#2 2004 (03)
RUSSIA’ S GOLDEN MAP
ONE CAN SAY THAT THE M.A.VRUBEL OMSK REGIONAL MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS STARTED ON DECEMBER 21 1924 WHEN THE WESTERN SIBERIAN REGIONAL MUSEUM OPENED A PICTURE EXHIBITION IN ITS MAIN LOBBY TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC. THE GALLERY SHOWCASED I.K.AIVAZOVSKY, I.I.LEVITAN, K.A.KOROVIN, V.D.POLENOV, I.I.SHISHKIN, V.E.BORISOV-MUSATOV, V.M.VASNETSOV AND A.N.BENOIS AS WELL AS OTHER WELL-KNOWN ARTISTS. BY THE TIME OF ITS INAUGURATION THE COLLECTION INCLUDED 100 PAINTINGS, THAT UNTIL TODAY CONTINUE TO BE ITS CORE AND MAIN PRIDE.
GEORGE DAWE’S "A NEGRO OVERPOWERING A BUFFALO – A FACT WHICH OCCURRED IN AMERICA IN 1809" WAS RECENTLY DISCOVERED IN AN AMERICAN COLLECTION. THE SCENE IS SO EMPHATIC IN THE POWER OF ITS EXPRESSION THAT IT WILL NO DOUBT SURPRISE THE VIEWER THAT THE ARTIST IS THE SAME GEORGE DAWE WHO IS WELL KNOWN AS THE PAINTER OF THE PORTRAITS WHICH COMPRISE THE FAMOUS MILITARY GALLERY OF 1812 IN THE WINTER PALACE IN ST. PETERSBURG: "THE BRITON", AS ALEXANDER PUSHKIN CALLED HIM, PRAISING THE EASY BRUSH AND BRISK "MARVELLOUS" PENCIL OF THE MASTER. IN THE 1820S, GEORGE DAWE MANAGED TO CARVE OUT A CAREER IN ST. PETERSBURG AND MOSCOW AND WAS ACCLAIMED AS A DISTINGUISHED PAINTER.
Italy’s great traditions of the past, its role as the cradle of the European civilization, its ancient monuments and architecture, friendly climate and the lifestyle of its cheerful and talented people – all that, since ancient times, have seemed appealing to all kind of travellers, philosophers, poets, men of letters and artists from around the world. Rome has become the treasure house of unique works of art and artefacts as the landmarks of different epochs and styles. For centuries the city functioned as the Academy of Europe, the major school for students from different parts of the continent. Artists, representing different national schools and movements came to communicate with and learn from each other. In the first half of the nineteenth century there were two communities of painters - German and Russian - who could distinguish themselves from the rest; they were the most numerous, and their representatives were the most acclaimed: for example, Johann Friedrich Overbeck, Alexander Ivanov, Julius Schnoff von Carolsfeld, Karl Brullov, Peter Cornelius and Fyodor Bruni. Although Russian painters joined the world artistic process rather late, they turned out to be extremely talented, individualistic and versatile. The author of this article has been studying the history of Russian - German artistic contacts for many years. Thanks to the scholarship granted by the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome, Prof. Ludmila Markina, Ph D in Arts, had a chance to work in the Eternal City for some time. She is happy to share the discoveries she made there.
IT WAS A LONG PROCESS OF ANXIOUS EXPECTATION RUNNING OVER ALMOST TEN YEARS TOWARDS THE EXHIBITION "BERLIN-MOSCOW. MOSCOW-BERLIN. 1950-2000". FINALLY CAME THE HAPPY MOMENT OF ITS OPENING, SEPTEMBER 28, 2003 WHICH TOOK PLACE IN THE CAPITAL OF THE FRG, IN MARTIN-GROPUIS-BAU. 500 WORKS BY 180 ARTISTS REPRESENTED NOT ONLY RUSSIA AND GERMANY, BUT ALSO SOME OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES AND AMERICA - IN ORDER TO DEMONSTRATE DIRECT PARALLELS BETWEEN THE EAST AND THE WEST.
