Russia Arts and Dance

By | November 6, 2021


The first years of the century. XIX saw Russian architecture linger in the neoclassical tradition, accompanied by a great attention to the urban insertion of public buildings in the context of the city. Major achievement of the period was the Cathedral of the Virgin of Kazan in St. Petersburg, by AN Voronihin, 1801-11. The vast activity of C. Rossi (1775-1849) also fits into this perspective, with various buildings in the capital: the palace of the Grand Duke Michele (1819-23), the Aleksandrinskij Theater (1827-32), the General Staff (1819-25). In Moscow, after the fire of 1812, an intense building activity developed. There is also a lot of activity in the province, especially AD Zaharov, designer of over 150 public buildings for as many centers. Subsequently, the classical taste became less severe and more tending to pomp (St. Isaac’s Cathedral, in St. Petersburg, by AR De Montferrand, 1818-58), while there was no lack of attempts at a romantic revival (such as those of KA Thon, creator of a “Russian-Byzantine” style). In sculpture, the historical and patriotic works of IP Martos (1754-1835) and FP Tolstoy are flanked by the more realistic ones by BI Orlovskij and PK Klodt. In painting, with the naturalistic taste of the landscape of SF Ščedrin followed by the predominance of the official art of FA Bruni. But with KP Bryullov (1799-1852) and PA Fedotov (1815-1852) romantic and realistic elements came to insert themselves with a new vigor in the official art scene, which often became the most vigorous form of protest against the despotism of the tsars. A group of young people broke away from the Academy of Arts and worked with the same intentions in the “Company of Art Exhibitions”. They are the so-called Ambulanti (Peredvižniki) who set out to promote art among the people. Among its organizers VG Perov (1833-1882) painted the misery of the countryside and the narrow-mindedness of the clergy with warm realism. Beside him, particularly sensitive to the peasant condition were IN Kramoskejv (the ideologue of the movement and founder of the PM Tretyakov Gallery), IE Repin, VI Surikov, KA Savickij, VE Makovskij, GC Mjasoedov. In a rush of reality, everything became a denunciation. Painting was closely linked to literature in revealing every infamy of despotism to the Russian people. VV Vereščagin painted the chilling Apotheosis of war (1871-72), symbolizing the slaughter of Turkestan and the Balkans with a pyramid of skulls dedicated “To all conquerors, past, present and future”.

According to Programingplease, the great realistic season still recalls the paintings by IE Repin (1844-1930) and VI Surikov (1848-1916) in which the people become the protagonist of an absurd condition where even the greatness of nature seems to weigh on a people disheartened among the oppression of man and that of the machine, which appeared at the dawn of the century. XX as the new inaccessible Moloch. Architecture, on the other hand, lent its art, its geometricism, its rational forms to the civilization of the machine. In the second half of the nineteenth century, the introduction of the metal structure led to the adoption of new lines. The attempts of IP Ropet (1845-1908), VA do not count Gartman (1834-1873) to “warm up” the new functional geometry with motifs of popular taste. The modern style or. Russian culture appeared to be dominated by the World of Art movement (late 19th-early 20th century). It was a phenomenon similar to that of the French Nabis, parallel to Art Nouveau and symbolism. The decorative fantasy of Aleksandr Berna, NK Roerich, Victor Borissov-Mussotov, MA Vrubel exploded, followed by the generation of the symbolists of the Blue Rose founded in Moscow in 1907. The city became one of the greatest centers of the European avant-garde. gathered around the group of the Knave of Diamonds, founded in 1910 by II Maškov, RR Falk, PP Končalovskij (1876-1956), AV Lentulov, and to the dissident wing “The donkey’s tail and the target”, by MF Larionov, NS Gončarova, KS Malevič, VE Tatlin and MZ Šagal, better known as Marc Chagall. These were the generating centers of numerous new schools, from the rayonism advocated by Larionov, to the suprematism of Malevich, to constructivism by Tatlin. And it was the latter who postulated the importance of political action which, abolishing the hierarchy among the arts, a consequence of the social hierarchy, brought architecture, sculpture and painting to the full functionalization of vision, all three being construction and not representation. L ‘ abstractionism passed by the pure creation of the spirit to the functional implementation. It went to mark industrial objects born from the new organization of work. It is a natural outlet in which all the Russian avant-garde movements converged which materialized in the artistic activity of the period of the Revolution (see Soviet Union).


Peter the Great, the reforming Tsar and friend of Western art, introduced ballet to Russia at the end of the century. XVII. At first, entire foreign companies were invited and, starting in 1738, the first professional dance school was established in St. Petersburg by the French J.-B. Landé who had previously organized courses. The decisive contribution to the affirmation of Russian ballet as an autonomous art was mainly due to foreign choreographers (Rinaldi, Fossano, Locatelli, Angiolini, Canziani, Le Picq) and only between the end of the century. XVIII and early XIX with Ivan Valberg was the first Russian choreographer of value. However, the great season of ballet in Russia was the nineteenth century; first in the romantic period when the greatest European choreographers found in the Russian dance troupe performers of remarkable expressive ability (Taglioni and Perrot brought their masterpieces to St. Petersburg), and alongside stars such as Taglioni, Grahm, Essler, Grisi and the Cerrito is claimed Russian interpreters. Towards the middle of the century. XIX, with the arrival of M. Petipa and above all from 1862 with his appointment as maître de ballet, a new flowering of Russian ballet began in St. Petersburg and, thanks to the meeting between Petipa and Tchaikovsky, a new way of understanding the relationship between music and dance: the former was no longer just an accompaniment but an integral element of the choreography, merged with this to reach greater expressive possibilities. This is the period that saw the birth of masterpieces such as Sleeping Beauty (1890), The Nutcracker (1892) and Swan Lake (1895, first edition 1877). Alongside the great Italian guests (Dell’Era, Zucchi, Brianza, Legnani) also began to form the first generation of Russian divas who, having conquered the technique of the Italian and French schools, were able to combine it with their abilities of softness and grace, coming to fully express the poetry of dance. Pupils like Nijinsky or Pavlova came out of the school of the Mariinsky Theater. At the turn of the century, new ferments also began which led to the fabulous revolution of Djagilev ‘s Ballets Russes, with valued dancers and choreographers such as Fokin, Nijinskij, Massine and Balanchine and musicians such as Glazunov and Stravinsky; the Ballets Russes, however, even if made up of essentially Russian elements, ended up becoming a cosmopolitan group after the First World War. Starting from the October Revolution, the vast repertoire of Russian ballet merged into the broader panorama of choreographic evolution in the various republics of the Soviet Union, from which it returned to separate with the dissolution of the USSR (1991).

Russia Arts and Dance