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Author Topic: Culture and Arts in Russia & Ukraine  (Read 32854 times)

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Offline Chris

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Re: Russian, Ukrainian and FSU Art
« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2008, 12:37:15 PM »
For those interested in Russian Art here are some great links for you, with slideshows of various examples of each style and period of art:-

Icon Painting

Russian Paintings of the 18th Century

Russian Paintings of the 19th Century

Russian Paintings of the 20th Century

Russian Lubok or Popular Print










Offline Chris

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Re: Russian, Ukrainian and FSU Art
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2008, 12:46:29 PM »
Modern Art

The rising influence of European culture in Russia during the 17th and 18th centuries brought Russian artwork closer to the familiar traditions of western painting. It wasn't until the end of the 19th century that the next great body of uniquely Russian artistic styles arose, having developed in conjunction with liberal forces of social reform. This modern movement took many different directions almost from its inception, and it would be impossible to describe all of them. However, even a very general acquaintance with their common ideas and interests makes their work much more accessible.

From the start, the modern art movement was concerned with breaking away from the classical tradition and creating a new kind of art that was intimately engaged with the daily life of Russian society. It developed a renewed interest in traditional Russian art forms, including both decorative folk art and, of course, icon painting. From decorative art it gained an appreciation of the power of abstract geometrical patterns--lines, shapes, and color were used to construct rhythms and energetic forms, not necessarily to depict objects or actual spaces. The re-examination of icon painting made painters more aware of the power of a flat, two-dimensional visual perspective. In other words, they realized that they could treat the canvas like a canvas, rather than trying to give the impression that it was a window into a space.

From the end of the nineteenth century until about 1910, the modern art movement remained most interested in traditional aspects of Russian life--religion and village life were as influential as the life of the great cities. As the forces of social reform became more closely linked to the rising population of industrial workers, Russia's avant-garde artists turned increasingly to the factory and the frenetic pace of urban life for inspiration. Brilliant colours, simplified and sharply angular forms, and an emphasis on the liberatory energy of the modern world became the basis for new and increasingly abstract compositions. Cubo-Futurism, Rayonnism and Suprematism were the most important of the styles and schools that emerged during this time. Among their most prominent artists were Kasimir Malevich, Vladimir Tatlin, Mikhail Larionov, and Anna Goncharova.

After the 1917 Revolution, the Russian Avant-Garde leapt into the service of the new Bolshevik regime. It seemed to promise just the sort of break into a new world, and sweeping away of the old, that they had been working for in art for years. They produced political posters, organized street pageants and fairs, and, most notably, carried out the design of the country's great public spaces for anniversary celebrations of the Revolution. Caught up in the new regime's emphasis on the importance of industrial power, they began to bring to composition a sense of the rationality and technological focus of industrial work and design. Constructivism, as this style is known, continued to evolve into the late 1920s, when the conservatism of the Stalinist state renounced the Avant-Garde in favor of Soviet Realism. Many of the prominent artists of the earlier schools played a central role in Constructivism, especially Tatlin. Other well-known artists of the Constructivist movement include Alexander Rodchenko, Varvara Stepanova, and Liubov Popova.

Repudiated by the Stalinist government and neglected in the west, the Russian Avant-Garde has only recently received the attention it deserves. The Russian Museum in St. Petersburg possesses the finest collection of its work.

To Evening by Alexi Zaitsev painted this year.

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Offline ECR844

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Re: Russian, Ukrainian and FSU Art
« Reply #17 on: August 31, 2008, 12:48:42 PM »
"Chris and "Mendy,"

   Out of curiosity whats a price point comparison between the Eastern artists and their western counterparts? Do you find that the art is more affordable for the more famous artists or evenly priced with "western" markets?


Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Russian, Ukrainian and FSU Art
« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2008, 01:53:46 PM »
In Europe it tends to be priced more evenly and that is one of the reasons why we maintain a very active presence in Moscow.  However the USA is a bad market for European art except in major population centers.  For example, my wife can sell a typical average sized (non-commissioned) painting in Russia, Germany, Britian or Spain for $2-5k, depending on the subject/scene.  That same painting in the USA, unless the buyer is art sophisticated, would likely set idle until the price dropped to $600 or below.

A "commissioned" piece on the other hand, where the buyer commissions the artist to paint a subject/person, and in which the buyer has more control over the final outcome, can bring $5-20K (in Europe/Russia) or even more depending on a number of variables.

Its just attitudes and priorities:  A Russian/Ukrainian housewife may be poor but she will appreciate having a quality painting inside her home.  Even if it's a major purchase, she views it as a conversation piece, future heirloom for her children, and a source of visual comfort and joy.  In the good ole USA however, the typical housewife buys art with a "dollar store mentality" of if it's pretty and the frame is wood, it can be hung on the wall. 