I, FOR ONE, CONSIDER THIS EXHIBITION TO BE A TRIP BACK INTO A LAND OF MEMORIES. THE LAST TIME I VISITED MOSCOW WAS THIRTY YEARS AGO: THE MOST VIVID REMINISCENCE OF THAT PERIOD IS MY SITTING IN THE BELORUSSKY RAILWAY STATION WAITING-ROOM, WITH ALL THE OTHER PEOPLE AND THEIR LUGGAGE CONSISTING OF CARDBOARD BOXES BRIMMING OVER WITH THEIR BELONGINGS. IT WAS NEXT TO IMPOSSIBLE TO MOVE THROUGH THOSE CROWDS. THERE WERE PEOPLE EVERYWHERE; THEY EVEN SLEPT ON THE FLOOR. IT LOOKED AS IF THEY HAD BEEN AT THE STATION FOREVER.
FROM THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL IN 1990, AND THE ERA OF PERESTROIKA, THERE IS AN ENORMOUS APPETITE IN GERMANY TO UNDERSTAND THE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF THE SOVIET UNION.
The beginning of Spring marks the revival of life, but also makes us remember all those who were killed at the different fronts of World War II, and those who were turned into "dust and returned to Earth, whence they came", and whose spirits return to us to remind us about the Holocaust...
ART COLLECTORS AND PATRONS
HIS LIFE ENDED JUST A FEW DAYS BEFORE THE OPENING OF HIS FIRST EXHIBITION IN RUSSIA – AN EVENT OF WHICH HE HAD DREAMED FOR HIS ENTIRE LIFE. THE TRETYAKOV GALLERY WAS READY TO PRESENT TO THE PUBLIC A NUMBER OF HIS MASTERPIECES: THE BRIGHT AND "JUICY" STILL-LIFES, THE DIVINE LANDSCAPES OF ISRAEL, AND THE VIEW THAT HAD INSPIRED THE MASTER FOR MANY YEARS – THE RUSSIAN CHURCH IN GETHSEMANE. THE TRUE SYMBOLS OF JERUSALEM, THE CITY WHERE THE ARTIST SPENT MOST OF HIS LIFE – THE MOSQUE OF OMAR AND THE DAMASCUS GATES – FLOODED HIS CANVASES WITH WAVES OF BEAUTY AND TALENT. YET THE BRILLIANT ISRAELI ARTIST ALEXANDER KOPELOVICH ALWAYS CONSIDERED HIMSELF A RUSSIAN PAINTER.
If it is true that "all the world's a stage” - or to be more exact "all the world's a stage and all the men and women are merely players" - then the theatrical playbill occupies a special place among other graphic genres. This explains the eye-catching title of the exhibition at the Bakhrushin Theatre Museum, given by its curators: "The Theatre Begins with the Playbill". This shift of attention is from the popular saying immortalized by Stanislavsky, "the theatre begins with the cloakroom", and the move from the proverbial cloakroom to the playbill is symptomatic. It is possible not only because of the greater artistic value of the playbill as an advertisement for the theatre as an institution, when compared to the famous cloakroom hall; the stylistic change of modern life also seems to be of even greater importance.
RADICAL SHIFTS IN ART ARE VERY OFTEN CONNECTED WITH THE BIRTH OF OUTSTANDING CREATIVE PERSONALITIES. THE SECOND HALF OF THE 19TH CENTURY WAS JUST SUCH AN EXAMPLE: OVER A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME A REAL CONSTELLATION OF ART-STARS APPEARED, WHO INSPIRE TRUE LOVERS OF ART TO THIS DAY. AMONG THEM IS THE SCULPTOR MARK ANTOKOLSKY; THE ATTITUDES TOWARDS HIM OF ART CRITICS FROM DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSED WINGS OF ART - THE DEMOCRATIC AND THE ACADEMIC - WERE AS DIFFERENT AS THE TRENDS OF ART THEY REPRESENTED. THIS JUXTAPOSITION DID NOT MAKE HIS LIFE EASIER, BUT DID MAKE HIM A NOTABLE FIGURE IN THE HISTORY OF RUSSIAN SCULPTURE.
