So rich in all the arts, Russia produced a treasure of great painting, mostly in the 2nd half of the 19th century, but also, significantly, since the end of Communism. On Sunday mornings we are pleased to bring you the excellent Great Russian Christian Art series from Russian Faith, a site about the extraordinary Christian renaissance in Russia, manifested through the rebirth of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Russian Faith has selected works with Christian themes, but all of these artists created magnificent secular works too, and they are popular and well-known to the Russian public. These paintings give great insight into Russian history, culture, religion and psychology and are huge fun to view. Enjoy.
From Russian Faith:
As we work our way through an enormous cache of fascinating Russian Christian paintings, we can't help but fall in love with some of them.
As we learned about Russia's traditional faith, Russian Orthodox Christianity, we discovered an enormous, mostly forgotten treasure of striking Christian paintings, mostly unknown in the West, starting from approximately the early 1800s, and continuing to this day.
So far we have cataloged over 150 images, and are discovering more all the time. We will gradually be getting them all online.
The painting was completed in 1888. Size: 31" × 62" (oil, canvas). You can see the picture in the State Tretyakov Gallery.
Link to high resolution image.
Starting to work over series pictures «From a life of the Christ» (1890 - 1900) the artist wrote the beginning about a problem of creation of an image of the Christ facing to it: «the Difficult problem before me — excessive, but I not in a condition to refuse it, too I am captured by greatness of this person and beauty of a narration about it... In evangelical legends the Christ is the present live person, or the son human as he himself named, and on greatness of spirit the Son Divine as it named others, therefore business in that and in art to give this live image what it was actually».
In following for Christ and the sinner to the picture which has entered into a cycle «From a life of the Christ» – «On the Genisaret (Tiberias) Lake», — it has stopped on that shape of the Christ which has been found by it in the previous picture.
Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov (1 June 1844 – 18 July 1927) was a Russian landscape painter associated with the Peredvizhniki movement of realist artists. His contemporaries would call him the “Knight of Beauty” as he embodied both european and russian traditions of painting. His vision of life was summarized as following: “Art should promote happiness and joy”. As a painter and a humanist, he would truly believe in the civilizing mission of Art, Culture and Education.
More about the Great Russian Christian Art series:
Russia has a wonderfully rich heritage of Christian and Bible-themed painting which reached its zenith in the second half of the 19th century, as part of the realist school. Many of the canvases are enormous, filling an entire wall of a large public hall. Some of them took decades to complete. They are a striking and beautiful testimony to how deeply ingrained Christianity is in Russian history, culture, philosophy, thought, indeed, in her very soul. They are a delight to behold.
As Russia emerges as a leader in the return to traditionalism, this style of painting is again in vogue, and there are also several contemporary Christian painters creating extraordinary canvases. Indeed, Moscow has an excellent art academy dedicated to this style, a topic we covered in the profile of Ilya Glazunov, a leading, recently deceased painter in this genre. See: A Conservative Russian Lion With Real Mass Influence – The Painter Ilya Glazunov
Many of these paintings and artists are hardly known in the West, dismissed by the secular, atheist, globalist modern 'art' vogue. We are delighted to bring you this series, which consists of several dozens of works. You can see all of the works in this series by clicking here.
We think you’ll enjoy them as much as we do.