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EN
Uga Skulme (1895-1963) was one of the leading painters of the Riga Artists' Group, active propagandist of modernist ideas, erudite art critic and historian whose contribution to graphic arts has been hardly explored. His graphic series 'Bible for the Poor' from the 1920s reveal him as a skilled draftsman and creative interpreter of Biblical stories. The series forms part of the interwar developments of Latvian art and well illustrates the novel qualities of the Latvian modernists' turn to the realism. The artist's individual style transforms and integrates the experience of modernist experiments and leaning towards classical tradition that coincides with the contemporary scope of classicising and realist tendencies in European art, including the New Objectivity trend. During the so-called cubist episode Skulme's works are distinguished by individual quality that is both cubist and neo-classical. It was derived from Pablo Picasso's style and became particularly evident after Skulme's trip to Paris in 1923. The series and other stylistically close drawings from the mid-1920s show further changes in the artist's style that feature also in his paintings and book illustrations. Retaining his interest in constructive composition, strong drawing, pronounced and heavy volumes, the artist recreated Picasso's impulses into an increasing artistic individuality. The 'Bible for the Poor' convincingly demonstrates Skulme's individual style in the formal context of the mid-1920s with overlapping modernist, classical and realist tendencies and his leaning towards classical treatment of form. The known works from the series, usually dated by 1925, are two versions of 'Annunciation', 'Flight to Egypt', 'Nativity' and 'Crucifixion'. Some other drawings on religious subjects ('Lamentation', c. 1923; 'Baptism', 'Resurrection', early 1920s) are thematically close. According to Skulme's own statements, his series means the Bible from the poor people's viewpoint, not the medieval biblia pauperum. The artist freely combined scenes from Christ's life with contemporary or recent events, endowing them with genre-piece overtones but not with extreme social criticism.
ARS
|
2011
|
tom 44
|
nr 2
271-287
EN
The article analyses a set of drawings in the Drawings and Graphic Art Collection of the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava by 16th century Cremona painters Camillo Boccaccino, Giulio Campi, Bernardino Gatti, Bernardino Campi and Antonio Maria Viani. The works of the last one dominate the collection and bear evidence of Viani’s meticulous preparation for the execution of the large decoration in the dome of S. Pietro al Po in Cremona, with the subject of the “Last Judgment”.
ARS
|
2009
|
tom 42
|
nr 1
47-63
EN
The article offers an evaluation of the fundaments of Floris's theory of disegno by considering drawings that do not fit comfortably into any of the categories (studies after Ancient or contemporary Italian art, modelli, designs for prints, and designs for the decorative arts), defined by the artist's biographer, Carl Van de Velde. Following his return from Italy, Floris broadened the scope of Lambert Lombard's practice of disegno. The works analyzed here suggest that although Floris remained indebted to Lombard's vision of the creative process of drawing, he also retooled its uses to ensure a degree of uniformity in workshop production and a successful and prolific dissemination of personal style.
ARS
|
2010
|
tom 43
|
nr 2
259-275
EN
The article analyses a monumental vault painting by noted artist Franz Anton Maulbertsch in the Philosophical Hall of the Strahov Library depicting 'The Spiritual Development of the Mankind' (1794). The painting shows a merger of two approaches: Maulbertsch's Baroque fresco techniques and drawing techniques of his student Martin Michl, who is to be counted among the artists of Neoclassicism.