POINTS OF VIEW
Not long ago the antique market has shown some signs of revival, following the traditions that existed in pre-revolutionary Russia. The high-profile Russian art auction held by Sotheby’s in Moscow in 1988 encouraged the start of new Russian businesses involved in trading works of art. By 1993 the number of auction houses in Moscow had reached as many as five, to say nothing of numerous antique shops and galleries. Works of art, which had long been either the decoration of the Communist party high- ranking officials’ apartments, or rubbish lying idle in dusty attics as the cast-off legacy of the Russian Empire, were brought to light and put on sale.
THE TRETYAKOV GALLERY ENGINEER PAVILION MARKED THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE TRETYAKOV’S COLLECTION WITH THE PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION CALLED "TRILOGY: LEV MELIKHOV, VALERY SIROVSKY, SERGEI YASTRZHEMBSKY", A PART OF "THE TRETYAKOV GALLERY SESSIONS" PROJECT. LEV MELIKHOV, THE ACCLAIMED MASTER PHOTOGRAPHER WHOSE WORK HAS BEEN SHOWN AT OVER 100 EXHIBITIONS, AND WHO WAS NOMINATED FOR RUSSIA’S 2003 LITERATURE AND ARTS STATE AWARD, PRESENTED HIS BIRD’S – EYE VIEW COLOUR PICTURES, MADE FROM ON BOARD A HELICOPTER, IN WHICH THE MASTER MEANT TO CONVEY THE VASTNESS OF THE COUNTRY AND THE BEAUTY OF ITS NATURE THROUGH THE IMMENSE EXPANSES OF SIBERIA. BY CONTRAST, VALERY SIROVSKY, A PROFESSIONAL TRANSLATOR WHO KNOWS AND ADORES ITALY, WAS REPRESENTED BY HIS AMAZING ITALIAN LANDSCAPES, WHICH ARE BOTH WARM IN SPIRIT, AND DOMESTIC, AND TOUCHING IN THEIR CONCEPTION. AND SERGEI YASTRZHEMBSKY, THE AUTHOR OF THE SENSATIONAL "ROOFS OF THE MOSCOW KREMLIN" SERIES, CHOSE TO FEATURE HIS MOST RECENT, PRACTICALLY "FRESH FROM PRINT", WORK – MAINLY LANDSCAPES AND ARCHITECTURAL STUDIES TAKEN IN EUROPE AND RUSSIA. THE FACT THAT THE THREE MASTERS, DESPITE BEING ABSOLUTELY DISSIMILAR IN STYLE, HAD JOINED TOGETHER IN NO WAY GAVE RISE TO A DISHARMONY. EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE: THE RESULT WAS A FASCINATING BALANCE, UNITED BY ITS "THE EARTH IS SHARED BY ALL" LEITMOTIF.
MOSCOW, LIKE ANY OF THE WORLD’S GREAT CAPITALS, IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING ITS APPEARANCE. THE UNIQUE CHARM OF EACH AREA CHANGES AND, THE MORE TIME PASSES, THE MORE WE APPRECIATE THE EFFORTS OF PAST MASTERS TO RECORD THE MOSCOW THAT THEY SAW. GURI ZAKHAROV WAS SUCH MASTER, AND THE ARTIST LIVED A LARGE PART OF HIS LIFE IN THE CITY THAT HE SO GRACEFULLY DEPICTED. BORN IN THE SMALL AND ANCIENT RUSSIAN TOWN OF KIMRY, HE TOOK MOSCOW CLOSE TO HIS HEART, TRYING TO PORTRAY EVERY DETAIL OF THE CITY’S ENVIRONMENT, AS IF IN A HURRY TO CATCH THE ATMOSPHERE THAT PREVAILED IN THE CITY IN THE 1960s.