The early 13th century marks the resumption of stone house-building suspended by the Mongol yoke, and the appearance of first iconographic images. They are distinguished for the pronounced influence of Byzantine monuments, pre-Mongolian local traditions, Hellinism and archaism. The icon of the Savior Not Made by Hands from the Church of the Entrance of the Holy Virgin into the Temple (Vvedenskaya Church) created at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries clearly bears the traces of such influence. While austerity and concentration of dark and olive colors of Christ’s face and full bright brushes reveal Byzantine features, large eyes express softness untypical of Greek iconography.
Since the beginning the 15th century icons were painted in greenish-silver palette that would become one of the main features of the Rostov groups of iconographic monuments, also characteristic with local color spots on the vestments of saints and expressive graphic line. The coloration of the Rostov icons is marked for unsaturated and soft colors and fine, almost transparent, color layer. Unlike the images of the Novgorod school, the Rostov iconography almost lacks bright cinnabar, its palette is composed predominantly of the shades of ochre, brown and pink tints, soft blue and green colors. While elongated figures and lively turns of the characters in the compositions of that time indicate a willingness to reproduce the Paleologian style, the painting style appears very uncertain and is noted for schematic depiction of the wrinkles of vestments of the icon characters. Such are distinctive features of the 14th century icon-painting of (for example, the icon of St. Nicholas of Zaraisk).
The 15th century marks the growing influence of the Moscow icon-painting school, especially after the liquidation of the Rostov Principality in 1474. However, as early as the first half of the century, icon-painters sought to copy the finest Moscow style of icon-painting. The icons of that time are distinguished for pronounced softness and lyricism, such as, for example, the Holy Virgin in Prayer from the Deesis row in a church in the village of Gumenets. The drawing became more pronounced, with the palette being characterized with more contrast combinations of color spots.
With local icon-painters still working in Rostov in the 16th century, the influence of Moscow grew so much that the local iconography began to gradually lose its distinctive features. The development of economic, cultural and art life of the region in the 17th century was strongly retarded by the Polish-Lithuanian invasion. Thus, the Rostov iconography of the 13 – 14th centuries is so much individual in style and consistent in traditions, that it can be fairly regarded as an individual icon-painting school.