Friday, January 22, 2016

Constructivist Composition #1.


(Anichkin 2016)
paper, cardboard.


Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Volga Boatmen Bird Song.







The Volga Boatmen is a famous grand canvas (131,5 × 281 cm) by Ilya Repin, painted in 1870-73.

There is realism and there is symbolism in the picture. It has been endlessly analysed and reproduced, and over the years it has been attached to another great piece of Russian cultural heritage, the Volga Boatmen song, performed by Shaliapin, the Read Army Choir and Glen Miller too.

Still, a detail or two remain unexplained.

One curious little fragment is the little bird in the bottom left corner of the painting. It is shimmering in the bright sunlight. He stands on the sandbank looking at the approaching band of barge-haulers.

The colours of the bird are strikingly similar to the sunlit central figure of the composition, 'Lar'ka' (Ларька) the young blond burlak, who is adjusting his harness irritatedly while looking ahead and at the sun.

Is there a symbolic connection between the bird and the man? What is it? Is it a representation of God? Or the elusive Blue Bird of happiness? I have my theories but was hoping to find an explanation in critical writings or memoirs — and couldn't.


And what is the bird? I've used several bird identifiers, including the RSPB site, to find out. It could be a wader but waders commonly have long legs and beaks, unlike the bird in the picture. And waders usually come in flocks. It may be a temminck (RSPB description), but it does not appear on the Volga. A common European and Russian bird that is often seen everywhere is a wagtail (picture), and they usually forage alone.

A wagtail, in Russian трясогузка (literally, tail, bottom shaker) is often associated with fickleness, or diffidence, or irresponsible behaviour. How does this apply here, if it is a wagtail, I don't know. The mystery remains.

The painting in high definition can be seen on Repin's internet gallery and on Wikipedia. His signature is lower right. Other birds, presumably gulls, are seen top right. The small bird is at lower left.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Christmas Composition #12 (The Gift of Life)




Alexander Anichkin
2016
CHRISTMAS COMPOSITION #12 (THE GIFT OF LIFE)
wood, enamel, egg
photo
signed and dated
Provenance: enamel plate stamped 'Made in Poland 26', from family kitchenware at Plas Uchaf, Wales, currently nr. St John's Wood (Saint-Jean-des-Bois), France.


Part XII concluding my Christmas Compositions for the 2015/2016 festive season.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Christmas Composition #11 (Adoration)




Alexander Anichkin
2016
CHRISTMAS COMPOSITION #11 (ADORATION)
wood, enamel, egg
photo
signed by author l.l.
plate stamped underneath in English 'MADE IN POLAND 26'
Provenance: enamel plate stamped 'Made in Poland', from family kitchenware at Plas Uchaf, Wales, currently nr. St John's Wood (Saint-Jean-des-Bois), Normandy.


Part XI of my Christmas Compositions for the 2015/2016 festive season.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Christmas Composition #10 (Let's Get Together and Praise the Lord)




Alexander Anichkin
2016
CHRISTMAS COMPOSITION #10 (LET'S GET TOGETHER)
wood, enamel, tomatoes, lemon
photo
signed by author l.l.
plate stamped underneath in English 'MADE IN POLAND 26'
Provenance: enamel plate stamped 'Made in Poland', from family kitchenware at Plas Uchaf, Wales, currently nr. St John's Wood (Saint-Jean-des-Bois), Normandy.


Part X of my Christmas Compositions for the 2015/2016 festive season.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Christmas Composition #9 (We Are Not Alone.)



Alexander Anichkin
2016
CHRISTMAS COMPOSITION #9 (WE ARE NOT ALONE)
wood, lichen, a hair
photo
signed by author l.r.
Provenance: it remains unclear if the hair belongs to the author or to his dog.

Part IX of my Christmas Compositions for the 2015/2016 festive season.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Christmas Composition #8 (Here Comes the Sun)




Alexander Anichkin
2016
CHRISTMAS COMPOSITION #8 (HERE COMES THE SUN), HAPPY NEW YEAR
wood, enamel, lemon
photo
signed by author l.l.
plate stamped underneath in English 'MADE IN POLAND 26'
Provenance: enamel plate stamped 'Made in Poland', from family kitchenware at Plas Uchaf, Wales, currently nr. St John's Wood (Saint-Jean-des-Bois), Normandy.

Part VIII of my Christmas Compositions for the 2015/2016 festive season.
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