EN
Jakob Belsen's art in the country of his forefathers remained associated almost exclusively with the ten oil paintings and water-colours shown in the Latvian Art Exhibition of 1910. Now the number of his paintings at the Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA) in Riga can be counted on one hand. With four works of undisputed authorship and one of doubtful attribution, this is the largest public collection of Belsen's paintings in the world. Although three of these paintings are familiar to the public from Latvian art albums, exhibitions and catalogues, knowledge of the artist's life has been very poor even among experts, partly because of distances separating Riga from his basic places of residence - St. Petersburg, Berlin and New York. An avalanche of recent discoveries sheds new light on previously obscure periods and episodes in Belsen's life and career. Several of his paintings from the 1920s have newly appeared in Latvian private collections. Numerous supplements to his non-Latvian historiography have been found in publications of both his and our contemporaries. The St. Petersburg Regional Section of the Public Russian German Academy of Sciences held a memorial Belsen exhibition in 2001 and supplied the LNMA with a CD of its materials documenting the artist's productive work as illustrator and cartoonist as well as containing reproductions of private photographs. Some of these images have been used in this article by courtesy of Antonie Tosca Grill in Baden-Baden, whose father was a nephew of Jakob Belsen's first wife. My inquiries into the provenance of this picture archive resulted in a correspondence with Wenedikt Bohm (St. Petersburg) to whom I owe a debt of gratitude for copies of extremely important sources of biographical evidence.
EN
Petrov-Vodkin’s artistic representations of half naked or naked male/boys’/children’s bodies refer to iconographical tradition and, at the same time, reveal the autonomy of artistic conception. In the paintings the figures of naked men, based on the study of posing models, represent the physical beauty of sex. A naked body becomes the element of purely formal studies. Male nudes are naturalistic and do not have any erotic subtext. The artist draws a male figure in studied poses, exposes body muscles and anatomical details. The structure of the body defines aesthetic relations between a part and a whole. A head/face and a torso function as two autonomous parts of a male body (separately or in overall perspective). In Petrov-Vodkin’s painting a male body represents values other than beauty. It has a great symbolic capacity. The basis for visualization of corporeality understood in such a way is the topic of sexual maturation and the ritual context (the motif of bathing, boys’ games and plays). Synthetically captured figures of naked boys contain a proposition of an artistic definition of a male body and determine the norms of watching it. A body in its transitional phase between boyhood and masculinity combines a childlike innocence with youthful beauty and charm. The painter visualizes a naked, young, emancipated body, full of biological vitality, together with its hidden eroticism. He also conceptualizes “the rhetoric of the body.” Boys’ bodies with their narrow hips in various configurations represent Spartan simplicity. They are characterised by activity and dynamism. “The dynamics” of the body is emphasized by the expressiveness of gestures, various forms of gesticulation and the apparent randomness of vision. A gesture is understood as a pose. It does not have any narrative function; the whole body takes part in it. A gesture is purely plastic in its character. The simplicity of gesticulation, poses, turns of the head and free movements of legs and hands become similar to rhythmical movements in a dance. In the somatic discourse the painter uses also other formal solutions: geometrization of form, “purity of colours” and spherical perspective.
EN
(Czech title: Slovo a obraz v renesancnim cestopise Krystofa Haranta z Polzic a Bezdruzic Cesta z Kralovstvi ceskeho do Zeme Svate). Travels to the Holy Land are the theme of a specific type of travel-book with regard to their sacred mission. Their transformations are demonstrated on a comparison of the Russian medieval pilgrimage described by Prior Daniil and the most famous Czech Renaissance travel-book by the nobleman, diplomat and musician Krystof Harant of Polzice and Bezdruzice (1598). His work is notable for a number of his own illustrations, related to medieval miniatures that accompanied the most popular medieval travel book Milion by Marco Polo or the equally popular medieval bestiaries. However, they have significant information value, enriching the semantics of the text.
EN
The article continues to explore the diverse activities of the Baltic German artist Erich von Campenhausen (1872–1926), analysing his known works in the art-historical context. The second part of the article focuses on the artist's contribution to painting and graphic arts. His paintings are a peculiar synthesis of Impressionist and Expressionist approach as well as Japonism. Campehausen designed numerous covers for popular Latvian magazines and supplied illustrations; he also illustrated children's poetry and took part in the organisation of Riga's art life and exhibitions. An insight is given into his biography as well as the reception of his legacy which has been marginalised by both nationally oriented and Soviet art historians.
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