Art and Faith

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin. 1918 in Petrograd (“Our Lady of Petrograd”). 1920

 

1918 in Petrograd (“Our Lady of Petrograd”)

Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin

1920

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This isn’t only one of the most iconic paintings in Russian art, it’s one of the few works that’s known universally not only by artists, but by art-lovers throughout the world. It’s one of that select group of paintings that’ve passed into universal recognition. Of course, it’s “iconic”, in more ways than one. This work could only have been painted by an artist familiar with Orthodox iconography, by a craftsman totally familiar with and steeped in the long history of Russian religious art. It doesn’t bear its popular title of “Our Lady of Petrograd” in vain. There are many explicit Madonnas that don’t convey the power and force of this canvas. Not only is the specifically feminine power of maternity brought forth, it illustrates the special creative and regenerative power of women in general. In short, it illustrates why we need a “Mother of God” as well as God. Is this one of my favourite works? Need you ask?

BMD

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