Let’s end our postings today with a bouquet of flowers.
Sunday, 22 June 2008
I’m pulling back now to a period closer to the roots of Russian art in the modern sense. No, not Modern Art, but, “modern” art in the meaning of “painting done in the academic Western European style”. However, there appear to be aspects of naive technique, so, this may very well be an untrained artist, or, one who only attended a provincial art school (probably the latter).
Not all art of the Soviet period was “heroic tractor drivers and milkmaids” nor was it all beaming Pioneers and hunky Red Army soldiers. Most of it was dependable realism, and the art faculties turned out many competent artists. This, perhaps, was a blessing in disguise. It spared Russian art much of the pseudo-intellectual trash that hangs in MOMA and other such venues. I still say that I have not seen a man with two noses, or, a woman with three breasts. Such is not art… what it is… I truly can’t say. Oh, well, the “artists” who paint such shlock have found a good “hustle”, if nothing else.
A Cloudy Day (Sergei and Aleksei Tkachyov, 1996)
The Tkachyov brothers have been painting since the Creation… or, so it seems. These guys are still going strong after starting in the 60s. Yes, all of their works bear the joint crediting. No, I do not know if they are twins or any other such detail. The Tkachyovs paint reliable late Soviet Impressionism (the style that overtook “Socialist Realism”).
Many members of the Russian aristocracy had their portraits painted in Old Russian garb. It was a fad, started in the reign of Tsar Aleksandr Nikolaevich (1881-94).
This appears, for all the world, just like an avant-garde Last Supper. The figure on the extreme right could be a Christ-figure, as the figure crouching under the table could be a Judas. The three figures at the upper left have their arms crossed over their chests as though they were receiving Orthodox communion. See the main seated figure, he is holding a chalice. Note well the fish on the table, as a fish is an ancient symbol for Christianity. In short, a spiritual (one does not know whether to call it religious or not) painting done in a very modern idiom.