Matisse

“The Most Moving Painter of the Human Face”

Olga Atroshchenko

Article: 
CURRENT EXHIBITIONS
Magazine issue: 
#3 2015 (48)

The Tretyakov Gallery has prepared a major exhibition to mark the 150th anniversary of Valentin Serov’s birth, with the works of the prominent Russian artist displayed on two levels at the Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val until January 17 2016. Serov proved himself as a remarkable easel and monumental painter, and graphic artist, as well as a theatre and applied arts designer. He painted landscapes and historical compositions, illustrated books and designed stage productions, but his portraiture dominated. His art made an enormous contribution to the formation of new movements, namely the Russian versions of Impressionism and Art Nouveau.

“The Most Moving Painter of the Human Face”

The Tretyakov Gallery has prepared a major exhibition to mark the 150th anniversary of Valentin Serov’s birth, with the works of the prominent Russian artist displayed on two levels at the Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val until January 17 2016.

“The East, Nationality and the West”

Irina Vakar, Tatiana Levina, Tatiana Mikhienko

Article: 
KNAVE OF DIAMONDS
Magazine issue: 
Special issue. KNAVE OF DIAMONDS

This phrase happened to be the title of a fruitful debate held in 1913. Short though it was, it represented one of the most acute problems in early avant-garde art. Painters, poets and art critics - those who created new Russian art and those who were against it - paid written attention to the subject in those days. It was not the first time that the Russian innovators faced the problem of self-identification. It had been a concern for a few years already, but before it had been expressed in the stylistics and choice of themes of their pictures only, rather than in the theoretical conclusions or statements. The complexity of the situation stemmed from the fact that the young artists traced their artistic roots back both to the French painting tradition and to the national, popular folk culture which they believed to have originated in the East. This combination allowed different trends to exist simultaneously in their painting: the primitive co-existed with Postimpressionism and Fauvism, “quotations” from Henri Matisse could be found next to the “lubok” (popular woodblock prints), while “quotations” from Paul Cezanne could be seen alongside the devices of shop-sign painting. Natalia Goncharova, one of the most notable figures of the movement, insisted that “it is necessary to blend the 'alien' art with the native one”. But what was to be considered “alien” or pure Russian at that point? Some of the works of the members of the “Knave of Diamonds” group of the end of the 1900s and through the 1910s can be interpreted as part of their dialogue with the French painters, as well as their reflection on their own roots.

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This phrase happened to be the title of a fruitful debate held in 1913. Short though it was, it represented one of the most acute problems in early avant-garde art. Painters, poets and art critics - those who created new Russian art and those who were against it - paid written attention to the subject in those days.

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