Михаил Шишин Mikhail Shishin

Dear Readers!

We are pleased to present you the next issue of the journal “The Art of Eurasia”. Any journal is the result of a team effort. So, this time we are grateful for the creative and very interesting work that our editors have done with the Yekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts and the Department of Art History and Museum Studies of the Ural Federal University. The current issue is based on articles by art critics from many Russian cities, the main theses of which were presented at a large conference in Yekaterinburg. I will dwell on this in more detail later, but for now I can only say that our journal has discovered a new and, in our opinion, interesting line — a holistic presentation of the multifaceted work of some regional museum: its collection, scientific work, leading experts.

This issue opens with the heading “Eurasian heritage”, in which we talk about an important attribute of the traditional home of almost all the peoples of Eurasia — the chest. The chest could be found in a peasant's hut, in the yurt of nomads, and it was not only a functionally significant thing in everyday life, but also a source of pride, with a rich decorative decoration. Chests were made always and everywhere, and our journal tell about the folk craft associated with this, which arose in the Urals in the 18th century. It seems that in the future it would be interesting to compile an art review of chests from different peoples.

The style of impressionism, which originated in France at the end of the 19th century, continues to inspire many masters. In the section “Art of the 20th – 21st centuries” there is an article about Andrey Arestov, an Altai artist with a poetic vision of the world, devoted to this style.

The main topic of the issue, as always, was reflected in the “Forum” section. A number of articles have been published here that reveal the ideological and artistic-plastic aspects of the style of socialist realism from different angles. It, given its wide distribution, can be considered one of the last major artistic styles. It covered both the former Soviet republics and other countries closely connected both politically and socio-culturally with the Soviet Union — from Europe to the countries of the Far East. It has reached real artistic heights, and the best museums of the world are decorated with paintings by Soviet artists of different nationalities. Of course, there were also imitative, salon paintings, and spiritual revelations, and frankly weak works. And here is one observation: not only in articles, but also at exhibitions of artists from different countries, one can see paintings in which there is a certain affinity, tribal unity with socialist realism that seems to have descended from the arena of art. This trend has not yet taken shape completely, but, apparently, it meets the demands of society and, above all, the demands for an idea that is large, relevant, and artistically embodied. Therefore, it is important to analyze the creative achievements of the masters of socialist realism, in order to avoid mistakes and dead ends in its new turn, which took place in the recent past.

Therefore it is symptomatic that an interesting scientific discussion about the essence of socialist realism has already arisen in the section “Philosophy and Theory of Art”.

In the traditional section of the journal “In Storerooms and Expositions of Museums and Art Galleries”, readers can learn about the works of Dutch masters dedicated to the city of Leiden from the museum with the richest history and the richest collection — the Radishchev State Art Museum in Saratov. The article in “Dictionary of Buddhist Iconography by Lokesh Chandra” section hopefully will help experts in the field of Buddhist art to identify the most complex image associated with the parables of the earthly incarnation of the Buddha. The “Academy News” allows us to make an overview of the most representative exhibitions of members of the Russian Academy of Arts, which opened both in the halls of the Academy and at other venues.

When, on the one hand, thanks to our authors, you get acquainted with the most diverse pages of Eurasian art, and on the other hand, you voluntarily or involuntarily plunge into the chaotic “information field” of modernity, you feel the enormous contrast of these independently existing spaces. And the outstanding novel by Hermann Hesse “The Glass Bead Game” comes to mind. It is only now becoming clear what he had in mind when he called our time the “feuilleton era”. But, perhaps, it is precisely in contrast that many people intensify the search for solid cultural and spiritual foundations as an antidote to the hellish spirit of the times. This explains the ever-increasing interest in genuine art, which we strive to tell on the pages of our journal.

Mikhail Shishin

Chief Editor