A Replete Table (Firs Zhuravlyov, undated (1860s-80s))
This painting reminds you of a Hogarth engraving, does it not? There is the same exaggerated satire, the same biting observation of sinful–ginful humanity. Obviously, this is a depiction of a party held by a lower official or the lower kind of merchnt. Certainly, it is not a gathering of the local gentry!
Indeed, it appears to be a cutting artistic comment on the “new men” of the period. This is GLUTTONY. Note well that the priest and deacon are sitting near the host and they are stuffing themselves as cheerfully as the rest. One can see the artist holding his nose as he stands at his easel…
White Guard (Aleksandr Ustinovich, 2004)
The “White Guards” were those who resisted the Reds during the Civil War of 1918-20. All of these objects were connected with the White Army, a subject that is being investigated with great vigour in contemporary Russia. Of course, any talk of such during the Soviet time was strictly verboten, and one could find out what the desert of Kazakhstan or the frozen waste of Norilsk was like first-hand if one was too inquisitive on the matter. Think of an American PC college professor on steroids, that’s what the Reds were like (if all things are equal, when the PC crowd falls, boy-oh-boy, I want to be around for the post-mortem).
In short, Russians are rediscovering their past. This is healthy. This painting is part of that rediscovery.
A Portrait of the Artist’s Daughter with Flowers (Aleksandr Sokolov, 1884)
A Portrait of a Woman (Aleksandr Sokolov, 1901)
A Central Asian Landscape (V Zhukov, 1958)