American's are also very 'self centric' about art too--Indian art does well in the West and Early American themes plays well from the East to Midwest.  New York and San Francisco (and Chicago to a small extent) are the rare exceptions.  These cities of course have large groups of European immigrants who are active art buyers.  The fees/commissions to get into a good gallery in these cities are often prohibitive for many artists.

We used to have her represented in Scottsdale, Chicago and Washington galleries but eventually pulled the art because after paying a 50% gallery commission and shipping/transport, export fees, it cost more to sell in the USA than we could get from the purchase price when using an established gallery.

Her art can be purchased and shipped to the USA, but by individual order.

Offline ECR844

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Re: Russian, Ukrainian and FSU Art
« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2008, 02:05:42 PM »
Thanks for the explanation, "Mendeleyev." Now does your wife have a website where her art can be purchased from, or another accessible venue?

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Russian, Ukrainian and FSU Art
« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2008, 02:10:07 PM »
As sampling of her work:


[ Guests cannot view attachments ] Commissioned portrait.




[ Guests cannot view attachments ] Painted in Spain, won award for best caricature of life at Paris art show.  The painting was large but this small photo was all I could find.



[ Guests cannot view attachments ] Patriarch's Pond, Moscow.

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Russian, Ukrainian and FSU Art
« Reply #21 on: August 31, 2008, 02:24:36 PM »
More of Mrs Mendeleyeva:


[ Guests cannot view attachments ] Floral, oil on canvas.




[ Guests cannot view attachments ] Last of the Season.



[ Guests cannot view attachments ] At the death of Moscow ProtoPriest Dmitry, the Russian Orthodox Church commissioned this to be presented at the commemoration of his 40th day after passing.

Offline Chris

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Re: Russian, Ukrainian and FSU Art
« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2008, 02:42:12 PM »
Some very nice pieces from your wife Mendy, I especially like the 'Patriarch's Pond, Moscow.' and the Floral, oil on canvas, very nice indeed.

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Russian, Ukrainian and FSU Art
« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2008, 02:44:59 PM »
Thank you Chris!   :)


ECR, thanks for the question and I'll send a link via PM.  Being a Russian website (but in several languages) there is a lot of personal information about family there especially from the number of magazine and television links about her, and with the need to keep my work as a journalist at arms length from her public work as an artist, its rare that we make it easy to put two and two together.

Offline Chris

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Re: Russian, Ukrainian and FSU Art
« Reply #24 on: August 31, 2008, 02:55:22 PM »
Mir iskusstva

Mir iskusstva (Russian: «Мир иску́сства», World of Art) was a Russian magazine and the artistic movement it inspired and embodied, which was a major influence on the Russians who helped revolutionize European art during the first decade of the 20th century. From 1909, many of the miriskusniki (i.e., members of the movement) also contributed to the Ballets Russes company operating in Paris. Paradoxically, few Western Europeans actually saw issues of the magazine itself

The artistic group was founded in 1898 by a group of students that included Alexandre Benois, Konstantin Somov, Dmitry Filosofov, Léon Bakst, and Eugene Lansere. The starting moments for the new artistic group was organization of the Exhibition of Russian and Finnish Artists in the Stieglitz Museum of Applied Arts in Saint-Petersburg.

The magazine was cofounded in 1899 in St. Petersburg by Alexandre Benois, Léon Bakst, and Sergei Diaghilev (the Chief Editor). They aimed at assailing low artistic standards of the obsolescent Peredvizhniki school and promoting artistic individualism and other principles of Art Nouveau. The theoretical declarations of the art movements were stated in the Diaghilev's articles "Difficult Questions", "Our Imaginary Degradation", "Permanent Struggle", "In Search of Beauty", and "The Fundamentals of Artistic Appreciation" published in the N1/2 and N3/4 of the new journal.

Apart from three founding fathers, active members of the World of Art included Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, Eugene Lansere, and Konstantin Somov. Exhibitions organized by the World of Art attracted many illustrious painters from Russia and abroad, notably Mikhail Vrubel, Mikhail Nesterov, and Isaac Levitan.

In its "classical period" (1898-1904) the art group organized six exhibitions: 1899 (International), 1900, 1901 (At the Imperial Academy of Arts, Saint Petersburg), 1902 (Moscow and Saint Petersburg), 1903, 1906 (Saint Petersburg). The sixth exhibition was seen as a Dyagilev's attempt to prevent the separation from the Moscow members of the group who organized a separate "Exhibition of 36 artists" (1901) and later "The Union of Russian Artists" group (from 1903).

