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tion of the painting is really astounding. Surveillance o f the stucco seams

shows that all its lower tier, except the altar, was done with only five layers

of plasters. This means that working with water-based colors on wet stucco

the masters had in five days to at least complete the drawings of all c om po ­

sitions and lay down the principal colors. 33 figures and 44 faces dep le ted

on the largest o f these sections!

There is no doubt that the leading role was played by Dionysius as the

head of the artel. We know from examples of XVII century paintings that

the leading a rtist comp iled the a rrangemen t o f the p a in ting and the

♦znamenia», i. e. made the drawing for the mural. He also carried ou t the

most important operations with colors.

The date in the inscription on the cathedral wall turned out to be partly

effaced, this caused arguments among specialists. At present the general

opinion is that the wall painting works lasted 34 days, from August 6 to

September 8, 1502 (this date was first suggested by N. I. Fedishin). D iony ­

sius was already famous by that time. In 1482 he headed the artel which

painted icons for the iconostasis of the Moscow Kremlin cathedral o f the

Dormition, the main cathedral of Moscow Rus, which had been built a little

earlier. This signified the recognition of Dionysius as the leading Moscow

master. The murals of Ferapontov monastery are the most inspired c reation

of this remarkable master.

On the whole the murals are rather in a good state, nevertheless one has

to take into accoun t some changes which have occurred in the paint in the

course of time to have a correct notion of their original colors. Light-blue

backgrounds and faded-green «pozyemi» were originally darker and more

rich with color. Specialists have not yet agreed about the red color in the

mural: whether or not it was considerably more intense? In any case, all of

the painting was originally much brighter.

At the same time Dionysius widely used pale colors, especially in d e p ic t­

ing architecture and hills. A particular decorative effect was achieved by

combining the solid colors of the robes with the transparent grounds; the

color patches o f the figures stand out clearly, their con tou r lines wh ich are

always meaningful acquire particular importance. Bright patches o f color

reveal a tendency towards a symmetrical arrangement on the surface c r e a t­

ing an impression of equilibrium and immovability of every scene. D iony ­

sius attained the impression of abundant color by purely pictorial means,

having a relatively small number of pigments at his disposal. All or almost

all of them were brought from afar. The beautiful legend, which tells how

Dionysius collected color pebbles on the shore of lake Borodavskoye in

order to make pigments from them, remains nothing more than a legend.

Ferapontov murals are striking for their mastery of composition. This

applies bo th to individual scenes and to the arrangement of the whole mural

in general. Compositions o f individual scenes are as a rule cen tripetal, they

are closed within themselves. The supple lines of the drawing organize the

movement of the viewer's eye keeping it within the limits o f the scene. The