Art and Faith

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Viktor Vasnetsov. The Three Bogatyrs. 1898

00 Viktor Vasnetsov. Three Bogatyrs. 1898.

The Three Bogatyrs

Viktor Vasnetsov


Sunday, 31 August 2008

Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin. Spring. 1935


Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin



This is a late work (Petrov-Vodkin died in 1938), but, it shows a return to the early roots of The Bathing of the Red Horse (1912). Love did spring eternal, even in the worse days of the repressions. There are just some things that pseudo-intellectual social-engineers can’t crush, thank the good Lord.


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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…


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


1918 in Petrograd (“Our Lady of Petrograd”)

Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin



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?


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