[Paper:] A New Dawn: Heraldry in the Palace of Facets in the Moscow Kremlin in Late 15th Century (Elena Kashina)

Palace of Facets, 1491, interior, Moscow Kremlin.

Palace of Facets, 1491, interior, Moscow Kremlin.

This paper shall seek to examine the heraldic display in the Palace of Facets (1491), the principal Reception Hall of the rulers of Muscovy, at the time of its construction, under Ivan III the Great (1440-1505), in the context of the new geo-political situation which followed the fall of Constantinople, and the formation of the doctrine of the historic role of Russia as the Third Rome and heir to Byzantium.

Ivan III’s enormous achievement was turning ‘a Duchy on the outskirts of Europe into a vast Empire’. He became the first Russian ruler to adopt the title of the Lord of All Russia, concluded a dynastic marriage with Zoe Palaeologue, the niece of the last Byzantine Emperor, and carried out a grandiose construction programme in the Kremlin which saw the emergence of an ensemble befitting the new status of the country and his own. He further employed, for the first time, the double-headed eagle as the official heraldic identification of the Russian state.

The paper shall consider the display of the image, alongside the other elements of the paradigm of sovereign authority, in the Palace of Facets, and conclude that the new coat-of-arms was perfectly situated within the Reception Hall and within the architecture of the Kremlin to act as an articulation of the essence of the state as embracing both East and West.

Elena Kashina studied for her MPhil in Mediaeval Viking and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Oslo, following an award of a scholarship by the Research Council of Norway and gained her PhD in the History of Art at Leeds University in 2007. Her research interests link Russia’s medieval artistic and philosophical paradigms with those that became prevalent in the second part of the 19th – early 20th century. Among the fields of enquiry pertinent for the conference the following can be named: socio-cultural processes in Muscovy during the reign of Ivan III (1462 – 1505); changes in traditional iconographies under Ivan IV (1547 – 1584), in their political, cultural and international contexts;  the use of art, particularly invoking the sublime, for the purposes of geo-political self-definition in late Medieval – Early Modern periods.


The paper will be given at the international workshop: Heraldry in Medieval and Early Modern State-Rooms: Towards a Typology of Heraldic Programmes in Spaces of Self-Representation – Münster, Germany, 16-18 March 2016
Cite the article as: Heraldica Nova, "[Paper:] A New Dawn: Heraldry in the Palace of Facets in the Moscow Kremlin in Late 15th Century (Elena Kashina)", in: Heraldica nova. Medieval Heraldry in social and cultural-historical perspectives (blog on Hypotheses.org), published: 02/03/2016, Internet: https://heraldica.hypotheses.org/4333.

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