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"Russian Art of the First Half of the 19th Century"
Published in 2005
10 pages, fully illustrated
Mikhail Allenov presents a historical account of a new generation of Russian artists—artists fortunate to have both social status and a formal education. Examining the influence that the Hermitage and great European masters had on both the style and technique of the artists of 19th-century Russia, Allenov analyzes their subject, color, and spirit.
The expanded artistic perspective of this period, one that reflected a striving to comprehend the whole world and its history, relates to one of the basic concepts of Romanticism: "Suddenly, one could see far to the very ends of the earth." That phrase from Gogol's "Terrible Vengeance" (1832) was often used as a formula to express the Romantic perspective. But to the degree that the phrase is applicable to Russian art of the first half of the nineteenth century, "suddenly"—which the poet Vasily Zhukovsky referred to as "unexpected comprehension" and saw as the prerogative of genius—is at least as essential to its understanding as the rest of the words.