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o f the upper one presented a vaulted gallery with big arches grouped in two

The covering of the parvis was of a «by-gable» type: an individual spatial

unit with its own gable roof corresponded to each section o f the cathedral

walls. The no rth part o f the parvis was walled off and had small windows

instead o f arches. On the north-west corner there once was a small clock-

chambe r reached by a narrow stone staircase. The outer wall o f the chamber

pro truded slightly supported by stone consoles which have survived to our

day. A vertical shaft was made in the body o f the wall beside the staircase to

receive the weights of the clock which were lowered in to it.

The aspect o f the cathedral was strongly altered later. First the chapel of

St. Martin ian was attached to its south wall then its windows were hewn

wider, a four-slope roof covered the tiers of «kokoshniki» and the drum was

surmoun ted by a pretentious baroque cupola. The vaults o f the parvis and

the summit o f its walls together with the c lock-chamber were destroyed, its

sou thern part was transformed into a vestry. The original form o f the win­

dow openings was restored during restoration works conducted in the begin­

ning o f this century.

The cathedral o f Ferapontov monastery has become world-famous be­

cause it had retained murals by the renowned Dionysius. The fame o f this

master had been great. He was called an «elegant and wise» icon pain ter, his

icons like the works of Andrei Rublev became collector's items already in

the beginning of the XVI century, they were specially no ted in monastery


The fact that the Ferapontov murals were painted by Dionysius is sup­

ported by an ancient inscription which has survived above the north door of

the cathedral, it ends in the following words «and the painters were Diony­

sius and his children. Oh Lord Christ, Tzar to all, spare them , Oh Lord,

eternal suffering». Such a signature of a master is the rarest phenomenon of

Russian painting of that time, it demonstrates the great self-awareness of

the artist. The «children» of Dionysius mentioned in the inscrip tion were

his sons Theodosius and Vladimir. Other works by Vladimir have not reached

us, we know o f them only from a few mentions in inventories. Theodosius

on the o ther hand was one o f the leading masters of the first th ird o f the

XVI century. In 1508 his artel painted the Moscow Kremlin Annuciation

cathedral o f the grand princes. Theodosius was also the au tho r o f the splen­

did gospel miniatures of 1507 from the Public Library.

Art historians had more than once attempted to distinguish the hand of

each o f the three Ferapontov masters. However,


one cou ld solve this

task. The opinion was that this problem was absolutely insoluble and that

the three masters worked on every composition together, braking up the

process into individual operations. The striking unity of style characteristic

o f the painting was thus explained. Recent technical and technological anal­

yses provided fresh data which probably brings us nearer to the solving of

this problem. A difference in the choice of pigments and painting devices is

revealed in different places in the cathedral. The remarkable speed o f execu ­