revolutionary turmoil on canvas as russia shows art of 1917
Last Updated : GMT 06:49:16
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Last Updated : GMT 06:49:16
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from 1917 evokes the social turmoil

Revolutionary turmoil on canvas as Russia shows art of 1917

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Arab Today, arab today Revolutionary turmoil on canvas as Russia shows art of 1917

Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery showcases revolutionary era art.
Moscow - Arab Today

From elegant portraits of aristocrats to scenes of demonstrators waving red flags, a major new exhibition of Russian art from 1917 evokes the social turmoil of the revolutionary year.

The exhibition, entitled "A certain 1917," which opened Thursday and runs to January 14 at Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery, displays some 150 paintings, posters and photographs from museums including the Tate Modern in London and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

The artists include Wassily Kandinsky and Kazimir Malevich as well as names less familiar in the West.

The exhibition shows how they responded in contrasting ways to the upheaval, said one of the gallery curators, Yelena Voronovich.

"As witnesses to these events, some of the painters tried to understand them -- but others tried to forget about them. That was a kind of artistic avoidance," Voronovich told AFP.

Some are directly inspired by the historic events in a year that saw the end of tsarist rule and the Bolshevik Revolution.

Boris Kustodiyev's "February 27, 1917" shows protesters in the snow in Petrograd, now Saint Petersburg, during demonstrations leading to the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II. The wheelchair-bound artist painted the scene from his window.

Meanwhile Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin's icon-like figures of women, often termed "proletarian Madonnas" hover over crowds of workers.

But such works hang alongside portraits of wealthy elegant society ladies by Isaak Brodsky and glowing still lifes of flowers by Konstantin Korovin, while Stanislav Zhukovsky painted the still intact richly coloured interiors of aristocrats' mansions.

Zinaida Serebryakova's peasants in "Whitening Canvas" resemble figures from the Italian Renaissance, while Vladimir Kuznetsov's "God's People (Black Crows)" from the State Russian Museum depicts an austere religious community.

Kandinsky, who had recently returned to Russia from Germany, shows 1917 as a sombre and tormented time in "Moscow. Red Square" and "Troubled", both from the Tretyakov's own collection.

Meanwhile, Malevich experimented with abstract geometric forms, rejecting traditional themes and subjects.

His "Supremus" paintings numbered 57 and 38, respectively from the Tate Modern and Cologne's Museum Ludwig, are on display in Russia for the first time.

Also making its debut in Russia is Marc Chagall's "The Cemetery Gates," from the Centre Pompidou, which depicts the flowering of Jewish culture during the revolutionary period.

Source: AFP

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