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Artistic Culture of the 19th Century, Part 9
September 30, 2014 13:13


Back to Artistic Culture of the 19th Century, Part 8

Realistic approach in painting, as well as in literature, was very fruitful. Ilya Repin, Vasily Surikov, Viktor Vasnetsov, Vasily Vereshchagin, Vasily Polenov and other outstanding artists continued their painting in the late 19th – early 20th centuries.

During this period the talent of Valentin Serov (1865-1911) flourished and deepened the substance of realism and expanded its expressive possibilities (The Girl with Peaches, Sunlit Girl, portraits of Maxim Gorky, Yermolova, and others). Valentin Serov varied his painting manner depending on the subject of his work, the particular qualities of the life model (portraits of Mikhail Morozov, banker V. Girshman, Princess Orlova, and others). Historical compositions (Peter I) and mythological scenes (The Abduction of Europa, Odysseys and Nausicaa) took an important place in his creativity.

One of the most outstanding artists who broke fresh grounds in painting was Konstantin Korovin (1864-939) who was partly under the influence of Impressionism (Winter, Summertime, Roses and Violets, etc). The artist created scenery for stage productions of Savva Mamontov’s Russian Private Opera, the imperial companies and the Bolshoi Theater. Konstantin Korovin's best theatre settings are related to the national spirit of Russia, its epos and fairy tale, as well as its history and nature.
 
The Symbolist art by Mikhail Vrubel is highly emotional and spirited (1856 - 1910). The expressiveness of his works was attained by means of dynamic painting, flickering colors, and vigorous drawing. It embraced easel painting, book illustration, decorative panels and theatrical scenery.
 
One of central subjects in his creativity was the Demon cast by Mikhail Lermontov’s same-name Romantic poem (The Demon Seated, The Demon Flying, and The Demon Downcast). His decorative panels brought epic heroes back to life (Mikula Selyaninovich, The Strongman). Fairy tale images of Pan and The Swan Princess are enchanting. Very peculiar and remarkable are his portraits of Savva Mamontov, V. Borisov, and others.
 
Nature and the person were poeticized in paintings by V. Borisov-Musatov (1870-1905).
 
The ideological and art group Mir Iskusstva (World of Art) with Alexandre Benois (1870-1960), Konstantin Somov (1869-1939), Leon Bakst (1866 - 1924), Yevgeny Lansere (1875 - 1946), Mstislav Dobuzhinsky (1875-1957) and other members came to be a considerable phenomenon in the Russian art life. Its artists achieved the most considerable progress in two areas: theatre scenery and graphic art. Landscapes of old Petersburg and its suburbs, as well as portrait became the peculiarity of easel graphic art. A. Ostroumova-Lebedeva made a great contribution into graphic art of the early 20th century. Ivan Bilibin, Dmitry Kardovsky, Georgy Narbut and others fruitfully worked in book illustration. 
 
The Union of Russian Artists (1903-1923) also integrated talented masters, such as K. Korovin, A. Arkhipov, A. Vasnetsov, S. Malyutin and others. A. Rylov, K. Yuon, I. Brodsky, A. Malyavin were akin to the Union in their artistic views. Landscape was the principal genre in the art of the Union members. They depicted nature of Russian midland, the sunny south, and the severe north, the Old Russian towns and ancient estates. These artists showed interest in fast visual scope of the world, dynamic composition, and erasing the boundaries between the composition painting and the study from nature.
 

Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Russian Culture Russian History    

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