Art and Faith

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Ivan Kramskoi. A Portrait of a Woman. 1867

Filed under: 19th century,fine art,human study,portrait,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

A Portrait of a Woman (Ivan Kranskoi, 1867)

Ivan Kramskoi. Rusalki. 1871

Rusalki (Ivan Kramskoi, 1871)

In Slavic mythology, a rusalka (plural: rusalki) was a female ghost,  nymph, succubus, or mermaid-like demoness that dwelt in a  waterway.  Most traditions said the rusalki were fish-women, who lived at the bottom of rivers. In the middle of the night, they would walk out to the bank and dance in meadows. If they saw handsome men, they would fascinate them with songs and dancing, mesmerise them, then lead the person away to the river floor to live with them.

Ivan Kramskoi. The Sleepwalker. 1871

Filed under: 19th century,fine art,human study,rural scene,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

The Sleepwalker (Ivan Kramskoi, 1871)

Ivan Kramskoi. A Portrait of the Author Graf L N Tolstoy. 1873

Ivan Kramskoi. A Portriat of the Author L N Tolstoy. 1873

A Portrait of the Author Graf L N Tolstoy

Ivan Kramskoi



Most portrayals of Tolstoy (1828-1910) in the West show him in his old age. This portrayal is from a period midway between his two masterwork novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1879). Tolstoy has a larger reputation in the West than he does in Russia. In Orthodox circles, he is rather a sorry figure, as he ended his life as a heretic, who refused the last rites of the Church. Indeed, this is one of the reasons for his wide repute in the secular West. He was a man who undoubtedly had talent, but he was a heretic; we should never forget that fact. If you wish to read great literature, read Dostoyevsky. In fact, a preference for Dostoyevsky or for Tolstoy is a good litmus test. Most real Orthodox Christians prefer Dostoyevsky, most Orthodox who have taken on the morés of secularism or the Western confessions prefer Tolstoy. I have found it most accurate.


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