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Nikolai Chernyshev and the Makovets Society

According to the artist’s testimony, the creation of the Makovets society in Moscow in 1921 (the initial name is “Art is life”) played a decisive role in its creative development. The activities of “Makovts” in the artistic life of the 1920s are associated primarily with Vasily Chekrygin. As for Chernyshev, he not only supported all the organizational initiatives of the group, as evidenced by the archive materials and diary entries of Nikolai Mikhailovich, which are kept in the artist’s family. It can be called one of the main “chroniclers” of society from the moment of its inception and until the time when it ceased to exist.For members of the “Makovts” characteristic desire for art of being, to a powerful synthesis, monumentality. The art of VN fully corresponded to these ideas. Chekrygina and N.M. Chernyshev, and also partly A.V. Shevchenko and K.N. Istomina.
We also mention another creative community that has formed around the Milky Way magazine (the first issue was published in 1914) and became a kind of forerunner of the Makovets. Nikolai Chernyshev was one of the active creators of the Milky Way. He has already graduated from the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, where he studied with such outstanding masters as Valentin Serov, Abram Arkhipov, Konstantin Korovin. The latter highly appreciated the sketch of Chernyshev’s thesis entitled “The Abandoned Bench” and gave a parting message, carried by the young artist through his whole life: “<…> Write more here on the street before your eyes. Write to everyone, try yourself in everything. <…> It is better to live in a hole and, enduring all sorts of hardships, enjoy your art. <.> Know Faith, Hope and Love, and in all the hardships remember these three. If one of them forgot, he died ”[1].
In the same years, Nikolay Chernyshov discovers the beauty of Old Russian art. The impetus for this was the lectures of the historian V.O. Klyuchevsky, art historian V.E. Hyacinthus, archaeologist A.P. Golubtsova. In the future, the Old Russian theme, which also appears in the manifesto of Makovts, will occupy a large place in the life of Chernyshev – the author of the work “The Art of Frescoes in Ancient Russia” (published in 1954) and the artist who dedicated a series of paintings to the masters of ancient Russian painting.
In 1910, another significant event in the life of Chernyshev took place: he went to Paris for money earned by custom-made portraits. “In Paris, I was delighted at the same time as Cézanne and Puvis de Chavannes, copied Leonardo da Vinci,” he writes in his diary.
A year later, having received the title of artist-painter at MUZHVZ, Chernyshev leaves for Petersburg to study at the Academy of Arts. He works in the graphic workshop of Professor V.V. Mate, studying monumental painting from Professor D.I. Kiplik … But the soul of Chernyshev was in Moscow, among the like-minded people among the Milky Way magazine.
The magazine “Milky Way” was conceived as a monthly, not belonging to any literary direction and focused mainly on beginning talented young people. The chief editor and publisher was Alexei Mikhailovich Chernyshev – the poet, the elder brother of Nicholas. He not only donated and disinterestedly invested all the money earned in the publication of the magazine, but also gave him all his soul.
Nikolay helped his brother in creating the magazine in every possible way. He suggested the name “The Milky Way”, executed the cover for the first issue, printed his short stories under the pseudonym “Pushes” and “O-s”. Together with M.A. Dobrov and N.I. Yanychenko, he created the cover and vignettes [2] of the first five or six numbers for 1914, thematically related to the name of the publication. Publishing mark drawn by VS Bart for the magazine “Milky Way”, preserved in “Makovtse”.
In the critical articles of the “Milky Way”, an aesthetic program begins to emerge, some of which will be continued in the program of the Makovets society [3]. The “Milky Way” gathered the writers and artists who later entered the “Makovets” (AM Chernyshev, N.N. Livkin, Nikolai Chernyshev himself, V.S. Bart). Artists N.I. collaborated with the magazine. Yanychenko, I.A. Skuye, N.A. Tyrsa, V.A. Chernov, M.S. Rodionov, PI Lviv, P.A. Shillingovsky, A.S. Yastrzhembsky, M.I. Kuri lko, sculptor SD Erzya and others. In relation to avant-garde displays in the art of the 1910s, the position of the journal was moderately skeptical, as can be clearly seen from the review of the exhibition “The Jack of Diamonds” or the St. Petersburg exhibition of Natalia Goncharova [4] …
It is in the “Milky Way” N.M. Chernyshev felt and understood the most important thing in the then national Russian culture – the unity of all its aspects and manifestations. A.A. Blok wrote: “Russia is a young country, and its culture is synthetic culture. Russian artist can not and should not be “expert”. A writer must remember a painter, an architect, a musician; all the more so – a prose writer about a poet and a poet about a prose writer. <…> Just as painting, music, prose, and poetry are inseparable in Russia, inseparable from them and from each other — philosophy, religion, the public, even politics. Together they form a single powerful stream that carries the precious burden of national culture.

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