Pskov icon-painting school appeared in the 13th century, reaching its highest development by the late 14th – early 15th centuries. The evolution of the Pskov art was,to a great extent, determined by the history of the Pskov land, its independence from other Ancient Rus states, and the border position. The “younger brother” of Veliky Novgorod, Pskov preserved the Novgorod artistic traditions but by the late 14th century they changed so much that the Pskov iconography acquired its own independent features. Very few icons of that time have survived today but all of them can be distinguished by the prevalence of dark-green and white-pink colors in their palette. They are painted in the same style as the icon of Council of Our Lady (14th century) with the Virgin in the center seated on the pink throne against the dark-green hills in the background.
Continuous military conflicts and threats of foreign invasions determined a special tonality of the Pskov art school icons, which manifested in their stronger expression, inner dynamism, and strained images (e.g. Council of Our Lady and SS. Paraskeva, Barbara and Juliana, the second half of the 14th century, Moscow's State Tretyakov Gallery).
Another interesting example of the Pskov iconography is an interpretation of the icon of The Descent into Hell. The unique Pskov izvod (version) of The Descent into Hell considered by researchers as having being used for memorial services is represented by five surviving icons of the late 14th – early 16th centuries. The icons depict as the righteous the holy women Paraskeva, Barbara, Juliana and Catherine, especially honored in Pskov, with St. Nicholas of Myra placed in the center of two of the five Deesis rows.
At the same time, the development of the Pskov school was influenced by the Western cultural traditions. This is felt in the 14th century artworks and especially in the icons created in the 16th century. Pskov’s icon-painters were frequently accused of spreading “Latin heresies” (e.g. the icon of Council of Our Lady, the State Tretyakov Gallery, attributed to the “Barbarian master”).
The Pskov icon-painting school existed up to the beginning of the 17th century.