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Palm Sunday in Moscow Under Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich. Procession of the Patriarch on a Donkey. 1865

Schwartz Vyacheslav,
Oil on canvas
60 х 122

State Russian Museum

Пост. в 1928 из Государственного музейного фонда, Ленинград


This ancient ceremony in which the Patriarch rode on the colt of a donkey took place in Moscow during the feast of Palm Sunday. The donkey was in fact replaced by a horse covered with a horse-cloth and led by the Tsar himself holding the reins. The procession began at the Cathedral of the Dormition and then went out through the Spassky (Salvation) Gates onto Red Square, from where it went to the Chapel of the Entry into Jerusalem in the Church of St Basil the Blessed. The painting by Schwartz shows the procession returning in ceremony to the Kremlin. The ordinary people are followed by clergy with icons, the Clerks of the Duma, okol’nichys (the second rank of nobles in the Tsar’s council) and the Tsar in full royal robes and supported under his arms by boyars. Stol’niks (the fifth rank of nobles) carry the symbols of power before him. The Patriarch, who is blessing the people with a cross, is followed by the various ranks of clergy. While working on the painting Schwartz made a very careful study of Moscow’s architecture and especially of items of the everyday life of old Russia that were kept in the Armoury Palace.

Author's Biography

Schwartz Vyacheslav

Schwartz, Vyacheslav Grigorievich
1838, Kursk - 1869, Kursk
Painter, graphic artist, history painter, book illus¬trator, theatrical designer. Studied at the Imperial Alexander Lyceum in St Petersburg (1853–1859), at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1859–1863). Lived in Germany and France (1861–1867), took lessons from Wilhelm von Kaulbach in Berlin (1861) and Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier in Paris (1863). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1862). Academi¬cian of history painting (from 1865). Full member of the Russian Archeology Society (from 1865).

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