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Attributed to Konstantin Fedorovich Iuon [Yuon] (1875-1958)
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Attributed to Konstantin Fedorovich Iuon [Yuon] (1875-1958)

Troitskii Monastery, Moscow

Details
Attributed to Konstantin Fedorovich Iuon [Yuon] (1875-1958)
Troitskii Monastery, Moscow
with the signature in Cyrillic and inscribed in Russian 'Troitskii monastery/Konstantin F. Iuon' (lower left)
oil on canvas
29 x 40 in. (73.7 x 101.6 cm.)
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Lot Essay

It has been suggested that the present painting may be a later version of one of Konstantin Iuon's earlier works now in the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg.

The Monastery of the Holy Trinity (Troitskii laver') was founded by St. Sergei of Radonezh (circa 1319-42) who was instrumental in the revival of monasticism in the aftermath of the Mongol invasion. Sergei's role in the subsequent development of Russian spirituality and art cannot be overestimated. Inspired by the asceticism of the early desert fathers and the example of contemporary Athonite life, Sergei sought to follow the path of mystic contemplation in the solitude of 'a desert place' in order to find reconciliation with God, nature, and his fellow man. In the Russian experience a 'desert' takes the form of the virgin forest and this is where the 23 year old took up a harsh solitary existence. In time the simple wooden buildings were replaced by stone structures, and the monastery of the Holy Trinity became a monument to the artistic achievement of Russia through the centuries.

The philosopher, scientist, theologian and art historian Pavel Florensky (1882-1937), who was largely responsible for saving the treasures of the monastery from being dispersed by the Bolsheviks writes of the monastery in these terms:

'Seeing the monastery for the first time, one has the sensation of a rich tableau of a rare quality; then a subtle charm grows day by day as one penetrates this mysterious world...to the warmth of the confused childhood memories...there is also something profoundly organic: our response is not just aesthetical, but involves a sense of history, a contact with the soul of the people and some understanding about the nature of the Russian state. The monastery appears as a portrait of Russia in its entirety...one might even say that the monastery of the Trinity is a manifestation of the Russian Idea, and it is this that explains its mysterious attraction...' (P. Florensky, Sobranie Sochinenii, Paris, 1985, vol. i.)
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