So strange, free and simple
I have identified the meaning of being,
And hidden in the seed "I",
And the secret of bloom and growth.
In the plant and in the stone – everywhere,
In the mountains, in the clouds, over the mountains
And in the beast, and in the blue star,
I hear a singing flame.
K.S. Petrov-Vodkin. Self-portrait. 1926-1927
Girls on the Volga. 1915
Surroundings of Khvalynsk. Around 1909
Youth (Kiss). 1913
Bathing a red horse. 1912
Kozma Sergeevich Petrov-Vodkin (1878-1939) – one of the largest and most original Russian artists of the first decades of the XX century. In his art, the artistic tendencies were pulled together into a strong knot, it seemed, far from each other.
A girl in a red headscarf (Worker). 1925
A cafe. 1907
Spring etude in Shuvalov. 1927. Oil on canvas
Paris. Notre Dame. 1924
View of Samarkand. 1921
African boy. 1907
Shah-i-Zinda. Samarkand. 1921
His works provoked violent controversy, passionate clashes of often directly opposite opinions and assessments – from enthusiastic praise to contemptuous ridicule (including from the colossus like Repin). It was a complex personality and at the same time an integral one. An outstanding painter, an unsurpassed draftsman, an original theoretician, a born pedagogue, a talented writer, a prominent public figure. Man is multifaceted. The artist, the only one of a kind and typical son of his time, equally interested in writing both Russian icons and the leader of the revolution of Lenin.
The murder of Cain Abel. 1910
1918 in Petrograd. 1920
Sketch of scenery for staging "The Diary of Satan" (according to L. Andreev). 1922
Archangel Michael. 1916
Our Lady of Tenderness of Evil Hearts
The Mother of God with the Child
The head of a young man. 1910
The boy is an Uzbek. 1921
The head of a young man. 1918
Portrait of A.P. Petrova – Vodkin, the artist’s mother. 1909
Petrov-Vodkin sought to discover in man the manifestation of the eternal laws of the world order, to make a concrete image the personification of the connection of cosmic forces. Hence the monumental style, and the spherical perspective, that is, the perception of any fragment from the cosmic point of view, and the understanding of space as one of the main storytellers of the picture.
In Shuvalov. 1926
In the nursery. 1925
The girl by the window. 1928
Portrait of S. N. Andronikova. 1925
Portrait of Anna Akhmatova
But already in the last years of Petrov-Vodkin’s life, his art – due to not always organic and successful attempts to reconcile in it the long-established nature of painting with strict requirements imposed on it – did not find sufficient public recognition. After the death of the artist his name was crossed out of Soviet art. During the next quarter century Petrov-Vodkin seemed to forget, his paintings almost disappeared from museum expositions. Only once, in 1947 in St. Petersburg, was arranged a small exhibition of his drawings.
Stepan Razin. Sketch of a panel. 1918. Paper, watercolor
A sketch of the holy fool to the tragedy of A.S. Pushkin “Boris Godunov”. 1923. Paper, watercolor
Illustration for the “Sea Princess” by Mikhail Lermontov. Paper, mixed media
However, true art sooner or later receives recognition and takes its place in the Pantheon of National Culture. For Petrov-Vodkin this time was in the second half of the 1960s. In 1965, enthusiasts in Moscow arranged a modest exhibition of his works at the Central House of Writers. A year later the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, possessing the largest collection of paintings and drawings by the master, organized a retrospective exhibition, which had a huge success and showed the true scale of his art. Petrov-Vodkin immediately took his place in the first row of Russian artists of the XX century. The monograph V.I. Kostin first gave a reliable overview and analysis of his art. Creativity of Petrov-Vodkin and his individual works became the object of close study. Finally, in 1970, a new edition of his autobiographical novels.
Noon. Summer. 1917
Mikula Selyaninovich. Paper, watercolor
Flowers. 1926. Paper, watercolor, pencil
Now no one seems to have any doubt that in the person of Petrov-Vodkin, Russian art had a master of a huge scale, deeply original and original, an artist-philosopher who aspired to understand and translate in his art the person, the object, the phenomenon, the Universe in all their complexity and depth. It is these rare people, by the very nature of their talents, who advance the artistic knowledge of the world more than others.
I like a tired rustle
Old letters, distant words …
They have a smell, they have a charm
I love the patterned handwriting –
It has a rustle of herbs dry.
Fast letters familiar sketch
Quietly whispers a sad verse.
