Introduction to the Special issue "SPAIN–RUSSIA: ON THE CROSSROADS OF CULTURES"

Alexander Rozhin, Natella Voiskounski

Magazine issue: 
#4 2015 (49)

Dear friends,

The idea to publish this special issue of the "Tretyakov Gallery" Magazine on the theme "Spain and Russia", in the Year of Spanish Language and Literature in Spanish in Russia, came to us from the Embassy of Spain in Moscow. It continues the tradition of collaborative publications associated with the GRANY Foundation's project "On the Crossroads of Cultures". The experience of publishing such special issues in collaboration with the Embassies of Italy, Switzerland, US and Norway has demonstrated the usefulness and potential of such international cooperation in the field of culture.

Russian and international readers are presented with a panorama of Spanish art spanning the period from antiquity, through the Middle Ages and on to modernity. Some of the articles published here have been written by famous Spanish art historians especially for this special issue. Their writings are matched by articles from recognized Russian scholars highlighting the close relationship between Russian and Spanish culture.

Interest in Spanish culture in Russia has been strong for centuries. It was so great that in the 19th century a verb, "to Don-Quixote", appeared, along with the noun "Don-Quixotism", and entered the Russian language: "Don-Quixotism" is "a symbol of noble-mindedness and idealism, the aspiration to do good to people in the name of unattainable ideals". Thus, the great Russian writer Ivan Turgenev in his speech "Hamlet and Don Quixote", delivered on January 10 1860, posed the question, "What qualities does Don Quixote embody?" The answer was: "Faith, above all..."

Spain inspired Alexander Pushkin to create lyrical masterpieces, and "The Stone Guest", one of his four "Little Tragedies", is based on the legend of Don Juan. This year the travelling exhibition "Pushkin and Spain" will tour Madrid, Malaga, Alicante, Valencia, Tarragona and Barcelona. Meanwhile in Russia, the Tsaritsyno Museum has opened the exhibition "Don Quixote in Russia and Don Quixotes on the Throne".

Spanish motifs feature in the music of the great Russian composers: Mikhail Glinka's "Jota Aragonesa" and "Nights in Madrid"; Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Spanish Capriccio"; the "Spanish Dance" in Tchaikovsky's ballet "Swan Lake"; Dmitry Shostakovich's set of six "Spanish Songs", and Symphony No. 14 with "Malaguena" - a poem by Federico Garcia Lorca.

The literary masterpieces of Cervantes and Lope de Vega, Calderon, Juan Ruiz de Alarcon y Mendoza and Tirso de Molina; the artwork of Diego Velazquez and El Greco, Jusepe de Ribera, Bartolome Esteban Murillo and Francisco Goya, Pablo Picasso and Juan Gris, Salvador Dali and Joan Miro; the poems of Rafael Alberti and Federico Garcia Lorca; Jose Ortega y Gasset's philosophy; the writings of Camilo Jose Cela and Carmen Laforet; the poems of Antonio Machado, Juan Ramon Jimenez and Miguel Hernandez - all these comprise the cultural legacy of the Spanish people which has become an inalienable part of modern civilization.

The "Tretyakov Gallery" Magazine thanks His Excellency D. Jose Ignacio Carbajal, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Spain to the Russian Federation; the general sponsor of the "Tretyakov Gallery" Magazine, Mr. Vitaly Machitski; President of the GRANY Foundation, Mrs. Irina Machitski, as well as all our Spanish and Russian colleagues for their contributions to the project.

Alexander Rozhin

Natella Voiskunski




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