«There exist many painterly manners. However, it is not the manner that matters, but the ability to see beauty» (Alexei Savrasov, the painter)



Articles (About exhibitions):

Romanticists in Realistic Art
Artcouncil. No. 1
10.06.2008

On 21 December, the Central House of Artists on Krymsky Val launched Romanticists in Realistic Art, a project that joined the solo exhibits of fourteen celebrated contemporary Russian artists who associate themselves with what is known as Moscow school of painting.  

The initiator of the Romanticists was the Art Prima Gallery. The Romanticists, the coordinator of the exhibit says, logically follows up Image of Homeland (Central House of Artists, Moscow in February 2007) that proved the existence of succession of the Russian painting tradition from the old generation to contemporary painters as well as the excellent mastery of the latter ones. As Anastasia Tsyplakova, managing director of Art Prima, remarked, Romanticists in Realistic Art was meant ‘to revive the profound and pure trend of Romantic Realism in the cultural life of contemporary Russia’. Having been overlooked, happily, by the Soviet ideologists, Romantic Realism remained the only movement in the figurative art of the 20th century Russia that managed to preserve the essence of painting as lofty art, free from political or commercial expediency.

This movement was born in the circle of Alexei Savrasov’s mates and pupils and was fully developed by the Union of Russian Artists. In the twentieth century the trend saw its heydays in the work of the so-called Moscow school of painting. Romantic Realism combines the resources of the rich painterly language, which is based mostly on the achievements of Realism but also on the discoveries of Impressionism, and the awareness, serious and entirely true, of the artist being the servant of Beauty, which excludes any practicism on his part leaving the painter the only ultimate goal – that of embodying the beauty of this earth in colours. Thus, Romantic Realism makes painting free of the chains of “ideology” and “style”.

Anatoly Bichukov, Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Arts, speaking at the opening ceremony emphasized the monumental importance of the Moscow school of painting. High respect for the tradition, careful and thoughtful approach to the rich legacy of the past is what the Romanticists illustrate, those principles being a guaranty of the elite character of their paintings.

The integrality and high artistic quality of the Romanticists which meets the highest standards of a museum exposition was praised by Viktor Ivanov, People’s Artist of Russian and member of the Russian Academy of Arts. Paintings by different artists were placed next to one another in such a way that they did not contradict but reveal the best merits of each other. The exposition presented a rich spectrum of motifs and manners. It included Nikita Fedosov’s and Vyacheslav Zabelin’s landscapes, exquisite in palette and tone. Poetic love for the landscape of central Russia was felt in the canvases of Vladimir Shcherbakov, Valery Strakhov and Mikhail Abakumov. Delicate reflection of man’s emotional conditions is typical of the paintings by Vladimir Telin, Nikolai Zaitsen and Valery Polotnov. The harmony of the sky and the earth finds unexpected imagery of expression in the work of Igor Orlov. Architecture as a space-and-time phenomenon that links the past and the present is the theme of the paintings by Alexei Sukhovetsky and Yuri Grishchenko. Sergei Gavrilyachenko contemplates about Russia’s historical path and mission in his paintings small in size but emotionally charged. The high rhythms and never-ending beauty of Moscow expressed in the urban landscapes by Gennady Pasko and Alexander Tsyplakov evoke a rare feeling of aesthetic indulgence.

Contemporary masters of Romantic Realism give us brilliant examples of a rich figurative language, diversity of themes and subjects, originality of different painterly manners. Their paintings are highly emotional, musical and poetic, full of lofty love for homeland that echoed in every viewer’s heart. The praising notes in the Guest Book evidence that our contemporaries miss quality art imbued with true spirituality and moral virtues.

Publication of Romanticists in Realistic Art was timed for the opening of the exhibition of the same name. The Romanticists is to be followed by a series solo shows in the venue of the Art Prima Gallery on Chistoprudny Boulevard.