HISTORY OF A MASTERPIECE
MIKHAIL VRUBEL’S "THE SWAN PRINCESS": "Unlock this secret, Tsar..."
#3 2021 (72)
The composition “The Swan Princess” (Tretyakov Gallery) was produced by Mikhail Vrubel in 1900, when he was designing sets for Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s operas at Savva Mamontov’s Russian Private Opera. Like the images from the “Demon” series, this painting projects an inscrutable magnetism. Many mysteries remain about both the history of the creation of the painting and the image of the enchanting bird maiden from the fairy tale. Among the most important of these is the identity of the model for the fair Swan Princess. Does the composition indeed feature Nadezhda Ivanovna Zabela-Vrubel - the artist’s wife and muse, as well as a splendid opera diva who performed the Swan Princess in Rimsky- Korsakov’s opera - or is it a composite image born of the artist’s imagination?
TEACHERS AND DISCIPLES
Pedagogical Reformers. HOW VASILY POLENOV APPLIED THE TEACHING PRINCIPLES OF PAVEL CHISTYAKOV
#3 2019 (64)
The pedagogical innovations of Pavel Chistyakov (1832-1919) played a key role in the development of realism in Russian art of the second half of the 19th century, in particular in helping it to overcome the inertia of academicism. Vasily Polenov was one of Chistyakov’s key followers in the field of artistic education, developing new models of teaching at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.
ART COLLECTORS AND PATRONS
THE ARTIST AND HIS BENEFACTOR: Ivan Aivazovsky and Alexei Tomilov
#1 2017 (54)
“Among other nonsense (as well as certain justified criticisms), I hear that Gaivazovsky paints too quickly and sloppily. His works are more like stage sets than paintings, they say. I no longer have the energy to refute these accusations; I can only remark sorrowfully that ‘at least the stage sets are delightful, you must concur.’” In such terms, without hiding his sincere chagrin, the well-known patron of the arts Alexei Tomilov wrote in 1842 to the marine painter Ivan Aivazovsky, who was, by then, acquiring a reputation in Europe