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The New Hermitage ... oh, my town, you are so elusive...
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... oh, my town, you are so elusive...

In the 10s - 30s of the 20th century the townscape became a popular subject in which many artists were concerned. In the late 19th - early 20th century there was an interst to architectural motives too. But, if members of "The Union of Russian artists" depicted mostly Russian monasteries and villages, such masters, as A.Benois, M.Dobuzhinsky, A.Ostoymova-Lebedeva, members of "The World of Art", directed their attention to imaging the urban medium. The city in the works by these masters glorifying St. Petersburg turned out to be a certain nostalgic memory of the past times, in which a modern person have no place.

The succeeding generations were not just simple detached on-lookers of urban life. Russian cubists-futurists actively subordinated the town to their moods, analyzed it and made laboratory preparations. Their works are based on compiling architectural volumes from colour planes irrespective of what town we see on the picture: it can be Kiev by D.Shterenberg, Benares by A.Kravchenko or Moscow by A.Lentulov. and even later, in the 20s - 30s, the "cubistic" approach to imaging architecture is still clearly seen in the works of leading representatives of "The Jack of Diamonds" P.Konchalovsky, A.Kuprin, A.Osmyorkin.

The times were changing, the attitude towards the city was changing too In the 30s many artists disapproving of the semi-official art policy searched in a huge megalopolis for "small corners close to their heart" which then revived on their canvases. These townscapes are full of tenderness and love. For many Moscow artists of that time the district of Maslovka street, where the workshops of the Union of artists were situated, became "their small motherland". These quiet outskirts could not stand any pomposity or loftiness. Old houses, narrow streets, small yards, thin trees - those are the views imaged on modest products by S.Adlivankin, V.Midler, A.Bychkova-Koltsova imbued with warmth and sincerity.

On pictures by A.Labas, A.Kuprin, P.Pokarzhevsky even such odious motives, as the Moscow Kremlin, appeared to be softened, enveloved in lyrical veil. and this attitude to monuments of Russian architecture, certainly, was determined by the fact that these works were not commissioned but deeply personal.

In conclusion it should be noticed that the leitmotive of a larger part of the townscapes on display is the motive of "my" house. and it does not matter where this house is A.Kravchenko finds it both in Paris and in Benares, L.Turzhansky and P.Konchalovsky - in the old Moscow, N.Udaltsova - in Armenia, A.Drevin - in the Altai. and it does not matter whether it is a village house or an urban one, because any town begins with one house. and here is this house before us, and nearby - one tree, one person, one animal - all that represents the basis of human existence in the world.

L.Kashuk,
master of art criticism

Masterpieces of private collections
The Unknown Aspects of Victor Kalinins Creative Work
Maps and views of Russia. The exhibition of engravings and lithographs. 17th19th centuries.
Russian avant-garde of the 10s and 60s
Alexander Sitnikov
Russian artists living abroad
Landscape in the works of Russian artists
Just in Tunic of Golden Hair Clothed
... oh, my town, you are so elusive...
Konstantin Gorbatov
Relics of russian Freemasons
Lets remember! exhibition of paintings of the 30s60s
... oh, my town, you are so elusive...
"... oh, my town, you are so elusive..."
 
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