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Russian Engraving Art and its Development, Part 4
March 18, 2015 15:04


Previous: Russian Engraving Art and its Development, Part 3

Satirical graphic art works released both as independent series or albums and in journals played a special role in the history of Russian lithography. The satirical series Lost but Lovely Creatures by A.I. Lebedev enjoyed wide popularity in due time. 

Unprecedented was the topical newsreel periodical Russian Art Leaflet created by V. F. Timm. It was put out three times a month from 1851 to 1862. Every issue consisted of several lithographs with explanatory texts.
 
Russian lithograph of the second half of the 19th century quite actively reflected events of the Crimean War, which had a considerable resonance in the society. A number of series depicting combats and portraits of heroes came out of press. 
From the middle of the 19th century lithography played an important role in book illustration. Nearly all leading lithographers of that time paid a tribute to it. Lots of painters took it up as well. Illustrations by the famous artist V. E. Makovsky to writings by Nikolai Gogol may serve as a good example. The artist became so fond of lithography art that he opened his own engraving studio in the early 1870s. Along with lithography, the artist was engaged in etching (aka eau forte). The album 12 Etchings by V. E. Makovsky published in 1887 was mostly dedicated to the Ukrainian folk life. 

From the second half of the 19th century this technique attracted numerous artists’ attention with its ability to create rich tone extensions and dissolve volumes in light and aerial atmosphere. Russian Aquafortists Society was established at the initiative of A.I. Somov in 1871. Nevertheless, majority of artists resorted to etching once in a while or applied aquafortis technique as combined with other engraving techniques. 
The outstanding Russian landscape classic Ivan Shishkin was an exception: he created over 100 works in this technique. The big art album 60 Eau Fortes by Ivan Shishkin was published in 1895. It brought together the artist’s best works. The artist printed the sheets himself and in the process of printing did some changes in numerous boards and added about ten new boards. The artist brilliantly used all the aquafortis opportunities, enriching them with both aquatint, and mezzotint. 
 
At the beginning of the 20th century A.P. Ostroumova-Lebedeva revived the nearly forgotten technique of wood engraving, xylographie. She made it an independent art form and enriched it with new expressive means. Her most well-known series include Columns of the Exchange and Fortress (1908), the engraver’s illustrations to the book St. Petersburg written by V. Kurbatov and Venice at Night (1914) inspired by her trip to Italy in 1911. Jointly with other masters of the early 20th century the artist practically returned to St. Petersburg its solemn image of a classicistic city. It was a big change after the perception of St. Petersburg as the city of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s characters, the image that domineered throughout the second half of the 19th century. 
 
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Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Engraving Prints Arts and Crafts   

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