The conflict between Moscow and St Petersburg is a recurrent theme in Russian history and art: the one standing for the Russian soul and its Slavic origins, the other for Westernisation and progress. This is an important and fascinating theme to explore and whilst many people are familiar with later periods in Russian art and history, fewer are acquainted with its misty beginnings and its Slavic Soul.
Traditionally the dim beginnings of the first Russian State are traced to the year 862, when the Viking Rurik assumed power, supposedly at the request of the native Slavs. Rurik and his successors turned what were small Slavic trading centres into fortified towns as well as establishing new ones. During this period the principal trading centre became Kiev, from where flotillas of boats would set off for the fabled city of Constantinople. The Golden Age of Kievan Russia began in 980 when Vladimir I became Grand Prince, converted to Christianity and Russia became a part of the Byzantine Commonwealth. Its churches and holy images, whilst closely adhering to the Byzantine models are imbued with a profound and innate Russian genius ,most especially in the wooden architecture of the Russian North. As well as religious structures I look at aspects of medieval Russian Folk art.
Length:1 hour and 30 minutes