Parkstone Press, (1999). First Edition. Hardcover. Item #224042
208 pages. 9-3/4 by 13 inches. 'From the XVIIIth until the XXth Century' -- subtitle from the cover. Illustrated with more than 200 reproductions in color. First edition (first printing). Near fine in a near fine dust jacket. A large, heavy book.
This handsome volume offers a panorama of Russian painting from the 18th to the 20th century unequalled anywhere else. Russian culture developed through contact with European influences, but retained strong indigenous characteristics. From the Middle Ages to the 18th century, Russian painting was entirely devoted to religious subjects. This book begins with a discussion of the earliest examples of Russian art, namely icons, which were closely tied to Byzantine culture. It was not until the late 17th century that sacred art was abandoned and subject matter broadened to include pictures of everyday life, revealing tension between idealism and realism. Secular art flourished especially through portraits. Although the Academy of Fine Arts of St. Petersburg was founded in 1757, it would be decades before Russian artists became interested in still life and history painting.