Mikhail Shishin Mikhail Shishin

Dear Readers!

The current issue of the “Art of Eurasia” journal has fully acquired the Eurasian scale: it presents the results of researches of authors from the vast space — Russia, India, China, and Mongolia.

The issue begins with the “Eurasian Heritage” section, which is quite diverse thanks to our authors. Here, readers can discover little-known Russian icons, explore the history of Bronze Age art in Mongolia, and visit one of the largest complexes of rock paintings, which has already been included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. Our journal is one of the first in the Russian art history to tell about very interesting, original and sincere folk masters of house painting from India, about the costumes of the peoples of northern China.

The “Forum” section features articles on the arts and crafts of the Ural region. The cover of this issue showcases a remarkable piece — a candlestick depicting a crane on a turtle. The  composition and individual details are alluring, and the artist skilfully captures the characteristic features of these natural 'heroes' while also achieving a high level of artistic expressiveness. The focus of this article is on cast iron products, a material that is often overlooked in the art world. It may seem impossible to believe that molten metal can be skilfully crafted into intricate designs, but it has been done, as demonstrated by the cast-iron patterned pavilion made at the Ural factory in Kasli that won the Grand Prix at the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris. The Ekaterinburg Art Museum currently displays this undisputed masterpiece of world significance. Sculptural compositions created by masters of the Ural plants have been sold worldwide in the thousands.

To the uninitiated viewer, work in an art museum may appear calm and measured. However, art historians face numerous discoveries and disappointments in their efforts to confirm or deny the authorship of a work, particularly if it is labelled as the work of an “unknown master”. The viewer may only see the label under the painting, but the few lines of information provided may be the result of many years of research, passion, effort, and persistence. This issue of our journal features a fascinating study of the remarkable collection of Western European art in the Irkutsk Regional Art Museum in the section “In storerooms and expositions of museums and art galleries”.

The section titled “Art of the 21st – 21st centuries” will feature three artists. Julia Reitlinger, also known as Sister John during her time in monasticism, was shaped by the creative atmosphere of the remarkable period of Russian art at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. She was a spiritual disciple of the renowned Russian philosopher S.N. Bulgakov and underwent a profound transformation upon attending the exhibition of Russian icons in Munich in 1929, which was organised by I.E. Grabar. As a result, she strictly followed the canon of the Russian icon, but at the same time put forward the idea of a "creative" or, as it is nowadays called, author's icon. The second artist, Grigory Likman, is a well-known figure in Siberia, with several publications dedicated to his work. However, there is a lesser-known aspect to the artists' lives that is explored in this issue. In the 1920s, he worked for a small newspaper in Slavgorod where he created a series of graphic drawings, including portraits of his colleagues and caricatures. The third artist, Wang Shenglie, belonged to the realistic direction in art. In his works, he strived for truth, goodness, and beauty, which is accurately reflected in his depictions of the life of Chinese peasants.

The art of Eurasia is a vast artistic space. Art historians can guide you through it, pointing out things you might miss. They share their discoveries with deep experience and enthusiasm, revealing wonderful authors and amazing works. As L.N. Tolstoy accurately described, this is a “contagion with art”. Our planet will be even more beautiful when the appreciation of art spreads worldwide.

Mikhail Shishin

Chief Editor