RUSSIAN ART OF THE XIX TH – THE BEGINNING OF THE XX TH CENTURY in the Serpukhov Historical and Art Museum
The nationalized collection of Marayeva became the basis of the collection of the Serpukhov Museum, which began to be created in 1918. The section of Russian art of the XIX century was mainly formed in the 1920s on the basis of private collections. As a result, it included many monuments of salon and late academic painting: high-tech, spectacular, designed for immediate success with a wealthy public.
In this area, the antique theme was considered particularly prestigious, the main feature of which was G.I. Semiradsky (1843-1902). The general trend of the fine arts of the second half of the XIX century was attention to everyday life. It is characteristic that Semiradsky’s “Song of a Slave” (1884) and “Feast of Bacchus” (1890) canvases are dedicated not to the sublimely heroic antiquity, but to the life of the ancients: the home life of rich Romans or the noisy celebration of Attic winegrowers. Since the 1870s, such paintings of the “ancient genre” served as a kind of relaxation for the artist in the intervals between his work on monumental historical canvases.
The exquisite, pleasantly sentimental painting of the “second Rococo” is represented in the museum’s collection by A.A. Kharlamov (1840-1925). In 1869, as a pensioner of the Imperial Academy of Arts, Kharlamov arrived in Paris, which later became his second homeland. There, in 1872–1873, he worked in the studio of the master of decorative painting “heads” of Leon Bonn, and he subsequently worked primarily in this genre. Researchers of the artist’s refusal to search for any real models of his “heads” and suggest their systematization “according to phenotypes, external manifestations of certain genetic traits” . According to this classification, “Portrait of a Girl” from the Serpukhov Museum refers to the type of painting described by I.S. Turgenev (a great admirer of A. Kharlamov’s talent) in 1875 as an “amazing pink girl” . One of the figures (left) in the 1877 painting “Italian Children” refers to an independent, so-called Serpukhov type, numbering 29 monuments from various collections .
A striking figure in the Russian artistic world was K.E. Makovsky (1839-1915), descended from a family with rich artistic traditions. His father was one of the founders of the Moscow natural class. A member of the famous “rebellion of 14” at the Academy of Arts, over the years he has become one of the pillars of pictorial academism in Russia. In 1876, the artist made a trip: visited the Balkans, Egypt, the Middle East. The painting “In a Cairo Coffee House” reflects his impressions of this trip. Delight in the exotic world of the East is combined in it with sober attention to the contrasts of the life of another people, and the sonorous, flickering color – with the plastic, firm handwriting of the artist.
As a historical painter K.E. Makovsky devoted himself to the popular in those years theme of “home life” of Muscovite Russia of the 16th — 17th centuries, with which he introduced the audience in the 1890 film “Under the Crown”. On the canvas are the bride’s collections in the boyar family: they are combing her braid as a sign of farewell to girlhood. The artist carefully reproduces the historical situation and at the same time easily introduces into it the everyday realities of his time: the floor in the boyar luminaries is carpeted; There are curtains on the windows. Carpets in the pre-Petrovsky house were covered with benches and chests, but did not put them on the floor (except for the decoration of the prayer room). The curtains, on the other hand, were simply not needed, as the windows were taken away not by glass, but by dull, translucent mica. The author quite consciously “adapted” his scene to the perception of an average citizen of the late XIX century, when he wrote a girl who was not yet dressed up. She sits in front of an open chest in a white spacious shirt that can be mistaken for a wedding dress. Makovsky did not depict the boyar bride in a white dress – it would be a gross historical mistake, even with a touch of scandal, because in Ancient Russia, and in the Russian village and in the XIX century, white color was associated with the color of the burial shroud; famous romance “red dress”. But the artist remembered the cultural level and the interests of the average man, who, based on the name of the painting, first of all imagined a bride in white.
It is believed that a good friend of Makovsky Alexander Dmitrievna Bugayeva (1858–1922), the mother of the famous poet Andrei Bely, served as a model for a girl sitting at the feet of a hawthorn . If this assumption is true, then A.D. Bugaeva could pose for the artist for the “Portrait of a Girl” from the collection of the Serpukhov Museum. However, at the very basis of the “heads” genre, which Makovsky in this case turned to, lies the artist’s special relationship to the model: the real features of a model are only a “starting point” for creating a generalized, ideal image.
The Russian pictorial tradition of critical realism, the “Peredvizhnichestvo,” which we are accustomed to consider as the antithesis of semi-official academism, was born, however, within the walls of the Petersburg Academy of Arts in 1840–50s, influenced by the works of P.A. Fedotov.