#2 2022 (75)
The social and cultural biography of the professional artist in Russia is a most fascinating subject. The integration of professional painters into public life in the late 18th and early 19th centuries caused significant shifts in the national psyche and self-awareness. It added new overtones to the cultural orientations of different social strata, sometimes reinforcing their boundaries and sometimes, on the contrary, blurring them. From the moment the artist as a public figure emerged in Russian society, he exerted a powerful grip on the public imagination, creating a new “us versus them” distinction, unfixing established rules of etiquette and promoting a crossbreeding of “Western” and “Slavic” values.