The first peredvizhnik of buildings - Aristotle Fioravanti

Аристотель Фиораванти
Aristotle Fioravanti (1415 - 1486)

Aristotle Fioravanti was born in 1415 in the Italian city of Bologna, came from a family of hereditary architects, mentions of which are found in the chronicles of the city from the middle of the XIV century. Aristotle's father, Rudolfo Fioravanti, is credited with such significant works as the rebuilding of the Palazzo Comunale (Palace of the Community) after the fire and the strengthening of the Aringo Tower above the Palazzo del Podesta (Bologna Municipality).

Aristotle Fioravanti himself was first mentioned in the chronicle of Bologna in 1436, when he and the caster Gaspar Nadi cast the bell for the Aringo city tower and raised it there. The next bell was cast in 1453 by the same craftsmen and lifted up using a special lifting device designed by Fioravanti, who was not only an architect, but also an engineer.

In August 1455, under the leadership of Fioravanti, the first documented relocation of the building was carried out: the 24-meter bell tower della Magione (demolished in 1825) at the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Bologna was moved 13 meters in a few days to make way for the construction of a new city administration building. For this, the City Council of Bologna awarded him the title of foreman of the lodge of masons of his native city and appointed him a lifetime security. In September of the same year, Fioravanti straightened the bell tower of San Biagio in the city of Cento.

The bell tower of the church of Santa Maria Maggiore (was destroyed in 1825), in the photo the bell tower, built again

In 1474, Fioravanti met with the Russian ambassador Semyon Tolbuzin, who was sent to Italy in search of an architect to work in Moscow.

Ivan III urgently needed an experienced and talented architect, since in 1474 a disaster occurred in the Moscow Kremlin — the almost completed new Assumption Cathedral collapsed. Pskov craftsmen who examined the collapsed building concluded that "lime is not glued and stone is not hard," but they did not undertake the construction of a new cathedral themselves, and Semyon Tolbuzin was immediately sent to Italy for a suitable specialist on the advice of Sophia Paleologue.

In 1475, the sixty-year-old architect went to the Moscow Principality.

Aristotle Fioravanti's work in Moscow began with the dismantling of the ruins of the Assumption Cathedral of Myshkin and Krivtsov.

The walls of the new cathedral began to be erected already in 1475, at the same time they put up internal pillars on which the vault was supposed to rest.

The cathedral was completed by 1477, although there was still interior decoration, which took about two more years. On August 15, 1479, the solemn consecration of the cathedral took place.

Успенский Собор (первый кафедральный, после монголо-татарского нашествия)
Assumption Cathedral (the first cathedral, after the Tatar-Mongol yoke)

In addition to the Assumption Cathedral, Fioravanti did not build other buildings in Russia, but there is reason to believe that it was he, the famous master of fortification works, who ordered the master plan of the new walls and towers of the Kremlin, which were planned to be erected instead of the old, dilapidated white stone ones (in the work of the famous Italian diplomat Ambrogio Contarini it is clearly indicated that the whole city in 1476, including the Kremlin, they were exclusively made of wood). Aristotle is also credited with the construction of the Cannon Yard (on the site of the current Cannon Street). Rumor also attributed to him the creation of a secret underground vault on the territory of the Moscow Kremlin for the legendary Ivan the Terrible Library.

In 1478, Fioravanti, as chief of artillery, participated in Ivan III's campaign against Novgorod, and during this campaign he built a very strong pontoon bridge over the Volkhov River. After this campaign, the master wanted to return to Italy, but Ivan III did not let him go. After that, Fioravanti tried to flee Moscow. The reason was that in 1486 Ivan III ordered the Italian doctor Leone Ebreo to provide medical care to an unknown Tatar prince. And after numerous attempts to cure the patient failed, Ivan ordered Ebreo to be publicly beheaded. This made a terrible impression on Aristotle, and he wanted to escape, in Livonia Aristotle was caught, he was brought back, followed by arrest and imprisonment. However, the imprisonment did not last long. Aristotle Fioravanti was needed by Ivan III, since in 1482 a campaign was planned for Kazan, where an engineer was needed. After the march to Tver in 1485, the name of Aristotle Fioravanti is no longer found in the chronicles; there is no evidence of his return to his homeland. He probably died soon after.