
  • Собор Рождества Богородицы / Church of Nativity
  • Ферапонтов монастырь / Ferapontov monastery

The museum of Dionysius’s frescos is placed in an architectural ensemble of the monuments in the Ferapontov monastery of the XV-XIX centuries in the village of Ferapontovo.

The Ferapontov monastery was founded in 1398 by Saint Ferapont. For about 400 years it was one of the most outstanding cultural, religious and educational centers in the Belozersk region.

Alongside with the Kirillo-Belozersky monastery Ferapontovo becomes a traditional place of worship and contributions for many Russian feudal lords. On the edge of the XV-XVI centuries some outstanding personalities of the Russian church left its walls. The formation of the stone ensemble of the Ferapontov monastery of the XV-XVH centuries began in 1490 with the construction of first stone temple in the White Lake region – the cathedral of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin by the Rostov masters. Among the six stone constructions of the monastery which have come down to us the cathedral is of greatest importance. According to the text of the chronicle around the northern door of the church, it was being painted by Dionysius and his sons from August, 6 till September, 8, 1502. These are the only survived painting by Dionysius, who was Andrey Rublyov’s legitimate heir and the last representative of the Russian national art during the period of its flourishing and unification of the Russian state.

After the glorified wall paintings of the XII-XV centuries in Novgorod were destroyed by German fascists during World War II, frescos by Dionysius have become the unique completely untouched ensemble of frescos of Ancient Rus. Their value is especially great due to the fact that they haven’t been renewed and have preserved the unique beauty, color and texture.

The total area of the murals in the cathedral is 600 sq.m. It is the only documentary confirmed painting of the master. Individuality of the wall paintings executed by Dionysius is in the unique soft colors, rhythmic harmony of numerous plots combined with architectural parts of the cathedral. Interrelation between the cycles (Akathistos of the Holy Virgin, Ecumenical councils, the Last Judgment and others) and separate compositions both inside and outside the cathedral, the colour range and philosophical depth determine the value of the murals of the cathedral of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin for the world culture as an outstanding monument of Russian art and culture, a significant unique art achievement.

XVI century is a period of flourishing of the monastery. The supplementary and granted letters of secular and ecclesiastical authorities, first of all Ivan IV, testify to the fact. In XVI century the monumental church of the Annunciation with a refectory, the treasury chamber and service constructions were built in the monastery.

In the beginning of the XX century the Ferapontov monastery together with its surrounding scenery began claiming attention of architects, artists, scientists, museum workers, all lovers of olden times. In 2000 the ensemble of the Ferapontov monastery and Dionysius’s frescoes were included into the World Heritage List by the UNESCO.

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