Ancient Russian icon-painters improved not only their technic but also composition. Composition of ancient Russian painting we can divide into four main types.

The first type is construction in circle.

Composition in ancient Russian painting of the 15th century (from icon "Miracle of Flor and Lavr").

Grazing herd of horses is on the first circle. Flor, Lavr and their companions protecting this herd are on the second circle. Two beautiful horses are on the third circle. Archangel Mike, Flor and Lavr are at the head of the composition. They are in the fourth circle.

Composition in A.A.Dydykin's work "Demyan's Fish-soup".

The composition is done as a round plate. There you can see a traditional circle composition, its decorative principle, conditionality of perspective. The details are clearly worked up.

The second type is one figure composition with vital. It was widely spread in ancient Russian painting.

Composition in ancient Russian painting of the 17th century (from icon "John the Baptist").

The middle part of the composition is one figured. It is surrounded by scenes devoted to different events from his life. One figure is always main in such compositions. It is usually done in the whole height and on the whole size of the icon. In the most cases it was put in the very centre.

Composition in I.M.Bakanov's work "Peaceful Labour".

The figure of a herdsboy playing on horn is the main. Sheep and goats are around him on flowers and grass. Far from the right there is the ploughman and from the left there is stubble. Their size is less than the herdsboy's. The bright colour of threes, mountains, bushes and clouds create an illusion of ornamental design.

The third type is a single whole composition of narrative character.

Composition in ancient Russian painting of the 15th century (from icon "Christmas").

In the centre of composition in the cave which served as sheep-cot we can see Virgin a baby Christ just born. Lower on the right you can see his washing and on the left you can see a devil in the image of a man confusing the old Iosiph. On the top left you can see angels are telling about Christ's birth. In the middle of the left you can see Magi coming to beg to the new born Christ and to give him presents. All the pictures belong to different times and each of them tell us about different things and in the whole they throw light on all particulars of a case.

Composition in N.M.Zinovyev's work "Hunchbacked Horse".

Traditional icon-painting composition is the base of many things joined in a single whole. The content of the tale is clearly worked out. The things are submitted to the central group. The whole composition is looked as a single design.

The fourth type is a onesubject manyfigure composition. This type is the most widespread one.

Composition in ancient Russian painting of the 15th century (from icon "Annunciation").

The composition shows us one subject and the same time. There are two figures in the centre. They are Maria and the Archangel. You can meet more complex compositions consisting of some figures.

Composition in I.V.Markichev's work "By the Well".

You can see a hunter and young girl talking by the well. The turning of her figure and the young boy's show us that their talk is unpleasant. The dog, the cow and overturnedbucket made the impression doubled.

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