I’m so close to charm
Their tired beauty …
This is the tree of Knowledge
A bird cherry in a glass. 1932
Still life with letters. 1925
Still life. Fruit. 1934
Still-lifes Petrov-Vodkin occasionally wrote in his younger years, but only in 1918-1920 they became the central theme of his work. Thus, this genre came into his art much later than many of his peers possessed him. In the late 1900s and first half of the 1910s, N.N. Sapunov, P.V. Kuznetsov, M.S. Saryan, N.S. Goncharova, M.F. Larionov, I.I. Mashkov, P.P. Konchalovsky and some other artists brought a Russian still life to the unprecedented flourishing in Russian art. In their painting there appeared the most diverse solutions to the problem "dead nature". And yet, turning to the still-lifes of Petrov-Vodkin, we see that a completely unique structure of artistic thinking and worldview gave this genre in his art traits that are dissimilar to the works of the above-mentioned masters.
Still life. A candle and a decanter. 1918
Apples on a red fabric. 1917
Still life with a mirror. 1919
In art history literature, it has already been said more than once that the term "still life" failed, does not reflect the essence of the genre, which is more appropriate "Stilleben", "Still Life" – "quiet, or quiet life" (in German and English). But this definition does not give an idea of the intense nature of the still-lifes of Petrov-Vodkin, in which the whole area of the canvas is at times permeated with power lines "spherical perspective". Still-lifes of Petrov-Vodkin I would like to name "dead nature" (they are too alive for this) and not "peaceful life" (they are too restless), but rather, descriptively – "subject compositions". However, the cumbersomeness of such a definition forces us to return to the term inaccurate, but habitual.
Still life with a blue ashtray. 1920
Still-lifes of Petrov-Vodkin are unpretentious in the collection of objects and carry the signs of the harsh era in which they are created. In this sense, the still life with the image of a lean herring, a piece of bread and two potatoes – a meager ration of hungry time – became classic."Herring", 1918, the State Russian Museum).
Fruit on a blue tablecloth. 1921
The artist likes to introduce in them mirrors, glass or just some shiny objects (samovar, nickel-plated kettle), allowing him to surrender to the analysis of the complex play of reflexes, the refractions of the beams of light incident and reflected in the inner faces. In these studies in the spirit of Vrubel, Petrov-Vodkin replaces the passion of his brilliant predecessor with a methodical-persistent desire to cognize the subject in all its aspects. Deployed and arranged on the table of things the artist examines from above, so that their location lends itself to precise fixation and they are visible "in full view"; The polished edges of the kettle or the glass-covered table surface double the image, allowing you to look at it with the invisible side artist. Thus, Petrov-Vodkin overcomes the monocular point of view, which seems insufficient to him and does not reflect the true knowledge of an object that can be circumvented, resulting in a total and more complete picture of it.
Still life with a prism, 1920
In some still lifes Petrov-Vodkin introduces the image of his own drawings and watercolors, reinterpreting them according to the spirit of the canvas (as Matisse did before), or a palette – in a word, a kind of art attribute that dipped the viewer into the atmosphere of the artist’s studio. The violin, leaning against the window, behind which the landscape of innumerable Petersburg roofs and narrow courtyards, swaying on the spatial axes, is aesthetically aesthetically aesthetized by this elegant world and, in turn, receives from it a pinching-minor coloration"Violin", 1918, the State Russian Museum). The picture – for it is more a picture than just a still-life – is permeated with a single intense feeling, proceeding in equal measure from the image of the violin and the landscape behind the window bound.
I love the house, where things are not property,
Where things are easier than boats on the dock.
And I do not like things without advantages
Magic communication with things.
No, not in you, hearth, your power:
Although all the wood, just like the mouth with words,
Fuck – I’m not going to get burned yet,
Do not be a fire mediator between us.
They will say to me: give up dreams, draw reality;
Write as it is: a boot, a horseshoe, a pear …
But there is also a reality, visibility,
And I’m looking for a soul under the semblance.
And I repeat everywhere and everywhere:
Not salt in salt.
The nail is also not in the nail.
“Archaeological research” in the thickness of the heritage left by Konstantin S. Petrov-Vodkin, can sometimes reward the find of the pleasant gravity of pure nuggets. Here is, for example, undoubted corundum, as an expressive “Still Life with a Samovar” (1932), finally found its place in the storerooms of the Faceted Chamber of Petrov-Vodkin creativity.
