The Wanderers and Critical Realism in Nineteenth Century Russian Painting
The rise of critical realism in nineteenth-century Russia culminated in 1870 with the formation of the Wanderers, Russia’s first independent artistic society. Through depictions of the harsh lives of the peasantry, the fate of political activists, Russian history, landscapes, and portraits of the nation’s cultural elite, such as Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, the society became synonymous with dissident sentiments. Yet its members were far from being purveyors of anti-Tsarist propaganda and their canvasses reflect also a warm humanity and a fierce pride for such nationalistic themes as Russian myth and legend. Through close readings of single canvases, investigations of major themes and a multi-disciplinary integration of the Wanderers within Russian society, this book gives the first comprehensive analysis of the crucial cultural role played by one of the most successful and genuinely popular schools of art, the legacy of which comprises a fascinating panorama of life and thought in pre-revolutionary Russia.
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