Watercolor based on the original painting by Rubens "Perseus and Andromeda"
Artist/Maker: Yuri Bazhanov
Artist/Maker Dates: 1927 - 1949
Place of Production: Russia (USSR), Saint Petersburg (Leningrad)
Date of Production: 1944
Materials: paper, watercolor
Width: 28.0 cm.
Height: 20.0 cm.
In the history of art there are names that have been forgotten but there are also the unknown artists. Yuri Bazhanov belongs to them. For a long period of time his art and his fate were known only to a few painters and art collectors in Leningrad. It is quite possible that should providence have given him a little longer life he would be as popular as the representatives of the unofficial Soviet art in the 50-70-ies. But he lived only 21 years and his paintings and drawings for many years were illegally kept by the artist's intimate friends and were exhibited only at the so-called home shows.
During the last half of our century the arts have been developing very rapidly - new forms, ways of expression, styles and tendencies have appeared. Trying to evaluate Bazhanov's art from the contemporary point of view one must step back into the 40-ies, into the time and place where he became an artist. War, Leningrad after the blocade. strictly determined line of development in Soviet art. The talent of the artist was developing rapidly in almost total isolation. Only Mr. Lembersky, his professor at art school, briefly introduced him to some avant-garde art tendencies which could possibly serve as motivation for further development of his art.
The collection of Bazhanov’s paintings and drawings reflects the rapid and uneven development of his creativity, the frantic effort of the artist to form his own language in art, his understanding of colour and shape, his desire to represent his perception of the surrounding world in his work, to express his own intuitive forebodings, the atmosphere of the epoch.
One can see from his paintings and drawings that the artist was solving in his work different tasks at the same time. One of them is searching for best coloristic solutions - the application of colour in full strength, in a decorative manner, the relative solution of coloristic interrelations, the thickening of colour patches up to dark semitones. In many works one can see the artist’s effort to find the plastic expression of the shape, especially in portraits and nudes. In these works a kind of decorative refinement as well as primitivism give way to generalization and grotesque. The cyclical series of artist's work consist mainly of sketches of portraits, landscapes, townscapes, self-portraits, symbolic characters. Apart from many paintings, sketches and studies serious studies about the music of light have survived, dealing with the ascribing musical score to different colours.
One can only make speculations about the possible role of Bazhanov in the contemporary art of the second half of the 20th century. The development of his talent was interrupted between two generations of unofficial art - the Russian avant-garde and the “underground” of the 50-70-ies, it was interrupted suddenly at the very beginning...
Principal Dates of Life and Work
1927 - born in Leningrad.
1942 - work in a military factory.
1943 - first year student of the Leningrad Art School.
1946 - expelled from the third year for bad marks in mathematics.
1946 - work in the Lenin Komsomol Theatre.
1946 - 1949 - work in the theatre, studies of the masterpieces in the
Hermitage and in the Museum of Russian Art, work on the most
significant paintings and graphic art.
19 October, 1949 - fired from his job in the theatre for refusal to join
the Young Communist League, commits suicide the same night.
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