Still life with a samovar. 1932
“Still life with a samovar” (the name is conditional – VB) appeared recently in one of the Moscow collections. Employees of the KS Art and Memorial Museum. Petrova-Vodkin (a branch of the Radischevsky Museum), those who work day after day with the creative heritage of the master, almost without a doubt recognize the authenticity of this still life.
(The news of the Radishchev Museum: http://radmuseumart.ru/projects/169/637/.) The article of the Director of the Khvalyn Art-Memorial Museum of KS Petrov-Vodkin, VI Borodina.)
Another previously unknown picture of KS. Petrova-Vodkin appeared on the art market, and aroused genuine interest in art criticism circles. Currently, the picture is in a private collection in the Crimea.
Bouquet on the terrace. 1913.
This bouquet of wildflowers in the painting from the collection of Academician Kashtayants (the famous biologist, who directed the launch of the squirrel in the squirrel and the arrow) was written by K.S. Petrov-Vodkin at the Zvantsev Manor in the Tartalei of Nizhny Novgorod Province, where the artist lived from the middle of June to the end of July 1913. There he worked with the director of the Nezlobin Theater Nikolay Zvantsev over the scenery for the play on the tragedy of Schiller “The Maid of Orleans”. In a letter from Tartal, dated June 15, 1913, he described the house of Zvantsev: “The house stands on a mountain, from where two very small lakes are seen, and the trees and fields are far away. There is a park and a small forest, now a season of strawberries, and we eat it every day. ” (1)
A careful look at the work does not hide the fact that the house on the terrace of which is a bouquet is on a hill, at the bottom left is a green of trees growing under the mountain on which the house stands, in the distance – a hilly open country, and next to the terrace, close to the house, trees are also growing. In a letter of June 30-July 1, 1913, he informed his wife: “Now is the day of awakening. The morning wind makes the leaves of trees tremble under my windows … “. (2)
In the same letter, June 30 – July 1, by the way, there are lines like this: “Before my eyes, the horizon disappears in the twilight twilight, dressing up in pink and blue colors …”. (3) Although the picture is probably depicted in the morning, the “pink horizon” can also be seen. In a letter dated June 26, 1913, there is a mention of the clover: “I send a four-leaf (the clover is called VB), which I found today for you and for myself”, (4) – that is, the clover in the bouquet is not accidental, a bouquet of chamomile and clover, he could collect, when he went with Zvantsev for strawberries. He generally preferred field flowers to garden plants. In his still lifes quite often there are bouquets of wild flowers: “Morning still life” (1918), “Still life with a samovar” (1920) and “Still life. Flowers and a woman’s head “(1921).
(News of the Radishchev Museum: http://radmuseumart.ru/projects/169/620/.) The article of the director of the Khvalyn Art-Memorial Museum of KS Petrov-Vodkin, VI Borodina.)
Still life. Flowers and a female head. 1921
Still life with a samovar. 1920
Morning still life. 1918
The most striking thing about all the still-lifes of Petrov-Vodkin is that a careful, sometimes scrupulous analysis of objects and a strict, almost experimental composition of the canvas do not in any way deprive them of the immediacy of the artistic perception of nature, not to mention the richness and subtlety of color. "Morning still life" really breathes the freshness of the dew-washed morning with the transparency of his air, the purity of color and the clear graphicity of the faces of the form. "Pink Still Life" (1918, the State Tretyakov Gallery) is permeated with light, dousing the apple tree branch, scattered fruits and a glass on the table. The special clarity of the image, in which the objects are named in turn and do not obscure each other, gives rise to an almost physical sense of joy from the contemplation of these still lifes, such as simple and such, in essence, difficult, as far from simple and unequivocal all the art of Petrova -Vodkin’s.
Pink still life. 1918
Since that time, still lifes do not leave his practice, although in the future they do not occupy such a place in it as in 1918-1920. The most significant, as before, is created by him in the compositional easel painting expressing his deepest and most intimate thoughts about the essence of events and life in the broad sense of this concept.
Do you explain to me – from where?
These strange images doom?
Distract my will from the miracle,
Forget about the inaction of the mind.
I’m afraid that the moment will come,
And, not knowing the way to words,
The thought that arose in the throes of creation,
Tear my breasts in half.
By practicing art in the world,
Delighted with blind minds,
Like small stupid children,
We are having fun over the abyss we are.
But only the turn comes,
Burned wings of withering,
The moth at the candle dies,
To forever burned candle!
A girl in a sarafan. 1928
Mother and child. 1927
First steps. 1925