Art and Faith

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin. 1919: Anxiety. 1934

1919: Anxiety

Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin



Although he’s best-known for his The Bathing of the Red Horse (1912) and 1918 in Petrograd (1920), Petrov-Vodkin was a very prolific and talented artist. This painting captures the spirit of the early Bolshevik era poignantly and in a very direct, if not minimalist, manner. Just as some of Shostakovich‘s musical compositions and Solzhenitsyn‘s writings captured the spirit of that era, this painting does so in colour. The only person unconcerned is the sleeping infant. Even the little girl senses the fear of her parents. Terror oozes out of the eyes of the girl, and her mother is distraught that she cannot comfort her. How can she? She’s worried sick about her husband, as is proper. If you defend any form of militant materialism, this is what you’re defending. Let there be no mistake. Note the date of the painting well. It was painted during the time of Stalin’s purges. There were giants on the earth, but we didn’t see them. This took guts to paint. How many of today’s loudmouthed pseudo-artists measure up to Petrov-Vodkin’s obvious courage? Very few, I’d wager…


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