Russian Painting

Russian Avant-garde ©Cea/flickr

Russian Avant-garde ©Cea/flickr

The place called the Imperial Academy of Arts is also the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. It is situated by the third largest river in Europe, the Neva River, which flows from Lake Ladoga to the Neva Bay of the Gulf of Finland. Since its creation in 1757, it was meant to give Russian artists an international status and role. Ivan Argunov, Dmitry Levitzky, Fyodor Rokotov and Vladimir Borovikovsky are some of the well-known painters from the Academy. Here is where Karl Briulov and Alexander Ivanov concentrated on the Biblical themes as well as the mythological neoclassicism and 19th century Romantism style flourished.

Neoclassicism and Romantism

With classical art and culture of Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece, and when there is Western movements in the decorative arts, or visual arts, theatre, literature and architecture, it is Neoclassicism. If it is intellectual, artistic and literary with Industrial Revolution, revolt and impact on education, historiography and natural history, that is Romanticism. A revived clash in design and color, mood and expressiveness with emphasized brushstroke is what makes it different from neoclassicism which is repressed and self-effacing.

Realist Painting vs Russian Avant-garde

Lubok ©Discoloribus/flickr

Lubok ©Discoloribus/flickr

This style of realistic art developed in Soviet Union is pretty dominant in communist countries. The third person objective reality, without linguistic practices and beliefs and is totally independent of man’s conceptual schemes. So you will see, everyday situations, or characters, even dilemmas in an all ‘true-to-life’ way. Russian Avant-garde artists such as Kazimir Malevich, Vladimir Tatlin, David Burliuk, Aleksandra Ekster, Wassily Kandinsky and Alexander Archipenko are well known for this art of work. It was so ever popular from 1917 to 1932. At some point, it clashed with the social realism. Russian Avant garde also covers movements such as Neo-primitivism, constructivism, suprematism, and futurism. Neo-primitivism fuses elements of Cezanne, Futurism and Cubism. Traditional Russian motifs and folk art conventions like the lubok and Russian icon can be visible. Lubok is a popular print with simple graphics and narratives from religious stories, popular tales and literature. As for constructivism, influencing major trends are De Stijl and Bauhaus movement. The suprematism focused on geometric forms while futurism consists of emphasized and glorified themes. Contemporary concepts of the future, like technology, speed, violence, youth, car, industrial city, airplane to name a few. One Russian-French painter who is a Cubo-Futurist, Suprematist, Constructivist is Aleksandra Aleksandrovna Ekster.

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