Sergei Orlov
Culture Across the Generations: THE TSIGAL DYNASTY

#1 2018 (58)

The creative experience of one family, passed on unnoticeably but unfailingly, first to children and then to grandchildren and yet further, is an organic linkage that ensures cultural continuity across time. In Russia, the phenomenon made itself powerfully felt in the art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Later, under the impact of historical trauma, it was rather interrupted and broken, and it was not until the last three or four decades of the 20th century that the process of its restoration began; it seems likely that in the future such artistic dynasties will continue to play a significant role.



Alexander Rozhin
Filipp Rukavishnikov: I AM NOT HURRYING ANYWHERE

#1 2018 (58)

A darling of fortune, one who undeniably drew a “lucky number” in life, and who, it appears, is well ahead of his time, Filipp Rukavishnikov also inherited a heavy burden of fame: a kind of counterweight to complement the dynastic load shouldered by everyone born into the family.



Irina Sedova
Mitrofan Rukavishnikov: THE FORERUNNER

#1 2018 (58)

Founder of one of the most prominent dynasties of Russian sculptors, Mitrofan Rukavishnikov was born on May 24 1887 in Nizhny Novgorod, into the family of Sergei (Mikhailovich) Rukavishnikov, son of the well-known Nizhny Novgorod merchant Mikhail (Grigorievich) Rukavishnikov. In 1901, at the age of 14, Mitrofan enrolled in the Emperor Alexander II Nizhegorodsky Institute for Noblemen’s Children, where he studied for six years, until 1907. After graduation the young man was still undecided about his future. He explained in his autobiography: “In the years of my initial awakening to the realities of life, in the years of my youth, in my school years, when I came to love all forms of art and especially the synthesizing forms, I, anticipating the colossus of art as a whole, began to consider my first attempts at creation as amateurish and decided to choose the path of ‘hard’ science.”


Alexander Rukavishnikov

#1 2018 (58)

Iulian was born in Moscow on 30 September 1922. When he died in 2000, I was 50 years old. His death could be said to mark the end of my childhood. Losing one’s loved ones is never easy, and, if they were anything like Iulian, it is truly devastating. Iulian, indeed, “would harm not his loved ones, nor grasses nor weeds”. At our dacha in Velyaminovo, he would rise at dawn. I was aware of this even as I snoozed: our dog Fromage, who slept by my bed, would always yawn and rise reluctantly, preparing to do his duty by watching over and following his master. Leaving the house, father would go to tend his beloved garden, which was indeed magnificent... The birds, who knew him well, would gather for an early breakfast; he, however, breakfasted with us, some four hours later... Sitting with us at the table, he would prepare sandwiches for himself and for the dog.


Irina Sedova
THE INHERITOR: Alexander Rukavishnikov and His Forebears

#1 2018 (58)

Alexander Rukavishnikov belongs to the third generation of a remarkable sculptural dynasty. Equally and extraordinarily accomplished in both monumental and medium-scale sculpture, his work has developed organically out of that of his grandfather, Mitrofan, and of his father, Iulian, alike.


Lyudmila Markina

#1 2018 (58)

The Tretyakov Gallery's permanent exhibition features, alongside the works of Karl Bryullov, a gripping male portrait. It was painted by an apprentice of ugrcat Karl”, Fyodor Moller (Theodor von Moller), and features a hazel-eyed, brownhaired man with bushy hair and fluffy whiskers. The pale face is set off by a white starched dress shirt, while the black silk necktie highlights the model's elegance. A gold chain and the insignia of the Order of St. Stanislaus indicate the holder’s wealth and position in society, while an overcoat flung over the shoulders lends a certain romantic casual look to the model. Who is the subject?

Tatiana Plastova
The Call of the Future

#4 2012 (37)

For nearly 50 years the Chernyshev-Gorsky family has played a vital role in the Russian visual arts. In 1969 Dmitry Zhilinsky, a student and associate of Nikolai Chernyshev, painted “The Artist’s Family. The Chernyshevs” (Russian Museum), and a year later “The Chernyshev Family” (Tretyakov Gallery), thus completing the family’s image. He wrote of the works: “I imagined all the Chernyshevs walking in an autumnal forest. Nikolai Mikhailovich, in profile, against Antonina Alexandrovna, full-face; further on, young oak trees, branching out, and between them the trio: daughters Katerina and Natasha, and son-in-law Andrei Gorsky. To the left, grandson Kolenka hopping around like a grasshopper, daughter Polina to the right, behind the trees. The composition and the colour seem to have been decided. A golden autumnal background. Chernyshev in a light-coloured raincoat, nearly weightless. Behind him, Antonina Alexandrovna, serious and close to the earth, stands quietly, holding a bunch of autumnal flowers. He is narrow and light-coloured – an incarnation of spirit; she is wide, quiet, beautiful – his support.”1 Many years later, in the picture “Paths of Childhood” by Nikolai Chernyshev’s grandson Nikolai Gorsky-Chernyshev, this chain of times would be looped back: the boy (Kolenka from the Zhilinsky painting) running along the road to a church and Nikolai and Antonina, supporting each other as they walk behind him, embody that continuous, endless road of spiritual quest which the members of this admirable Russian family have been treading for a century.

Tatyana Plastova
The Plastovs - A Family of Artists

#4 2011 (33)

The Plastovs are an ancient Russian family. Their ancestors, many of whom were priests, lived in the Arzamas region. Legend has it that one of the Plastovs was a cleric in an area populated by the Mordvins (the Erzya people). Their family surname then was Sinitsyn, and among them was, in the late 18th-early 19th centuries a certain Vasily Sinitsyn, a deacon fond of painting. One of the Sinitsyn family was an apprentice with the icon painter Plastov – he painted icons with the artist travelling from village to village. When his mentor died, the apprentice took his family name: at first he was called Plastov the apprentice, and then simply Plastov. The first family member about whom anything is reliably known is Gavrila Stepanovich Plastov (1801-c.1843), whose father is known to have been a cleric. Gavrila studied at (but did not graduate from) a seminary in Kazan. He also studied at an art school in Arzamas founded in 1802 by the painter Alexander Stupin. Founded on academic principles (Stupin himself had studied at the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg), the school had a curriculum combining professional education with a large range of general subjects and was endorsed by the Academy. The school placed a special emphasis on teaching icon painting.




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