Aristotle Fioravanti (Fioravanti del Albertini, Rudolfo) . c.1420–c.1486
Italian engineer and architect of the 15th century, native of Bologna, who was, admittedly, in charge of reconstruction of Palazzo del Podesta. In Italy he acquired fame for engineering work on fortifications and moving large constructions and was invited by Ivan III to Moscow for a fee of 10 rubles per month. Aristotle Fioravanti was to build the Dormition Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin anew.
The old Dormition Cathedral of 1327 was pulled down to the very foundation in 1472 because of its poor condition and small size. At this moment, relics of the Moscow Metropolitan Peter, the most venerated saint of the Russian Orthodox Church, were found. On the old site Pskov masters erected a new cathedral which suddenly collapsed.
Thus Aristotle Fioravanti had to build the cathedral once again.
The construction works took four years. Although quite a lot of time was taken up by preparation: the ruins and the construction site were cleared, a brick plant was set going near the Andronnikov Monastery, technical equipment including rams and pulleys unseen in Moscow were prepared. Moreover, Aristotle Fioravanti traveled around Vladimir and Rostov regions in order to get acquainted with Russian architecture.
Supposedly, he went to the Solovetsky Monastery as well.
In 1479 the construction was completed.
St. Joseph of Volotsk who was known for his piety, regarded the Dormition Cathedral as the best human creation.
A subsequent chronicler repeated the praise astounded by the cathedral’s size and height. On 20 August, 1479, Metropolitan Geronty consecrated the new cathedral. Best masters took part in the wall painting of the principal cathedral. The altar dividing wall retains the oldest frescoes of the Moscow Kremlin, the representations of monks-anchorites that were made in 1481 by the artel of the celebrated icon painter Dionisy. Presumably, after the work on the Dormition Cathedral Aristotle Fioravanti took part as an engineer and artillery commander in the campaigns against Novgorod (1477-78), Kazan (1482) and Tver (1485), set up a cannon foundry, minted coins and in 1478 built a bridge over Volkhov.