The holy gospel of Ivan the Terrible
Manuscript and golden cover date to 1571. Gift of Ivan the Terrible to the Cathedral of the Annunciation in the Moscow Kremlin. Chased, engraved, and nielloed gold, with enamel, granulation and filigree, precious stones and pearls.
This exquisite example of Russian decorative and applied art, the personal Gospel of Ivan the Terrible, was executed by masters of the Kremlin workshops. The golden Gospel cover is distinguished by a high technical level combined with refined simplicity and infinite preciseness of detail. In it are reflected the finest achievements of earlier epochs, and all the techniques known to 16th-century Russian jewelers were employed in its making. The unified composition and effect thus achieved make this one of the finest works of applied art of its epoch.
The filigree on the surface of the Gospel cover forms a floral design, the leaves of which are finished in delicate tones of enamel. Elegance of design is achieved by the gold granulation which dots the enamel. The delicate tones of the enamel and sparkle of gold are repeated by the large, uncut precious stones - topazes, tourmalines, and sapphires - the most beloved gems of the 16th century. Narrow bands with nielloed inscriptions frame the chased medallions and precious stones, thus providing the composition with a second unifying element.