Tuesday, December 20, 2011

PEREDVIZJINIKI 29 september 2011- 22 januari 2012 Nationalmuseum Södra Blasieholmshamnen 2, 111 48 Stockholm, SE. by craniv boyd.

PEREDVIZJINIKI 29 september 2011- 22 januari 2012 Nationalmuseum Södra Blasieholmshamnen 2, 111 48 Stockholm, SE. by craniv boyd. 

On a posh and tidy street that faces the water, Södra Blasieholmshamnen, stands the national Museum of Stockholm. On the top level, within, for the moment, is a spectacular exhibition of paintings from Russia. Peredvizjniki, is the title and it takes it's name from a Russian realist movement, realism that was contemporaneous with French impressionism. the realist painters placed their emphasis on sympathetic portrayals of so called little people, farmers, school children or barge haulers, working poor and impoverished people. All of the work on view in Stockholm's National Museum is there in lieu of, loan agreement with prominent state Museums in Moscow or St. Petersburg. Peredvizjniki, offers a unique viewing experience of impressive oil paintings, that excel in showing the drama of everyday living in Tsarist Russia. 

The exhibition occupies two fifths of the old master painting galleries at Nationalmuseum. the works are organized in categories relevant to the subject matter, and content of what they portray, land scape of Lake Baikal, or a Siberian winter are in On room, Paintings of Leo Tolstoy, by Ilja Repin, bare foot in the woods are in the same room, as Tolstoy at work in his writing study, portraits of debauched aristocracy in their Tsarist finery and lap dog as accessory are also in the portraiture section. History paintings of a camp of jovial warlords writing some provocative letters to a Turkish Sultan, are grouped with an Equestrian Portrait of a warrior, at the crossroads.   

On the whole, the realist paintings of the, Peredvizjiniki, group are stunning both in their technical finesse, but also for the exotic vista, and clearly alternate vista of culture that they offer. A Tsarina taking a tour of a convent, before her immanent confinement in that institution. A face on portrait of a bearded farmer, where each ragged whisker of his burly beard is crisp, looking like they were painted on with a single haired brush. 

Notable are tiny moments, happening at a local courthouse or the first day of school. They are micro-dramas, that clearly evoke, the anxiety of childhood. For instance Nikolaj Bogdanov-Belskij, with his in the school door,of 1897, a peasant child, dressed in rags, looks, hesitating at the threshold of the class room where he is certain to embark on the journey of learning how to read. Anglo-Russian Painter, Emily Shanks, has a stunning painting of a girl's first day at school. The timid new arrival, peers bashfully at a grouping of three girls, who appear more confident, skeptical and aggressive towards the new arrival. There is considerable emotive power, within this small scaled depiction of a moment, by Emily Shanks. The painting is of a moment short in duration for the girls involved, yet nevertheless, one instance that left a lasting impression. Shanks expresses the body posture of the new arrival, with her foil, in triplicate of established classmates, so effectively that the situation, that of, newbie in school, is plain to see.

One hopes for exposure of this wonderful exhibit of underrepresented, yet accomplished realism, with humane representations, to a North American public. These works, by Peredvizjiniki, were unfortunately, co-opted as heritage pieces, or roots, for the movement of Soviet state supported realism that verges, for many towards propagandised kitsch. What viewers can gather from Peredvizjniki, at Nationalmuseum, in Stockholm, is a wealth of cultural exchange, via paintings, with a not too distant neighbor. by craniv boyd.        

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