Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Where my interest in Russia started is in a book...sort of

Aha oe feii? (Are You Jealous?) by Paul Gauguin
The Pushkin Museum, Moscow
Actually it started with an art exhibit at which I bought the accompanying book and my interst in Russia spiraled out from there.

In the eighties Russia agreed to loan art housed in The Hermitage and Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts that hadn't been seen in decades.  Our local museum was one of the locations that the Impressionism and Post-Impressionism work was shown alongside works from the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

I gained two things from this visit that are still with me today.

One is my love for the impressionists.  There is something about the colors and various styles that I find quite calming.  Monet, Manet, Degas and others I knew, could even recognize their work, but I discovered new pieces from each of these as well as Vuillard, Bonnard and Utrillo at this show.  My pleasure found in art was expanded.

The second thing I gained from the show was an interest in Russia itself.  Up to that point and for some time afterwards there was limited information to be discovered and that made me even hungrier.  In the end, it was one of the subjects I studied at University and even there I found limitations.  Its hard to believe such a large country managed to keep a tight hold on its borders and they've only been opened for a little over 20 years.

By the way, when I say Russia, I mean pre-Soviet time.  My studies and interest stops at 1917, however, the Come trilogy is set in contemporary times and the Ivanovich brothers have been living in America since they were ten and younger.

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