The Art of Natalya Nesterova
We spent a long time searching for a background. We wandered around the yellow Summer Garden and other no less summery gardens, all with freshly cut green lawns and little white dogs lying on them. We walked around Moscow, around other cities, among men and women who looked preoccupied even in their leisure hours. We walked by the sea, by the bright sea, along the bright sand, and the people were in bright clothing, and all was tranquilly tense.
From time to time, birds appeared, not entirely unthreatening. Their wings entangled, but they did not fall, though they were heavier than air. Angels, though lighter than air, did crash down, threatening the lives of those they should protect. Numberless eyes spied over our unintelligent lives, and our transparent silhouettes were lit by leaden clouds, hanging uneasily in the atmosphere, while figures in uncomfortable poses hovered above the land. Above the lands, for various were the places of our sojourns, desires, joys, suffering and play.
Among these lands, one was familiar to the point of unrecognisability, where all that had long since happened was still happening, where He who was still to return had not yet left, where those by whom He was betrayed were still devoted to Him, where those who preached did not believe. And we saw that which was depicted in words bereft of words, and in the absolute silence, we heard what He said to the remaining 12, each in their place in their own square, separated from each other by the white boundary of the wall, yet we have not yet understood, not in the course of 2,000 years.
We wandered through time in our quest, often returning home to the space where different unknown women and men, rather more beautiful than ourselves, and completely knowable, ate, played cards, talked or simply contemplated. They paid us no attention, as if we were a background. Is it not so? Are not our wonderful lives, in this time as in any other, a canvas primed with the passions and flatness of being, upon which a great artist spreads his world? A living world, may it be noted.
The entire surface of the canvases painted by Natalya Nesterova is filled with the mysterious anxiety of anticipation. Allow your gaze to wander, even briefly, from the painting, leave it unobserved even for a second, and something of the utmost importance will have happened not only in the life of its characters, but also in your own life. Such is Nesterova’s talent. She clearly exults in certain states of canvas, although one is more preoccupied by the feeling that something inevitable may happen if we lingered in her world, leaving our own unattended.
Photograph by Yuri Rost
Oil on canvas. 100 × 80 cm
Oil on canvas. 90 × 60 cm
Oil on canvas. 75 × 100 cm
Oil on canvas. 90 × 90 cm
Oil on canvas. 100 × 70 cm