Drawings of Muscovy from The Mayerberg Album

In February 1661, the Holy Roman Emperor sent to Muscovy an embassy headed by Baron Augustin von Mayerberg and Horatio Gugliemo Clavuccio.  They arrived in Moscow May 15/25, 1661, and departed April 26/May 5, 1662.   Mayerberg wrote two Latin accounts of the embassy, both of which have been translated into modern Russian.   Since there are relatively few contemporary drawings of Muscovy by Western artists, the album of drawings compiled under Mayerberg's supervision is of considerable interest.   The drawings are apparently the work primarily of Johann Rudolf Storn, although Mayerberg also was accompanied by a painter Puman.  The drawings are in pen; they were lightly colored in with water colors.  The unique copy of the album was kept in the Royal Library in Dresden.  While copies were made from it and published in 1827, the first proper publication of the pictures (reproducing them in black-and-white) was Al'bom Meierberga.  Vidy i bytovye kartiny Rossii XVII veka.  Risunki drezdenskogo al'boma, vosproizvedennye s podlinnika v natural'nuiu velichinu, s prilozheniem karty puti tsesarskogo posol'stva 1661-1662 gg.  S.-Peterburg: Izd. A. S. Suvorina, 1903.    Detailed information about each picture is provided in F. Adelung, Al'bom Meierberga. Vidy i bytovye kartiny Rossii XVII veka.  Ob"iasnitel'nye primechaniia k risunkam.  Ed. and supplemented by A. M. Loviagin.   S.-Peterburg:  Izd. A. S. Suvorina, 1903.  The reproductions here are from slides of selected pictures in the 1903 edition.   The original of the album includes often extensive annotations to the pictures in German.  Here only short identifications have been provided in English.  The dual dates are according to the Julian and Grigorian calendars, respectively.  The numbering is that of the 1903 edition.  All pictures are thumbnailed.  Click on each to enlarge it.

mayerb58.jpg (45812 bytes) [9]. Pskov, with the embassy (in foreground) being greeted upon its arrival, April 17/27, 1661.


novg6.jpg (15965 bytes) [18].  Novgorod, April 23-24, 1661.  The view is from the Volkhov R. looking north, although the artist labels the body of water Lake Ilmen (possibly we see here the effects of spring flooding).  Shown here is only the central portion of a panorama of the whole city, with the Kremlin on the left.

mayerb55.jpg (55251 bytes) [32].  The village of Edrovo, about two-thirds of the way between Novgorod and Vyshnii Volochek, on the road to Tver' and Moscow.



mayerb54.jpg (57876 bytes) [52].  Nikol'skoe, the last postal station before Moscow.  Mayerberg's inscription indicates that it was the residence of a "boyar".  The tents in the yard were erected specifically for the reception of the embassy.


mayerb6.jpg (60065 bytes)mayerb7.jpg (46419 bytes) [53]. The formal entrance of the embassy into Moscow, May 15/25, 1661.  The detail shows the ambassadors and the Muscovite officials accompanying them, seated in the carriage sent by the Tsar. In early modern diplomacy, the formal entrances of ambassadors were major events, in which the ambassadorial party was showing off the importance of the monarch or state it represented and which presumably tested the degree to which the hosting country was displaying proper respect.


mayerb4.jpg (37167 bytes) [56].   View of Moscow Kremlin from the West.  Here only the right half of the panorama in the album is shown. the two highest spires are, on the left the bell tower of "Ivan the Great" (begun under Ivan III, completed in the time of Boris Godunov) and the tower over the Frolov (Spasskii) Gate through which one would pass to get to Red Square on the other side of the Kremlin.  At the left edge of the picture in the foreground is the place where the blessing of the waters was celebrated on the Feast of Christ's Baptism.  This involved one of the two most important public church processionals in Muscovy involving both the head of the church and the ruler.

mayerb56.jpg (50408 bytes) [74].  Panorama of Moscow, here showing only the right section of the original drawing.  The picture extends from the Frolov (Spasskii) gate in the Kremlin (the spire on the far left) to the southeast, and thus includes the sections of the city known as Kitai-Gorod, and Tsar'-Gorod.  The Iauza River enters the Moscow R. at its bend.  

mayerb1.jpg (87839 bytes)mayerb2.jpg (99322 bytes)   [87]. Plan of Moscow, with west at the top of the drawing.  This resembles several earlier "aerial views" of the city, the first of which was apparently drawn on the orders of Boris Godunov in the late 1590s.  The rivers are the Moscow on the left, the Iauza entering from the bottom, and the Neglinnaia, encircling part of the Kremlin.  The first detail here shows the central part of the city, from bottom to top Tsar'-Gorod, Kitai-Gorod, Red Square, and the Kremlin.

mayerb3.jpg (73594 bytes)

A second detail of the above plan shows the Cathedral of the Intercession on the Moat (St. Basil's) in the center, to its right the Frolov (Spasskii) Gate into the Kremlin from Red Square, and in the forground the merchant stalls in Red Square (the location of the famous department store GUM today).


mayerb5.jpg (37567 bytes)mayerb57.jpg (63425 bytes)   [75].  The "New" Foreigners' Quarter, on the outskirts of the city, seen from the East across the R. Iauza.  At this time, despite Mayerberg's indication that it had streets laid out in straight lines, the settlement seems not to have had the architectural appearance of a transplanted foreign town, such as it would acquire later.  

