- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; First Edition edition (October 30, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0810937581
- ISBN-13: 978-0810937581
- Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 1.2 x 13.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,961,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Russian Design and the Fine Arts 1750 - 1917 First Edition Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
The impulse toward a strongly national art in Russia surfaced around 1750 and took nourishment from folk art, craft traditions and the Russian Orthodox Church. A succession of styles--pseudo-Gothic, Russo-Byzantine, romanticism--culminated in a self-conscious ``Russian style'' by 1875. Its impact reverberated in painting, theater design, architecture, furniture, jewelry and ceramics. This ravishing, enlightening volume reclaims a whole tradition, much of which was eradicated by Communist repression or neglect and the Soviet push for industrial functionalism. Nikolai Roerich's mystical paintings of ancient Rus, Ivan Bilibin's faithful renderings of village life, sophisticated portraits, the flowering of church architecture and town planners' attempts to utilize what already existed instead of imposing a classical blueprint are illuminated with the aid of 300 illustrations (most in color). Kirichenko, a Moscow art historian, is an entertaining as well as informative guide.
Copyright 1991 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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I found two periods especially interesting - the early period to about 1840 and the Orthodox art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The first consists of a fascinating series of attempts to find a Russian style that draws upon Greek and Gothic influences. Many motifs we would not now see as quintessentially Russian were used as an expression of Russian visual identity.
The second part I found particularly interesting was that of the Orthodox renaissance in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During this time, amazing ecclesiastical architecture and art was created, but this time wasn't covered in traditional Soviet overviews of Russian art, so it was interesting to see it here. At the end, we learn about the Russian avant garde - Goncharova, Kandinsky, etc - and how they drew from the prior two centuries' work of defining a Russian style. I've read quite a few works on the avant garde, but this book makes clear that they were the culmination of a much longer process that came from within Russia. Of course, the avant garde were also drawing on European models for their style of painting, and on the Russian tradition for subject matter in many cases.
I should note that the book is written like a textbook and requires persistent and not always enjoyable work to get through. Also, many of the items noted aren't illustrated. So if someone wants to learn about Russian art in general, this is probably not the place to start. However, those with a scholarly interest in the topic will find this a must read.