Russia, a Mysterious Country (01:53)
Andrew Graham-Dixon quotes Theodore Dostoevsky's poetry and his thoughts on Russia. Graham-Dixon believes we can understand Russia through its art.
Russia's State Historical Museum (02:54)
Andrew Graham-Dixon admires artifacts from the Urals dated around 3,000 BC and death masks from the 1st century BC.
Kievan Rus' (03:53)
In 988, Prince Vladimir ordered the destruction of Slavic pagan idols and converted his people to Christianity. He recreated the glories of Byzantium and built St Sophia Cathedral.
St Sophia Cathedral (02:12)
The Madonna Orans mosaic is the focal image for church patrons. Andrew Graham-Dixon discusses mosaic elements. Prince Vladimir had imported the Byzantium culture.
Byzantium Art Form (03:02)
The icon is the most powerful symbol of faith and nation to Russian Christians. "Our Lady of Vladimir" is the founding icon; Andrew Graham-Dixon explains its symbolism and meaning.
Ostromir Gospel (02:02)
Created in 1056, the manuscript is the most ancient surviving Russian book. Andrew Graham-Dixon explains its Cyrillic script.
Silent Centuries (02:17)
In 1237, marauding Mongols advanced into Kievan Rus,' forcing a displacement of orthodox culture; old Russia's people were forced into Muscovy.
Life in Muscovy (01:37)
The forest was central to early settlements; Pagan gods existed alongside the Christian god. This lifestyle significantly impacted Russian Christianity, its art, and its art forms.
Malie Koreli (02:08)
The Wooden Church is the quintessential expression of Christian civilization in Russia. Andrew Graham-Dixon discusses its iconostasis.
Holy Trinity Monastery, Sergiyev Posad (02:32)
Church became a welcoming forest home for Russian Christians. Andrew Graham-Dixon speaks with a Deacon about the icons painted by Andrei Rublev.
Feast day of St. Sergius (02:56)
Andrew Graham-Dixon experiences Andrei Rublev's iconostasis during Mass. He reflects on the communication between people and the icons.
Emblem of "Russianness" (03:36)
Viktor Bondarenko owns the largest private collection of icons; he believes the icons emphasize humanity. Bondarenko is passionate about Russian identity.
"Church Militant" (03:40)
Andrew Graham-Dixon discusses Ivan the Terrible's depraved childhood and his paradoxical relationship with the Orthodox Church. Graham-Dixon explains the narrative icon created for Ivan's palace.
Alexandrova Sloboda (04:14)
Ivan the Terrible twisted art and the church to meet his own ends. Andrew Graham-Dixon visits Ivan's Trinity Cathedral. He discusses the fresco covered walls and Ivan's use of the room.
Enduring Autocracy (02:33)
Absolutism has been the one constant in Russian society. A Muscovy subsistence farmer discusses life during the Stalinist era and maintaining a positive attitude.
This art form provides a glimpse into the unrecorded lives of Russian history.
Reconnecting Russia to the West (02:27)
Peter the Great was the first czar to travel abroad. Andrew Graham-Dixon discusses the czar's hijinks in Deptford.
Saint Petersburg (03:08)
Peter the Great laid the foundations for a new capital city. Andrew Graham-Dixon visits the St Peter and St Paul Cathedral; it marks a sharp break with old orthodox conventions.
"Jonathan and David" (03:10)
Peter the Great changed the way men dressed and the Russian calendar. Rembrandt's painting marked a seismic shift in Russian art and culture.
Credits: Out of the Forest: Art of Russia (00:30)
Credits: Out of the Forest: Art of Russia
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