The Silver Age comes to Vilnius

  • 2013-04-03
  • By TBT Staff

VILNIUS - The stormy period of Russian cultural life started at the end of the 19th century. It became part of cultural history under the name of Silver Age and is considered to be the renaissance of Russian spiritual culture. The beginning of the period is connected with the activity of the union “World of Art” when young artists of St. Petersburg and Moscow claimed to contradict the academic principles, the esthetical points of view of the revolutionary democrats and realism of the portable exhibitions. They believed themselves to be people of the new worldview and defended all their works by the concept of art for art’s sake.

The Silver Age was rising with the appearance of new unions and the most respectable of them seemed to be the union of Russian artists “World of Art,” “Jack of Diamonds” and “Blue Rose.” The members were actively organizing exhibitions, writing for press to spread their ideas and giving lectures. Aleksandr Benua, Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, Nicholas Roerich, Marc Chagall, Mikhail Vrubel were most noticeable by their art then. Their talents touched every branch of art.
The art of the Silver Age is known not only in Russia. It is found in the countries where a large number of Russian artists moved after the revolution in 1917; examples of this art are presented in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia as well. The museum workers from three countries have organized the exhibition devoted to the Silver Age. The Art Museum of Estonia (Tallinn), The Tartu Art Museum, The Latvian National Museum of Art (Riga), The Literature and Music Museum (Riga), The Lithuanian Art Museum (Vilnius), The Lithuanian Theater, Music and Cinema Museum (Vilnius) and The M. K. Ciurlionis National Museum of Art (Kaunas) participated in the exhibition in Tallinn and Riga.

The exhibition, which opened in Vilnius, is slightly different as it contains works which have been kept in the Lithuanian Art Museum. However, it does contain a few thematic expositions similar to the one in Riga.
The exhibition section “Origins” is devoted to the search of the ethnic identity. At the end of the 19th century the artists used to look back at the past and search for inspiration in folk art. During those ancient patriarchal times they imagined an idealistic world where people lived and worked in a harmony with the nature and the Creator. There are a lot of simple life joy and calm trust in earth on the canvas of Boris Kustodiev, Filipp Malyavin and Konstantin Veshchilov.
The exhibition section “People of Silver Age” presents the portraits of those artists’ contemporaries, their family members and cultural personalities. Those are the works of Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky, Vasily Surikov, Konstantin Korovin, Osip Braz, B. Kustodiev, Valentin Serov.

The exhibition section “The Cry of Eternity” is devoted to the most famous Russian symbolists (N. Roerich, M. Vrubel, Nikolai Sapunov, Konstantin Bogayevsky, Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin). The theme of City was treated differently in art of the beginning of the 20th century. The reflection of the city in art varied from the frightening pictures of the scary chimney silhouettes to the foggy beautiful memories (Vasily Meshkov, M. Dobuzhinsky).
Canvas exhibited in the section “The Light and Air” reflect the features of the impressionism painting and bright landscape moods of Isaac Levitan. Also the landscapes of Arkady Rylov, Apollinary Vasnetsov, K. Korovin, and Sergey Vinogradov are exhibited.

The early Russian avant-garde is suitable for the exposition “The Principle of New Art” (M. Chagall, Natalia Goncharova, and Mikhail Larionov).

Exhibition “The Silver Age. Russian Art
from the Collections of the Baltic countries. 1890 –1930”  will be open at the Museum
at the Radvilas Palace till May 5.
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