We placed on the cover of our next issue a picture of the painter and graphic artist from Ust-Ilimsk Anatoly Pogrebny “Portrait of the Artist N. Domashenko”. It is made in the traditions of Russian realistic art, with a careful study of form and deep psychological analysis. This is a kind of artistic epigraph to the entire issue, where the main articles are devoted to contemporary Siberian art. However, we will talk about this a little later, but for now it is worth saying a few words about our two traditional sections.
The “Eurasian Heritage” section presents modern approaches to the study of the great art of the primitive world. The classical history of art begins with the artistic culture of ancient civilizations that are 5–6 millennia distant from our time, and the beginning of Paleolithic art dates back to the 40th millennium BC. Nobody argues whether there was art in such a distant past — of course, it was. There were also masters about whom we will not be able to learn anything on a personal level, but they perfectly felt the form and artistic merits of the materials available to them, achieved high plastic expressiveness and depth of figurative solutions. This issue of the journal presents modern digital technologies and how they help in the study of this stage of world art.
The article about the Kostroma school of icon painting opens up new facets of this artistic phenomenon. It is surprising that not in the centre of the capital, but in the provinces, an original workshop suddenly appears and flourishes brightly, where many gifted artists worked, who created outstanding images of Russian icon painting.
The section “Art of the 20th–21st centuries” is very representative from a geographical point of view. If we move from the eastern tip of the Eurasian continent, then the first article will be about the artist O.N. Loshakov. In the 1960s, an energetic creative group of painters and graphic artists of the first graduates of the Vladivostok Art School formed around him. The thirst for creativity, artistic unanimity, the grandeur and freedom of sea spaces contributed to the brightest discoveries in the art of these masters, members of the “Shikotan group”, named after the island where they went on their expeditions.
Moving further west, we find two interesting articles from China. The first is about one of the leaders in the direction of “village realism”, the painter Luo Zhongli. Another article is about a seemingly simple episode in artistic life, a master class in oil painting, which was held back in 1956 by the Academician A.A. Mylnikov. It turned out that this event changed a lot: the audience and young artists responded vividly to the works of the Russian master, interest in realistic painting grew, and beginning painters, graphic artists and sculptors went to Leningrad and Moscow to study. However, for A.A. Mylnikov's trip to China, immersion in traditional Chinese art have left their mark and are clearly reflected in his work.
The next point of our Eurasian artistic journey will be St. Petersburg, where the period associated with the avant-garde now attracts a large number of researchers. Here is a study of V.Yu. Zabelin artworks, better known under the pseudonym Vik, and how the collage technique influenced his painting style. Further, our path lies to the Republic of Moldova, where there will be another discovery of unknown works by Yakov Averbukh, who received his primary education in royal Romania, improved his art in Soviet Moldova, and then clearly showed himself in Israel. The final point of our imaginary movement to the west will be connected with the wonderful artist of the Russian emigration E.E. Klimov, who, in search of a better life for himself and his family, moved throughout Europe, met and made friends with the same emigrants as prominent figures of Russian culture and created their portraits in the tradition of the Russian realistic school of art.
The “Forum” section, central to the issue, is about contemporary Siberian art. The journal itself is published just a few days before the opening of a huge inter-regional exhibition of Siberian artists in Altai, in Barnaul. All types and genres of art will be presented here, viewers will be able to be acquainted with the work of more than 700 artists of the Altai Krai, the Altai Republic, the Krasnoyarsk Krai, Irkutsk, Kemerovo, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Tomsk regions, Novokuznetsk, Tyva and Khakassia. Numerous bright discoveries in art are waiting for the audience and art critics. Anticipating this, our authors highlight the work of Siberian artists from different sides.
The exhibition “Siberia – 13” makes us think about the origins of the professional art of Siberia, and here the figure of Vasily Ivanovich Surikov immediately comes to mind. In Krasnoyarsk, and then in Novosibirsk, residents and guests of these cities will be able to see a grand exhibition of his works.
I am sure that many will respond with gratitude to the significant work of those who arranged such a tour of the artist's works. The central picture of the expositions is “The Conquest of Siberia by Yermak” from the State Russian Museum. It is impossible to pass by this picture, and it is worth considering it a little more closely as an axial work of Russian culture that tells a lot about Siberia and Siberians. I will suggest one detail, compositionally closest to the viewer. This is an axe tucked into the belt of a warrior, shown by Surikov from the back. The desperate, hardened warrior threw up his squeaker, the fuse is already burning in it, and enemies are aiming at him with well-honed arrows. But the question arises: why does this experienced warrior — who knows well that everything that interferes with the battle should be discarded — why does he need not a combat, but a working axe? Moreover, Vasily Surikov wrote this axe very accurately; the serrated blade (can anyone believe that an experienced warrior will go into battle with such a blade?) is worked out with a thin brush. The warrior has a squeaker, an excellent saber on his side, and a working axe only interferes. The answer suggests itself: this is a symbol of what the warrior is going to build — first a fortress, then a house; then to make and repair the working equipment of the farmer, to chop wood. Perhaps, through this detail, brought to the fore, the artist and thinker V.I. Surikov reveals the secret: transmigrators went beyond the Urals, beyond the Stone Belt, not to ruin and plunder — they went to develop new lands, build, dreamed of their own house and land, of free living in gigantic open spaces. And after the battle, having come to a new place, they easily converged with the local peoples, took their girls as their wives, who became mothers of strong-chested, strong children. This is how Siberians were formed. Years will pass, and the descendants of the Yermakovites will become a living fortress near Moscow and in Stalingrad.
Surikov did not see this, but he was sure that this was the essence of the Siberians and that they were the main strength of Siberia. Once again, with gratitude, I would like to bow to the wisdom and the greatest skill of the artist, who set a high tone for all Siberian art, a tone that modern masters should not lower.