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Artistic Culture of the 19th Century, Part 10
September 30, 2014 18:46


Back to Artistic Culture of the 19th Century, Part 9

A new generation of talented artists appeared on the arena of Russian culture in the decade from 1907 to 1917. One of them was Zinaida Serebryakova (1884-1967) who developed traditions of Venetsianov and great masters of the Renaissance (The Harvest, Bleaching the Canvas). Her portraits of women and children excel in special inner warmth and artistic expressiveness.

K. S. Petrov-Vodkin (1878-1939) was fond of Old Russian art, especially iconography. It was echoed in the paintings The Mother, and The Morning, with the images of peasant women symbolizing high spirited moral purity. The famous painting Bathing of the Red Horse (1912) standing out with its laconic composition, dynamics of art space, classical stringency of drawing and harmony of the palette based on the main colors came to be a new phenomenon in the Russian art.
The early 20th century was also the time of unfolding the creativity of M. S. Saryan (1880-1972). His laconic works are based on bright and integral color silhouettes, as well as contrasts of rhythm, light and shade (The Street. Midday. Constantinople, Date Palm Tree. Egypt, and others).
Creativity of M. V. Nesterov (1862-1942) represented one of the very considerable phenomena of the Russian art of the early 20th century. The artist resorted to the ideal world of subtle beauty and glorified the purity of religious feeling. Mikhail Nesterov paid great attention to the landscape, which reflected the inner world of his characters. Such are his works The Hermit, Vision to Adolescent Bartholomew, Taking Monastic Vows, and others. Most of Mikhail Nesterov’s portraits are painted against the background of landscape. Such is a portrait of his daughter, for instance: the figure of the girl wearing a black riding habit stands out with its beautiful silhouette against the evening landscape as an embodiment of the ideal youth, beauty and harmony.
Russian sculpture experienced noticeable revival in the early 20th century, with a pleiad of great masters shining. Thus, P. P. Trubetskoy (1866 - 1938) manifested his talent in sculpture portraits (Artist I. I. Levitan, Portrait of Leo Tolstoy). His monument to Alexander III gained enormous popularity.
A.S. Golubkina's (1864-1927) creativity was one of the bright phenomena in the Russian art of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Her art is expressly spiritualized, democratic and filled with deep contents. She created sculpture portraits of the writer Alexey Tolstoy and a common woman (Maria, 1903). Her favorite method was sharp light-and-shade modeling, which made it possible for her to attain special dynamics and emotionality of her characters.

During that period the talented, original and multifaced sculptor S. G. Konenkov (1874-1971) created the remarkable works The Stonebreaker, Samson, and Nika (1906), one of the most captivating images. Traditions of the Russian folklore took an important place in his creativity.

Russian architecture of the late 19th – early 20th centuries stands out with the development of the Art Nouveau style, which put forward the task of drastic innovation of the artistic language. Synthesis of arts became one of the major creative tasks. The characteristic trend of Art Nouveau consisted in interweaving various manners and tendencies in art. The style evolved very fast. Decorative devices and emphasized ornamentation was typical for its early stage. Rationalistic tendencies grew stronger at the turn of the 1900s and 1910s. The late Art Nouveau tended to simplicity and chastity.

One of the leading masters of Art Nouveau was Fyodor Schechtel (1859 - 1926). His main works include S. P. Ryabushinsky Mansion; The Yaroslavl Train Station (1902), which is a paragon of the so-called Neo-Russian Style, and others.

The famous Metropol Hotel designed by architect V. F. Valkot is a typical example of the early Art Nouveau style: its facades are decorated with majolica panels based on sketches by Mikhail Vrubel and Leonid Golovin. Other vivid examples include Kshesinskaya’s Mansion (A. I. von Guegen), Yeliseyev’s Shop in Nevsky Avenue (G. V. Baranovsky), and the Vitebsk Train Station (S. A. Brzhozovsky) in St. Petersburg.

From the 1910s Russian architecture aspired to revive the ensemble building tradition of the Classicism epoch. Neoclassics was representated by I. A. Fomin (1872-1936), V. A. Shchuko (1878-1939), and the author of the Kazan Train Station in Moscow A. V. Shchusev (1873 - 1949).

Throughout its centuries-old history the Russian art was changed, enriched, perfected but always remained original and expressed  authentic national spirit of the Russian culture.


Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Russian Culture Russian History Russian Painters   

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