Art conservators alarmed by Putin’s decision to transfer Andrey Rublev’s fragile ‘Holy Trinity’ masterpiece from Tretyakov Gallery to church
The Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church has announced that Andrey Rublev’s famous “Holy Trinity” ikon, until now part of the Tretyakov Gallery collection, is church property once again, following Vladimir Putin’s special order.
The ikon, now kept in a special repository at the State Tretyakov Gallery, will next be transferred to Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral, to be exhibited there for a year.
Afterwards, it’s going to be sent to the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, a historic monastery located in Zelenograd, just outside of Moscow, where the ikon was installed until the 1917 October Revolution.
Last summer, Rublev’s masterpiece was exhibited at the Lavra for three days, while on loan from the Tretyakov Gallery. After its brief “visit” to the Lavra, the ikon came back in destabilized condition, with 61 “substantial changes” to its material makeup documented by the conservation staff, including five areas of critical damage.
Art conservators are alarmed by the decision to transfer the ikon to the Lavra permanently. At the moment, they believe, all of its layers are still in extremely fragile condition. The ikon’s survival depends on precision climate control that will not be possible at the Lavra.