West Surrey Area
Museums & Art Galleries
Andrei Rublev ‘Holy Trinity’ (1410)
An Introduction to
from Medieval to the Twentieth Century
of the lecture
given by Theodora Clarke
on June 25th 2014
Clarke, a young and knowledgeable lecturer,
spoke with enthusiasm and clarity. She condensed the art of
a lecture lasting just over an hour, an amazing achievement, and filled
with so much information that it was difficult to absorb all the facts
that we were given. In fact, since the title of the lecture was
“An Introduction to Russian Art” this was entirely understandable.
Ms Clarke began with a brief outline of Icons in Medieval times and one
of the main reasons they were so popular with artists. It seems
only way that one was paid to paint was to join an icon workshop!
showed us photographs of two of the most famous icons: “Our Lady of
Vladimir” and the “Rublev Trinity”.
Then, in the reign of Peter the Great, art was used for the first time
as propaganda. One portrait showed him in armour before a window
overlooking his new and powerful navy. Catherine the Great
the tradition using portraits to show whatever she wished to convey to
the public and more importantly to her enemies.
Repin ‘Portrait of Tolstoy’ (1901)
In the 19th Century Bryullov,
Repin and Surikov were all artists who
began to be influenced by artists from other countries and, in the last
decade of the century, Shishkin
painted a wonderful landscape: “Morning
in a Pine Forest” which could have been painted by many of his
contemporaries. Another famous work was “The Ninth Wave, Light on
Water” by Aivazovsky.
There were the Cezannists of
the early twentieth century, Falk,
Mashkov and finally Kandinsky, at last a name that
meant something to
me! Chagall who painted
“The Birthday” whose characters were so
Kazimir Malevich ‘Black Square’ (1915)
began his New
Alphabet of Painting with his famous “Black
Square” which he displayed not on a wall but in a corner like an icon.
But, then came the Revolution and all creativity that did not conform
to Stalin’s idea of politically correct representation was
Many artists left the country if it was possible and those who remained
had to conform and create literal representations of the Revolution for
the peasant masses. All imaginative creativity was stultified and
dormant for many years.
This is a very, very abridged version of the lecture and I would advise
going on Theodora’s
website to learn more in detail, especially about
the Russian Art Week that she is organising next November.
Related Links (open in new windows):
Art and Culture (Editor: Theodora
Our inspiring and entertaining speaker,