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Zabelin, Ivan

    Full Name: Zabelin, Ivan

    Other Names:

    • Ivan Egorovich Zabelin

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1820

    Date Died: 1909

    Place Born: Tver', Tver Oblast, Russia

    Place Died: Moscow, Russia

    Home Country/ies: Russia

    Subject Area(s): archaeology, conservation (discipline), conservation (process), and Russian (culture or style)

    Career(s): conservators (people in conservation)


    Historian and archaeologist of Russian art, conservator and museum director. A student of Timofey Granovsky at the Moscow University, Zabelin’s early years were spent in the Kremlin Armory (1837-59). Here he wrote his early monograph on metalwork (1853). In 1859 he joined the St. Petersburg Archaeological Commission, serving until 1876. Between 1879-1888 he was Chair of the Society of Russian History and Antiquity, Moscow University. During that period, he also accepted the position of director of the History Museum (in Moscow) 1883-1908. His major book on Russian art and architecture, Russkoye iskusstvo, 1900, was produced during this final period. Methodologically, Zabelin’s early works blend the theories of Vissarion Belinsky and the German aesthetician Ludwig Feuerbach. His later writings adopt Positivistic arguments, prevalent in historic circles of the nineteenth century. Employing original documents and artifacts, rather than relying on generalized theory, he created a material history of Russia. Architectural details, everyday objects, written sources, etc. all formed the basis for his histories. He is significant for theorizing the relationship between Byzantine art and the old Russian, and how the latter assimilated its traditional representation into a feerer form. His work on wooden architecture and stone architecture remains influential today.

    Selected Bibliography

    Domashnii byt russkago naroda v xvi-xvii vekakh. 2 vols. Moscow, 1862.


    I. E. Zabelin: 170 let so dnia rozhdeniia : materialy nauchnykh chtenii GIM, 29-31 oktiabria 1990 goda Moscow: Gos. ordena Lenina istoricheskii muzei, 1992; Formozov, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich. Istorik Moskvy I.E. Zabelin. Moscow: Moskovskii rabochii, 1984; V. I. Shchepkin. I. Ye. Zabelin kak istorik russkogo iskusstva. Moscow, 1912; The Dictionary of Art


    "Zabelin, Ivan." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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