In 1904-1910, Mir Iskusstva as a separate artistic group did not exist. Its place was inherited by the Union of Russian Artists which continued officially until 1910 and unofficially until 1924. The Union included painters (Valentin Serov, Konstantin Korovin, Boris Kustodiev, Zinaida Serebriakova), illustrators (Ivan Bilibin, Konstantin Somov), restorators (Igor Grabar), and scenic designers (Nicholas Roerich, Serge Sudeikin).

In 1910 Benois published a critical article in the magazine "Rech'" about the Union of Russian Artists. Mir Iskusstva was recreated. The new chairman became Nicholas Roerich. The group took new members including Nathan Altman, Vladimir Tatlin, and Martiros Saryan. Some said that the inclusion of the Russian avant-garde painters demonstrated that the group had become an exhibition organization rather than an art movement. In 1917 the chairman of the group became Ivan Bilibin. The same year most members of the Jack of Diamonds entered the group.

The group organized numerous exhibitions: 1911, 1912, 1913, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1921, 1922 Saint-Petersburg, Moscow). The last exhibition of Mir Iskusstva was organized in Paris in 1927. Some members of the group entered the Zhar-Tsvet (Moscow, organized in 1924) and Four Arts (Moscow-Leningrad, organized in 1925) artistic movements.

Like the English pre-Raphaelites before them, Benois and his friends were disgusted with anti-aesthetic nature of modern industrial society and sought to consolidate all Neo-Romantic Russian artists under the banner of fighting Positivism in art.

Like the Romantics before them, the miriskusniki promoted understanding and conservation of the art of previous epochs, particularly traditional folk art and the 18th-century rococo. Antoine Watteau was probably the single artist whom they admired the most.

Such Revivalist projects were treated by the miriskusniki humorously, in a spirit of self-parody. They were fascinated with masks and marionettes, with carnaval and puppet theater, with dreams and fairy-tales. Everything grotesque and playful appealed to them more than the serious and emotional. Their favorite city was Venice, so much so that Diaghilev and Stravinsky selected it as the place of their burial.

As for media, the miriskusniki preferred the light, airy effects of watercolor and gouache to full-scale oil paintings. Seeking to bring art into every house, they often designed interiors and books. Bakst and Benois revolutionized theatrical design with their ground-breaking decor for Cléopâtre (1909), Carnaval (1910), Petrushka (1911), and L'après-midi d'un faune (1912).



source: Wikipedia

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Russian, Ukrainian and FSU Art
« Reply #25 on: August 31, 2008, 03:05:56 PM »
[ Guests cannot view attachments ] One of my favourite Russian painters is Boris Kustodiev, 1878-1927.



[ Guests cannot view attachments ] Home, by Kustodiev.



[ Guests cannot view attachments ] Reading of the Proclamation, Kustodiev.



[ Guests cannot view attachments ] Although not Russian, Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697 – 1768), known as Canaletto, was a Venetian artist famous for his landscapes and his work is adored by Russians.

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Russian, Ukrainian and FSU Art
« Reply #26 on: August 31, 2008, 03:22:58 PM »
[ Guests cannot view attachments ] Art classes are still popular in Russia.



[ Guests cannot view attachments ] "Three Horsemen." Mikhail Vasilyevich Nesterov (1862 - 1942) specialized in painting religious symbolism.



[ Guests cannot view attachments ] Saint Olga, by Nesterov.



[ Guests cannot view attachments ] Nesterov's "Taking the Veil."



[ Guests cannot view attachments ] Nesterov was also fascinated by the work of Russian scientist Pavlov.

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Russian, Ukrainian and FSU Art
« Reply #27 on: August 31, 2008, 03:45:14 PM »
[ Guests cannot view attachments ] Александр Яковлевич Головин (Aleksandr Yakovlevich Golovin), 1863-1930.  "Flowers."



[ Guests cannot view attachments ] Golovin's "Roses and Porcelain."



[ Guests cannot view attachments ] Golovin's "Flowers and China."


Golovin was a master at florals and used vivid colours on elegant settings (marble, china, porcelain, etc) to create his effects.

Offline Chris

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Re: Russian, Ukrainian and FSU Art
« Reply #28 on: September 01, 2008, 02:22:46 AM »
Jim

Giovanni Antonio Canal has many works of art in collections in the UK, here are two that I have seen, they are at Tatton Park in Cheshire, owned by the National Trust.

The Molo: Looking West. 1730.
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Riva degli Schiavoni: Looking East. 1730
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The Queen also owns a number of Giovanni Antonio Canals paintings and the National Gallery, London also has a number on display at any time.

