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Thread: Russian painters - pictures, facts and opinions

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    Oct 2005
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    Russian painters - pictures, facts and opinions

    Not so long ago I've heard an interesting opinion that if you ask a foreigner and a Russian to name some Russian painters or artists you'll get almost opposite results. A foreigner will almost certainly mention Kandinsky (the founder of abstract art) and similar XX century artists, an average Russian most likely will name Repin, Shishkin or other artists from 17-19th centuries who worked in a realistic manner. In Russian sources they are often labeled as great Russian painters, but I wonder how many people abroad (who do not know much about art) have heard of them?

    So I decided to start an art thread. I'm going to post some famous paintings and drawings (or just something I like) and some facts to make it more interesting.
    Feel free to comment. I hope it will not turn into total bore.

    I'll start with Ivan Shishkin, who was one of the most famous Russian landscape painters.

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    Re: Russian painters - pictures, facts and opinions

    Ivan Ivanovich SHISHKIN (1832—189
    "Russia is a country of landscapes" (c) I. Shishkin

    Shishkin was known to be a sociable, good-natured man. Here's an extract from his interview (1893):
    "What are my main traits? Straightforwardness, naturalness. My main merit? Sincerity What's an ideal of happiness for me? Peace of mind and soul. Whom I want to be? A truly great artist. Where would I like to live? Fatherland. My motto? Be Russian."
    He led a relatively happy life and died unexpectedly, but peacefully when he was working in his art studio (witnesses said that he it looked like he suddenly fell asleep). Shishkin left about 600 paintings.

    One of his most famous works is "Morning in a Pine Forest" (Утро в сосновом лесу, 1886).
    According to some polls it's the second most popular painting in Russia.

    It was printed on the wrapper of a popular Soviet chocolate candy "Clumsy bear", and to decide if it was popular because of that or if it was printed on the wrapper because it was popular in the first place is as hard as to decide What was first: the chicken or the egg.

    Now there are at least 5 kinds of "Clumsy bear" from different producers, but the wrapper has not changed (much).

    The lesser known fact about this painting is that the bears were painted by another painter Savitsky (Савицкий) after the landscape was done.

    Another famous work (almost to the point of being a cliché) is "A Rye Field" (Рожь, 187

    Kids wrote a mandatory essay on it in the 5th grade, and it was on the cover of a textbook (I don't remember which, though). This landscape is considered "ultimately Russian landscape" and a perfect expression of "Russian soul".

    A great part of his paintings were "portraits" of trees (mostly pines and oaks). Something like that:
    "Oaks, evening" (Дубы, вечер, 1887)

    "Winter" (Зима, 1890)

    Some specialists claim that Shishkin was a better graphic artist, than he was a painter. Well, it's up to you to judge.
    "Forest bog" (Лесное болото, 1889)

    Well, that's it. I'll try to limit myself to 3-5 paintings for each artist.

    You can see more Shishkin's paintings here: click.
    An article about Shishkin in English Wikipedia: click.

    PS. Any suggestions? Smaller pictures, maybe?

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