Friday, 14 December 2012

Art Corner: Romancing the Unknown: Alexander Ivanov & Boris Kustodiev

ApolloHyacinthus and Cyparissus Singing and Playing Music by Alexander Ivanov 

Some of my earliest memories of childhood were the books my dad got for me or about the stories that he read to me. Two such books from those days that rank among my favourites contain collections of prints/posters (reproduction from the original) by the Russian masters: Alexander Ivanov and Boris Kustodiev. These have etched an indelible mark in my memory and maybe my passion and curiosity with fine arts sparked from here.

Alexander Ivanov from nineteenth century Russia was a painter who was influenced by Neoclassicism. He was born in St. Petersburg, lived in Rome and died in St. Petersburg. He knew the legendary Russian Gogol writer and playwright, Gogol. In Rome, he was largely influenced by the Nazarene Movement which aimed to revive the element of Biblical mysticism through its paintings. My book includes the prints of his masterpieces such as Cleansing of the Temple, The Appearance of Christ before the People, Apollo, Hyacinthus and Cyparissus Singing and Playing Music, Girl from Albano Standing in the Doorway, A Tree Branch, Stones on a River Shore, The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene, Seven Boys in Colourful Clothes, A Head of a Young Man, Head of John the Baptist and Nude Boy on a White Blanket. Each of these paintings tells a story and my favourite is Stones on a River Shore. His collection is housed at the Russian Museum at St. Petersburg.

White Horse by Alexander Ivanov

Boris Kustodiev was a Russian painter and stage designer who lived between the nineteenth and the twentieth century. His art was influenced by the Russian Revolution of 1905, the Russian Revolution of 1917 and his own childhood that he reconstructed in his paintings of the River Volga. However his art reveals the joy, richness and celebration of life such as the Portrait of Julia Kustodieva (his wife), the Promenade Along Volga River, Fair, Country, Shalyapin, The Merchant’s Wife and Russian Venus. He was a traveler; however he always returned to Russia.

(Article by Kabita Sonowal)

The Merchant’s Wife by Boris Kustodiev

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