mayerb8.jpg (76430 bytes)mayerb9.jpg (74273 bytes)  [73].  The Palm Sunday Procession, March 23/April 2, 1662.  Shown is the return of the procession after the prayers in the Cathedral of the Intercession (St. Basil's), at the far left.  The detail shows the Tsar holding the reins of a horse "disguised" as an ass, on which sits the head of the Church.  Ahead of them on the path leading to the Frolov (Spasskii) gate is a cart with a tree decorated with fruit and accompanied by some youths.   The strel'tsy are kowtowing all around the procession.  This ceremony was one of the two most important public church processions in Muscovy.  It depicted Christ's entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, thus underscoring the idea of Moscow as the new Jerusalem.  While most of the details follow depictions on icons, the role played by the Tsar was added, to emphasize the close relationship between the secular power and the Church and the position of the Tsar as the leader and protector of the Orthodox state.

mayerb17.jpg (33748 bytes)   [72].  Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich on his way to the Church of St. Aleksei, to celebrate the Tsar's name day, March 17/27, 1662.  On the rear of the sledge stand princes Ia. K. Cherkasskii and  I. D. Miloslavskii (his father-in-law); at the front of the sledge stand two stol'niki (chamberlains).

mayerb18.jpg (18626 bytes) [70].  Enclosed sledge in which an elite noble woman would travel in Moscow.

mayerb19.jpg (15582 bytes) [71].  The Tsaritsa's sledge, decorated with the two-headed eagle state emblem.

[63].  The ambassadorial residence, located in the Kitai-Gorod, not far from Red Square.  Details show members of the embassy amusing themselves with their own games--a form of field hockey and nine-pins.  Members of the strel'tsy look on.

mayerb10.jpg (35429 bytes) mayerb11.jpg (64709 bytes) mayerb12.jpg (61364 bytes)

[77].  Audience of the embassy with the Tsar in his private chambers, April 14/24, 1662.  He is about to drink to the health of the Emperor and has removed his cap as a mark of respect (this was standard diplomatic protocol).  He receives the cup from Prince I. A. Vorotynskii and is handing his cap to Prince Mikhail Dolgorukii.  The embassy is in the forground, with Mayerberg on the left and then Clavuccio.  The artist Storn stands on the far right, next to the stove.   Adelung suggests that the picture on the left wall over the windows is a tapestry and that its subject is Flemish peasants fighting.  One wonders, could it not be some of the Old Testament military imagery about which Rowland has written?

mayerb13.jpg (80911 bytes) mayerb15.jpg (74485 bytes) mayerb16.jpg (53027 bytes) mayerb14.jpg (62151 bytes)

mayerb53.jpg (70142 bytes) [80].  A official "portrait" of Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich, probably copied from such a picture kept in the Kremlin and probably not based on an actual sitting by the Tsar.



mayerb20.jpg (48562 bytes)   [58].  Drawings of Muscovite men of various ranks.  Close-ups with identifications are shown below.



mayerb21.jpg (46627 bytes)
A boyar or state councillor;
a Prince
mayerb22.jpg (53199 bytes)
A Sotnik;
a leading merchant (gost')
mayerb23.jpg (59335 bytes)
A merchant;
a noble
mayerb24.jpg (53803 bytes)
A boyar's servant
mayerb25.jpg (30443 bytes)
A musketeer
mayerb26.jpg (51190 bytes)

A Kalmyk;
an Astrakhan' Tatar

mayerb36.jpg (41004 bytes)   [59].  Muscovite women of various ranks (and one child).  Close-ups with identifications are below.



mayerb37.jpg (36158 bytes)
A boyar or
prince's wife
mayerb38.jpg (34506 bytes)
A merchant's
mayerb40.jpg (38863 bytes)
An ordinary
mayerb39.jpg (32581 bytes)
A young noblewoman
in winter attire
mayerb41.jpg (26303 bytes)
A Moscow
mayerb42.jpg (32989 bytes)
A young, unmarried
Moscow woman
mayerb43.jpg (38223 bytes)
A boyarina or princess
in fancy dress
mayerb44.jpg (34233 bytes)
A lower-class
young woman
mayerb45.jpg (37934 bytes)
A Muscovite
peasant woman

mayerb46.jpg (48021 bytes)   [60].  More Muscovites, mainly women.  Close-ups and identifications are below.



mayerb47.jpg (41015 bytes)
A Muscovite (Tatar?)
with fur coat inside out
on account of rain
mayerb48.jpg (41484 bytes)
A boyarina
serving a guest
mayerb49.jpg (43203 bytes)
A noblewoman

mayerb50.jpg (37735 bytes)
An ordinary
mayerb51.jpg (50868 bytes)
A Tatar woman
from Viatka
mayerb52.jpg (47730 bytes)
A Cheremis


mayerb27.jpg (49604 bytes)   [57].  Clerics and members of religious orders.  Close-ups with identifications are below.



mayerb28.jpg (65923 bytes)
A metropolitan
mayerb29.jpg (70939 bytes)
An archpriest;
a deacon (2)
mayerb30.jpg (25678 bytes)
A priest
mayerb31.jpg (48843 bytes)
A monk
mayerb32.jpg (23549 bytes)
A monastic deacon
mayerb33.jpg (52412 bytes)
A nun
mayerb34.jpg (26243 bytes)
An archpriest
mayerb35.jpg (49949 bytes)
A priest's wife;
A "deaconness"

2000 Daniel C. Waugh