Simon Ushakov

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ushakov, Simon (Pimen) Fedorovich


Born 1626 in Moscow; died there June 25, 1686. Russian painter.

From 1648 to 1664, Ushakov worked in the Silver and Gold chambers, where he designed banners and metal and wooden articles. In 1664 he became a salaried icon painter of the Armory and director of the icon-painting workshop there. He painted icons, parsuny (early Russian portraits), miniatures, and frescoes and supervised the painting of the interiors of Arkhangel’skii and Uspenskii cathedrals (1660) and the Hall of Facets (1668) in the Moscow Kremlin. He also made geographical maps and plans and drew sketches for engravings; his own engravings included The Seven Deadly Sins (1665).

Ushakov helped reform Russian painting of the third quarter of the 17th century. While retaining traditional iconographic composition, he defined form by means of chiaroscuro and subtle transitions between areas of color. The resulting three-dimensional effect created the impression of reality. Outstanding examples of Ushakov’s work include The Trinity (1671, Russian Museum, Leningrad) and The Vladimir Virgin (The Tree of the Russian State; 1668, Tret’iakov Gallery).

Ushakov was the author of the treatise “A Word to the Person Devoted to Icon Painting” (c. 1666; see Vestnik Obshchestva drevnerusskogo iskusstva pri moskovskom publichnom muzee, Moscow, 1874, issues 2–3), in which he discussed realistic representation in icon painting.


Leonov, A. I. Simon Ushakov. Moscow-Leningrad, 1945.
Ovchinnikova, E. S. Portret v russkom iskusstve XVII veka. Moscow, 1955.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Bar a few masters --Theophanes the Greek, Andrei Rublev and Dionisius in the 15th century, and Simon Ushakov in the 17th--works were made anonymously, according to formulae established by the church, with the most outstanding examples such as Rublev's Trinity held up as models to be copied.
Collectively in three sections on "Society and Cultural Practice" (three essays), "Religion and Belief" (four essays), and "Image, Identity, and Mentalit6" (three essays with one on Simon Ushakov illustrated), plus a useful introduction and a provocative afterword, the editors and authors succeed in helping to fill a gap in the scholarly literature on the Russian Orthodox Church and pre-modern cultural life.