Friday, April 04, 2008

Russian storm coming

I grew up with this picture. I have always looked at it as a symbol of peace, strength, plenty and safety of my Motherland.

I have never - never until very very recently noticed the two little swallows skimming the ground right at the bottom centre of this big painting (3.5 feet by 6 feet). Any Russian would tell you what swallows skimming the ground mean: a storm is coming. It's not just granny's tales — it is a natural phenomenon. Birds can tell weather, and old folk knew how to tell weather by watching birds.

Shishkin, Rye, 1878, o/c, 104 cm x 1887 cm
It doesn't puzzle me why President Putin (or his advisers) chose this picture as a background to a photo of him. Because few people notice the worried little swallows, a little detail in the big picture. Most look at the great pines and the sea of ripe rye, and think - what a beautiful, rich and strong world.

Storm? What storm?

Check this previous article:
Putin's Pines

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Bronzed nudes

This is a beautiful example of a patinated bronze nude. Marble is often thought of as the material for nude sculpture. However bronze is often more expressive. Look how the patina diffuses soft winter sunlight giving life to the sculpture.

The French republican 'monumental propaganda' paradoxically employed many compositional features of Christianity. The naked young woman, presumably Marianne, the symbol of France, veneratingly raises her arms towards - who? the God Almighty?

Full picture in next post.
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