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Archive for the ‘Favourite Art’ Category

Mikhail Vrubel  (1856-1910) is one of Russia’s most famous symbolists. Notably, he was popular both at the end of the Empire and during the Soviet era.

Demon Seated in a Garden (1890)

Born in Omsk to a Polish father and a Danish mother, Vrubel honed his art skills in the prestigious Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg. The origin of his unusual manner should be sought in his detailed study of Late Byzantine and Early Renaissance art.

It is the large painting of Seated Demon (1890) that brought notoriety to Vrubel. Most conservative critics accused him of “wild ugliness”, whereas the art patron Savva Mamontov praised the Demon series as “fascinating symphonies of a genius” and commissioned Vrubel to paint decorations for his private opera and mansions of his friends.

Using Russian fairy tales, he executed some of his most acclaimed pieces, including Pan (1899), The Swan Princess (1900), and Lilacs (1900).

Swan Princess (1900)

Six-Winged Seraph (Azrael) (1904)

Lilacs (1900)

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Scotland had more than one Robert Burns. The one I am interested in is an art nouveau artist. Robert Burns (1869-1941) was born in Edinburgh, studied in London and Paris, and was influenced in his art by travels in North Africa. His panel painting Diana and Her Nymphs (1926) is one of my favourite exhibits at the National Gallery of Scotland. The panel was created as part of the ambitious first floor decoration for Crawford’s Tea Rooms at 70 Princes Street, Edinburgh. Now, find how many leopards there are hidden in the panel?

 

 

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I was quite lucky to see the exhibition of David LaChapelle in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

His work is provocative and revolutionary.

David LaChapelle himself is amazing. He is a photographer and a music video/film director. What you may have seen of his includes Christina Aguilera’s ‘Dirty’, ‘Can’t Hold Us Down’, ‘The Voice Within’, Jennifer Lopez’s ‘I’m Glad’ and ‘Do It Well’, Britney’s ‘Everytime’, Madonna’s ‘Hung Up’, and a couple of Elton John’s videos.

What he does with his camera is … mesmerizing. The man is a legend


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The Tel Aviv Museum of Art has quite a good collection. I cannot say I was stunned by it though. No. Most art museums of any big European city have better collections. In fact, one would expect much more from the primary art hub of Israel. Couldn’t the diaspora contribute more to the museum? Couldn’t the State of Israel, far from being the poorest country in the world, buy more?

The museum does have Edouard Manet, Eugene Delacroix and a lot of Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso. But what it has of those great artists is mediocre and probably constitute the sorry remains, unwanted by the world’s great museums and shrewd private collectors. The quality of Manet’s piece is particularly horrifying (was the artist drunk at the moment of creating it? unconscious? dead?).

I understand though how difficult it must be to build up a good collection by a museum of a town, which is 100 years old, in a country, which is 60 years old. This museum is in no position to compete with art galleries of Europe or the States. What it does now is focusing on modern art, collaborating with Western museums, and promoting talented Israeli artists. This is a good strategy.

The exhibition, which I liked very much, is a photography exhibition by Lena Liv, a native of St Petersburg, entitled ‘Cathedrals for the Masses’. She took pictures of Moscow’s metro stations. Liv’s pictures are amazing. I am afraid that only one collage is available online. I am putting it into the post. Imagine that she had more than a dozen of such collages, all taken using different photography techniques and featuring Muscovites of various social classes and in the most bizarre poses.

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Aristarkh Lentulov is yet another Russian Avant-Garde artist whom I recently discovered. He is quite well-known in Russia and his works are exhibited in Tretyakov Gallery.

Lentulov was born in the town of Nizhny Lomov near Penza into the family of a rural priest. He studied art in Penza and Saint Petersburg.

He lived in Moscow from 1909, and he was one of the founders of the avant-garde exhibiting association of artists, the Jack of Diamonds group. This group remained active until its dissolution in 1916.

From 1910 to 1911 Lentulov studied at the Le Fauconnier studio and the La Palette Academy in Paris. Whilst there, he absorbed fauvism and cubism principles, developing his own unique coulorful style of painting.

After his return to Russia in 1912 he became a major influence on what to become the Russian futurism. Wassily Kandinsky and Kazimir Malevich were both influenced by him.

Lentulov pursued a successful career after the 1917 Revolution. In 1928 Lentulov entered into the Society of Moscow artists, which included artists formerly associated with the Jack of Diamonds group. In fact, he eventually became a Chairman of the society.

If you want to learn more about Aristarkh Lentulov (and you read Russian), check out this blog.

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