Art and Faith

Monday, 10 November 2008

Ilya Glazunov. The Roads of War. 1957/1985


The Roads of War

Ilya Glazunov


This was originally painted as Glazunov’s graduation piece from the art academy. To say that it caused a stir is an understatement. This painting is a brutally-realistic picture of war, it is not idealised in any way, shape, or form, it is not “positive” (mistrust anyone who uses that word, it is one of the worst weasel-words, it is devoid of intrinsic meaning, and can be distorted in any one of dozens of different ways). It was rejected categorically. In  1964, he exhibited the work at the Manezh exhibition hall, and the authorities confiscated the canvas and destroyed it. In the mid-80s, he redid the piece.


Sunday, 21 September 2008

Konstantin Makovsky. The Call to Arms of Kuzma Minin in Novogorod in 1611. 1879

The Call to Arms of Kuzma Minin in Novgorod in 1611

Konstantin Makovsky



This illustrates one of the most pivotal episodes in Russian history. The Poles invaded Russia during the Smuta (Time of Troubles) after the death of Tsar Boris Gudunov. They attempted to place a Catholic Pole on the Russian throne and wanted to ram the Unia down the throats of the Russian people, to make them submit to the Pope of Rome. Quite obviously, this led to a Russian national awakening. The opolchenie (militia) came to arms under the leadership of the boyar Dmitri Pozharsky and the butcher Kuzma Minin. The Poles, after hard fighting and a long siege, were defeated, and Russia and Orthodoxy were preserved from destruction. Any time you hear a Pole downing Russia, remember, they started the fight, we finished it. They attempted to force their religion upon us, and we not only rejected them, we threw them out. There’s a reason for their hatred… they attempted to murder us as a people and we foiled them. Sic semper tyrannis!


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