Protected: Research series: The Art and Artists of Russia (4): The Wanderers (i) – portraits and landscapes
Posted in The Art & Artists of Russia
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As all the galleries across the world are closed, it’s the online ‘exhibitions’ that come to the fore – not that many of us could just pop over to Moscow even in usual times! But this is just a quick note to direct anyone following my little “Art & Artists of Russia” articles that there are some glorious paintings on the Russian Impressionism Museum website: the English version is at Collection – Russian impressionism museum (rusimp.su)
My favourite painting (today!) from the Museum is “Little Church at Abramtsevo” painted by Valentina Diffine-Christi (sometimes Valentina Mikhailovna Diffine-Kristi) in 1953 [website link].
The picture is radiant with sunlight; the brushstrokes so loose and free with paint and colour, that it would be so satisfying to relate its expressiveness to the broader context: 1953 was the year that Stalin died.
Even if that’s not the case, the painting certainly looks back to a previous time. The Abramtsevo estate had been a vibrant and radical artists colony in the 19th century – a community that included perhaps the most famous pre-Revolution artist, Ilya Repin, and artists from the Wanderers movement who excelled in depictions of the Russian landscape such as Konstantin Korovin whose impressionism – inspired by trips to Paris, where he would settle permanently in 1923 – is a direct antecedent of “Little Church”. Here’s his painting “Yalta” from the 1910s (also at the Russian Impressionism Museum [website link]).
Hoping this might have brightened your day!
It’s New Year’s Eve, the last day of this “unprecedented” year and very much a time to look forward – with optimism and hope – to 2021. I’ve taken all the projections that there will be ‘some kind of normal’ come Spring/ Easter very much to heart – especially with our art discussion meetings and reading groups in mind; won’t it be wonderful to come together again?!
In the meantime, I have a plan for these pages here on The Common Viewer – to explore, over the next twelve months or so:
The Art and Artists of Russia
Interweaving history, culture and literature, we’ll work in fairly chronological order from the 1850s to the present day and, I promise you, it’s a fascinating story!
As always, I’m keen to draw together as many ‘resources for further research’ as possible as we go along, and one of the most important is the Russian Art & Culture website which includes news from across the arts-world, interviews and articles. They also co-ordinate “Russian Art Week” which is held in London twice a year. The Moscow Times is another brilliant general resource for contemporary Russian art and culture, current exhibitions opening across Russia, as well as film and television – and definitely worth dipping into every now and then to ‘get a flavour’ of the depth and extent of the extraordinarily vibrant Russian art world.
I’ll continue to publish the main story fortnightly (keeping each article fairly short), with ‘extras’ added in at random as we go along. And remember this is very much a ‘group project’, so please do feedback with ideas, questions and any relevant resources you come across that I can then share with everyone.
In January we’ll begin with a broad background and introduction to the project:
9th January: “Peter the Great – the birth of St Petersburg”
23rd January: “Catherine the Great – the Hermitage”
I’m really looking forward to this project and hope you’ll come and join me! For now, though:
Happy New Year!