Born circa 1440; died after 1502 or, according to other studies, after 1503. Russian painter. He worked primarily in Moscow and in central Russian monasteries.
Most of Dionisii’s works, executed with the assistance of other painters, have not been preserved and are known only from written sources. These works include the frescoes of the Rozhdestvenskii Cathedral of the Borovsk Pafnut’ev Monastery (1467-76), the icons for the iconostasis of the Uspenskii Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin (1481), and the icons and frescoes for the Uspenie Cathedral in the Joseph Volokolamsk Monastery (after 1485). The art of Dionisii and his school developed during the period when the centralized Russian state was being formed under the leadership of Moscow. At this time the importance of church dogma was gradually gaining strength. The state, as a means of reinforcing the authority of the great prince, maintained close regulation of art.
The icons and frescoes of Dionisii, unlike the art during the time of Andrei Rublev, reveal a uniformity of devices and festive, decorative qualities that diminish the psychological expressiveness of the figures. Dionisii’s icons with their refined drawing, delicate coloration, and inordinately elongated, graceful figures, are distinguished by their elegance and solemnity. This is expressed in The Virgin Odigitriia (1482), Christ in Majesty (1500), and The Crucifixion (1500)-all in the Tret’iakov Gallery—and the icons for the Ferapontov Monastery (1500-02 or, according to other studies, 1502-03, done with his sons Vladimir and Feodosii), most of which are now in the Russian Museum in Leningrad and the Tret’iakov Gallery. Among other icons attributed to Dionisii are The Life of Metropolitan Petr (Uspenskii Cathedral, Moscow Kremlin) and The Life of Metropolitan Aleksei (Tret’iakov Gallery).
Among the most perfect examples of medieval Russian monumental art are the paintings by Dionisii and his sons for the cathedral of the Ferapontov Monastery near the town of Kirillov (1500-02 or, according to other studies, 1501-03). Problems of ideology, imagery, and form are resolved within a well-proportioned and integrated system. These wall paintings are distinguished by an interesting play between the flatness of the wall surface and the beauty and architectural detail within the subordinated painting. Other distinguishing features are the elegant, almost ethereal figures, and the cool, light colors that dominate Dionisii’s palette. Dionisii’s artistic activities facilitated the spread throughout Rus’ of triumphant and ceremonious Muscovite style, which developed into the typical Russian style.
REFERENCESIstoriia russkogo iskusstva, vol. 3. Moscow, 1955. Pages 482-531.
Danilova, I. E. Freski Ferapontova monastyria. Moscow, 1970.
Goleizovskii, N. K. “Zametki o Dionisii.” Viiantiiskii vremennik,vol. 31. Moscow, 1971. Pages 175-87.
Danilowa, I. J. Dionissi. Dresden, 1970.
N. K. GOLEIZOVSKII
(secular name, David Fedorovich Zobnikovskii). Born 1570 or 1571 in Rzhev; died May 10, 1633, in Sergiev, now Zagorsk. Russian church leader.
Dionisii was archimandrite of the Bogoroditskii (Mother of God) Convent in Staritsa from 1605 to 1610 and of the Troitse-Sergius (St. Sergius Trinity) Monastery from 1610 to 1618 and from 1619 to 1633.
During the Polish and Swedish intervention at the beginning of the 17th century, Dionisii supported Patriarch Hefmogen in the struggle to elect an Orthodox tsar; in 1611-12 he called for a struggle against the Polish interventionists and for the reconciliation of classes. In 1612, during the liberation of Moscow, Dionisii sent precious monastery vestments as a pledge to the cossacks, who had refused to assist the popular militia of K. Z. Minin and D. M. Pozharskii until their salaries were paid.
REFERENCESSkvortsov, D. Dionisii Zobnikovskii, arkhimandrit Troitsko-Sergieva monastyria. Tver’, 1890.
Platonov, S. F. Ocherkipo istorii Smuty v Moskovskom gosudarstve XVI-XVII vv. Moscow, 1937.
Skazanie Avraamiia Palitsyna. Moscow-Leningrad, 1955.