Copies of frescos painted by the great masters Andrei Rublev and Dionisius, reproduced in the 20th century by Nikolai Gusev, a remarkable artist and researcher, have been put on display by the Russian Academy of Arts and the Central Andrei Rublev Museum of Ancient Russian Culture and Art in Moscow. The display titled "Ancient Russian Monumental Paintings" in Gusev's copies from the museum's reserves has been opened at the Zurab Tsereteli Art Gallery under the Russian Academy of Arts in Moscow's Prechistenka street.
The murals of the Dormition Cathedral in Vladimir (1408) and the Nativity Cathedral of Ferapontov Monastery (1502-1503) have for many generations served as an example followed by artists. The unique monuments have received a second lease of life in exquisite copies created by Gusev beginning with 1955 and up to the early 1990s.
Having made a thorough study of the painting methods used by ancient Russian artists, Gusev copied whole ensembles of monumental paintings from Ancient Rus. He both carried on the traditions of the existing copying school and also developed his own method. The artist repeated the sequence of actions and methods of work used by the old masters, reproducing what was lost during the partial reconstruction of the monument. Gusev's copies are so well done that they allow to see in detail the methods used by artists of past centuries.
The display includes over 50 works in tempera, water colours, earthen paints on primed paper. The set of displays representing the paintings of the Dormition Cathedral are supplemented by copies of older frescos made by Alexei Nekrasov reflecting the earlier period of the cathedral's murals -- the late 12th century. On display are also archaeological fragments of genuine mediaeval paintings which give an insight into the colour palette used by Rublev and Dionisius.