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SHRINE LID OF THE CZAREVICH DMITRII

MOSCOW, KREMLIN WORKSHOPS, 1630
A group of craftsmen led by Gavrila Ovdokimov
Gold, silver, precious stones, pearls
157 X 60 X 4 Centimeters

The Czarevich Dmitrii was the youngest son of Ivan the Terrible. Boris Godunov was accused of his murder. He was canonized in 1606. A quarter of a century later, Czar Mikhail Feodorovich ordered a silver-gilt shrine to be made for his remains, which were in the Archangel Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. The work was undertaken by a large group of Kremlin craftsmen under the leadership of Gavrila Ovdokimov.

The lid of the shrine shows the figure of the young Czarevich stamped in high relief. He is dressed in parade garments, and the whole object is almost a complete sculpture. Similar portraits of saints, made from precious metals, were known in Rus from the second half of the 15th century. In the first half of the 17th century, several silver shrines were made in the Kremlin workshops. The portrayals of the saints on them always corresponded to a specific canon. In this example, however, the softly modeled face of the child Czarevich, with his lower lip lightly protruding, and his eyes wide open, gives the impression of a portrait. The rhythmic stamped design that covers the clothing of Dmitrii and the background reveals the influence of Eastern arabesques. Medallions are positioned along the edge of the lid, containing half-figures of the patron saints of Czar Mikhail Feodorovich and members of his family.

During the capture of the Kremlin by Napoleon's forces in 1812, the shrine disappeared, but not before the lid had been hidden as the enemy approached, and hence it has survived to this day.

Text taken from catalog description by Marina V. Martinova


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