World History: Ivan III of Russia

Ivan III Vasilyevich (1440-1505), also known as Ivan the Great, was a Grand Prince of Moscow and Grand Prince of all Rus. Sometimes known as the “gatherer of the Russian lands”, he tripled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the Golden Horde over the Rus, renovated the Moscow Kremlin, and laid the foundations of the Russian state. John Fennell, a British biographer, concludes that Ivan’s reign was “militarily glorious and economically sound,” but, however, notes that his reign was also “a period of cultural depression and spiritual bareness..” Ivan III is also most notably one of the longest-reigning Russian rulers in history ruling from 1462 to his death in 1505. [x]

Girl With Cherries (detail); attributed to Giovanni Ambrogio de Predis (circa 1455-after 1508), but possibly by Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio (1467–1516)

oil on wood, c. 1491-5

“Girl with Cherries […] shows an artist grappling with Leonardo’s ideas and technique […] The vibrant sense of life in her curls is a testament to Leonardo’s love of the movement of hair, which he saw as similar to water currents and other paradigms of motion and which he studied in many drawings.” [source]

Saint George Killing the Dragon - Bernat Martorell, 1434/35

Tempera on panel

61 ¼ x 38 5/8 in. (155.6 x 98.1 cm)

Art Institute of Chicago

In the second quarter of the 15th century, Bernat Martorell was the leading painter of Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia in northeastern Spain. Saint George was the patron saint of Catalonia, and Martorell’s vivid painting probably once formed the center of the altarpiece of the chapel of the Catalan government in its palace in Barcelona. The central image would have been flanked by smaller narrative panels, now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris; they illustrate the martyrdom of the saint in gruesome detail.

— Permanent collection label [x]