#2 2011 (31)
My dear compatriots — residents of Irkutsk and the Irkutsk region! I welcome this opportunity to offer my warmest congratulations to you all on the 350th anniversary of our beloved city. The history of Irkutsk goes back to the times of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, when the township is first mentioned, and his son Peter the Great, during whose reign the city's coat of arms was devised in 1690. Our region's vibrant culture and science flourished as the exiled Decembrists, members of the Petrashevsky Circle and "Narodnaya Volya" contributed to its progress. Today, Irkutsk is one of spiritual centres of Eastern Siberia.
The “Holy Rus” exhibition, featuring items from Russian and international collections, was shown at the Louvre in Paris as part of the “Year of Russia in France”. Collecting many artefacts of ancient Russian monumental art and icon painting, jewellery, embroidery and other forms of artistic expression, it gave European viewers a chance to see the unfading beauty of the Christian art of ancient Rus (Ruthenia). Under the patronage of the presidents of Russia and France, its aim was to increase the European public’s knowledge of Russia. “Holy Rus/Sainte Russie” provoked a serious cultural and political response in Europe, and is now on view in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow until August 14.
On the history of the collection of books in the
Tretyakov Gallery’s academic library
In agreement with Pavel Tretyakov’s will, after his death in 1898, some of the books from his personal library became the property of the gallery, which had earlier been donated to the city of Moscow. There are several surviving documents that refer to this transfer. The most important is a 19-sheet “Inventory of Pavel Tretyakov’s Library”, rounded off with a handwritten note confirming that “the books and art publications listed herein were delivered by Pavel Tretyakov’s heir and included into the library of the Gallery of brothers Pavel and Sergei Tretyakov on November 1 1899”, signed by Ilya Ostroukhov and Yegor Khruslov1. This date can be regarded as the founding date of the modern academic library of the Tretyakov Gallery. Over time Tretyakov’s personal collection of books was complemented with a large number of publications acquired later. Today it is kept as a separate memorial fund2 - what sort of book collection had it been, and what part of it is deposited in the academic library?
The exhibition “Irrelevant Advertising. Russian Posters of the Early 20th Century” presents a collection of posters, now held at the Tretyakov Gallery, that were produced before the Bolshevik revolution. At the core of this collection are those put together by Fedor Fedorov and acquired by the museum in 1933. The art scholar Alexei Korostin wrote about Fedorov in 1950: “A collector of posters and bookplates, in other words - a partisan of the extremes who collected either very big or very small items.” A separate section is devoted to playbills the gallery received, in 1989, as a part of Mikhail Larionov’s and Natalya Goncharova’s “Parisian legacy” gifted to the museum in accordance with the will of Larionov’s widow, Alexandra Larionova-Tomilina.
The introduction of graphic advertisement posters in the second half of the 19th-century outdoor urban space became an important historical and art phenomenon. Today, its significance and well- deserved influence are beyond dispute. Displayed in public places, graphic posters exercised a defining influence over the tastes of society. However, the poster played an even greater role in the evolution of art as it attracted the most avant-garde ideas and embodied the essence of various art movements and styles. Symbolism entered the “metropolitan landscape” with the posters of Puvis de Chavannes and Aman-Jean. “Le Style Moderne”, Art Nouveau, Jugendstil, and Sezessionstil - the last style of the end of the 19th century in its many local incarnations appeared on the streets of European cities and captured the imagination of millions by way of advertisement posters by Aubrey Beardsley and Walter Crane, Alphonse Mucha and Eugene Grasset, Franz von Stuck and Gustav Klimt.
America in the eyes of the artists, actors and musicians of the Silver Age of Russian culture was an enigmatic and fabulously rich country - a country to go to on a tour or to earn money. Only a handful of such artists gradually came to view the New World as not just a source of income but also as a special cultural hub with distinct traditions and roots. One such was Leon Bakst, the Russian artist of international renown who spent the second half of his life in France.
They have an eye for beautiful and expensive things in Russia, proof of this statement is provided by the interest expressed by Russian business and high society individuals in the recent British Antiques Mission in the Moscow Expo that took place in the British Ambassador’s private residence in Moscow in March 2011.
An insulting term to dismiss a new type of art, a term that, in turn, becomes the positive identifier of that group, is by now a cliche. In 1874 a journalist in “Le Charivari” newspaper in Paris mocked a young artist named Claude Monet, who was exhibiting a painting called “Impression, Sunrise”: “Impression,” wrote the critic, “I was certain of it. I was just telling myself that, since I was impressed, there had to be some impression in it ... and what freedom, what ease of workmanship! Wallpaper in its embryonic state is more finished than that seascape.” Likewise, when a Donatello sculpture was placed in the same room as some contemporary painters at the 1905 Salon d’Automne, a critic mourned, “Donatello au milieu des fauves” - “Donatello surrounded by wild beasts” - and the term “Fauves” stuck.
Vienna’s exhibition centre, the Kunstforum, opened an exhibition of Ivan Aivazovsky, the brilliant marine painter, and member of several European academies of fine arts, on March 16 2011. The works were lent by the Aivazovsky Art Gallery in Feodosia, in Ukraine; from the Peterhof State Museum-Reserve in St. Petersburg, the Central Russian Navy Museum (St. Petersburg), the Russian Museum, the Kiev National Museum of Russian Art, the Armenian St. Lazarus Monastery in Venice, Italy, and private collections.
PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST
Dmitry Ikonnikov, through the breadth of his perception and his deeply personal feeling and understanding of the nature of art, as well as his professional experience and unarguable talent, has achieved a remarkable freedom of expression. He has created a unique figurative language, which is marked by the harmonic invariance of the form and content of his work.
The exhibition “A Master and His Disciple” opened at the Mashkov Fine Art Museum in Volgograd on June 10 2011. It charts the relationship between the Soviet master Ilya Mashkov, and his pupil Nikolai Zagrekov, who studied under Mashkov at Vkhutemas, the Arts and Crafts Workshops, from 1919 to 1921. Zagrekov went on to work and achieve fame in Germany, and the exhibition addresses points of comparison between the subsequent work of the “teacher” and the “pupil”.