Andrei Rublev was considered one of the best Russian icon painters of all time. During his life he managed to paint several cathedrals and churches. One of his most famous works is the icon, which depicts the Archangel Gabriel. Andrei Rublev did not work independently. He was always helped by his apprentices, and while working on this icon, another famous Russian icon painter, Daniil Cherny, worked with Rublev.
The icon was painted in 1408. The master wrote icons mainly for the decoration of cathedrals, therefore this icon was part of the iconostasis of the Assumption Cathedral in the city of Vladimir. The icon depicts the Archangel Gabriel. The Orthodox Church recognizes that Gabriel had the honorary title of Archangel. This status means that Gabriel, along with Michael, is the leader of the entire heavenly army.
Gabriel has always been considered the messenger of God. He gave good, good news to people. That is why the icon Gabriel is depicted with a sphere in his right hand. This mirror sphere is a symbol of knowledge, of light. Angels can look in this mirror and see the reflection of God there. We see that the icon shows the light emanating from the spherical ball – it is the rays of the sun that illuminate Gabriel refract.
In the left hand of the archangel, it is customary to depict a staff or a lily. Andrei Rublev decided to portray the staff. This detail is not accidental, it is a symbol of the fact that the archangel is a messenger of God. To some extent with the stick the archangel makes its way.
The clothes on the Archangel Gabriel are traditional for Orthodox iconography of the 14th century. We see that the saint is depicted in a blue robe with a gold pattern on the edges. On the shoulders – a red pallium, which is an integral part of the clothing of the saints. It is worth noting that Gabriel was not always depicted with wings. But in this work of XIV we see that the archangel has wings of a dark, almost black color. Around the head is a golden halo.