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Russian, Ukrainian and FSU Art
« Reply #29 on: September 01, 2008, 08:53:23 AM »
More about Orthodox Icons:

In his earlier introduction to this thread, Chris gave us a link to learn more about ICONS.  Its such an excellent site that we decided to post some of the information directly, giving credit to the Professor who has taken such time and effort to help us understand how icons are painted.

(Mendeleyev note: In Orthodox language ICONS are never 'painted' but instead are "written."  A painter of icons is therefore referred to as an "icon writer."  Professor Boguslawski has however kept with the common term of 'painter' for sake of simplicity.)

Alexander Boguslawski is a Russian professor of art (Rollins College) who has done much on the internet (non-profit) to promote the new artists of Russia and also to introduce Western audiences to historic Russian artists we'ver never met.  His explanation on Icons is excellent!

Professor Boguslawski says, "When we look at icons, we are struck by their apparent simplicity, by their overemphasized flatness, unreal colors, lack of perspective, and strange proportions. At that moment we should stop and remind ourselves that we are applying to icon painting those aesthetic criteria which allow us to enjoy the works of the Italian masters of the Renaissance. As viewers, we apply the familiar criteria to an unfamiliar artistic expression.

We are conditioned by the art of the Renaissance to appreciate the architectural details rendered in mathematical linear perspective, to admire the beauty of the human body, the lush landscapes stretching far towards the horizon, and the still lives with lights, shadows, and three-dimensional shapes so real that we can almost pick a glass from a table or an apple from a platter.

In a word, we are used to see on the surface of a canvas or panel something familiar, easily recognizable, something which we can adequately analyze by using familiar categories of perspective, color scheme, point of view, light and shadow, and volume. Unfortunately, we cannot use this kind of analysis on icon painting because, in contrast to the art of the Renaissance, icon painting is not illusionist, that is, it does not try to convince the viewer that the world depicted on the panel is real, but, on the contrary, tries to make sure by all the means it possesses, that the represented is unreal, ideal, dematerialized.

We cannot diminish the achievements of Byzantine and Russian artists by assuming that they did not know how to paint better. They simply consciously and purposely employed a completely different convention of painting, a completely different artistic language. To be able to appreciate the spiritual depth of icon painting we must learn at least the basic "grammar" of this language.

- Icon painting strikes us by the frontality of the figures. This frontality brings the figures in direct relationship with the viewer and gives the fullest expression to the faces.

- The faces of the saints have large, almond-shaped eyes, enlarged ears, long thin noses, and small mouths. Icon painters attempt to indicate that each sensory organ, having received the Divine Grace, was sanctified and had ceased to be the usual sensory organ of a biological man.

- Icon painting deliberately disregards the principle of natural perspective in order to avoid at any cost the illusion of three-dimensionality. Instead, it gives the impression of complete flatness and the lack of perspective. However, icon [writing] does use a perspective, called by scholars either reversed or inverted, just to indicate that this perspective is different than the illusionist perspective of the Italian masters. Inverted perspective depends on multiple points of view. But these multiple points of view are placed in front of the painting, not behind it, which results in background objects often being larger than the foreground ones and in distortions in shapes of some of the objects.

- In addition to the inverted perspective, icon painting uses the so-called psychological perspective which is based on the principle that the most important figure in the composition should be the largest and centrally placed. The viewer's attention is drawn to what is central and larger rather than to what is marginal and small.

- When icon painters depict an event which took place inside, in an interior, they place all the participants in the event outside, indicating in the background the walls of the house, church, palace, or city. This allows them to "uncover" the very essence of the event and give due to the participants instead of having to deal with various interior elements which could obscure the meaning of the events happening inside.

- Since icon painting is not realistic, it shows no natural source of light and does not represent shadows. The only light in icons is the inner light of sacred figures and light of the divine Christ.

- Icon painting has the ability to represent several moments of the same action (story) on one panel. In the scene of the Nativity we can see not only the birth itself, but also the arrival of the Magi, the shepherds spreading the good news, Joseph being tempted by the devil, and even the servant women washing the baby. Some scholars call this the "continuous style."

- Other features of icons which help us in understanding their meaning are simplicity, clarity, measure or restraint, grace, symmetry or balance, appropriateness, and symbolic colors. [A.B.]


Taken from Alexander Boguslawski, Professor at Rollins College, http://www.rollins.edu/Foreign_Lang/Russian/ruspaint.html



[ Guests cannot view attachments ] Russian icon of the Virgin Mary.  All Eastern Catholic (Orthodox) churches refer to her as the Theotokos, a title recognized at the Third Ecumenical Council. The term means "God bearer."



Further note:  Emphasis (bold) added by Mendeleyev.