Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Russian Painters - The Impressionist Years|
Director: Dominique Mougenot
Genres: Educational, Documentary
Impressionism is not the completion, but the dying of the old art and the birth of a new art; the art of the continuously regenerating youth of the painter, artist and culture. Impressionism and Symbolism can be complete s... more »
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When a Style Moves East
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 10/16/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This series has been incorporating live interviews and current scenes of deceased artists' famous haunts. Unfortunately, this installment doesn't practice that trend. This is a slow, slideshow lecture, in the stuff image that you would imagine.
When the French Impressionists first presented their work, it scandalized French viewers and the members of the Academic Salon. This work doesn't suggest that Russian society was shocked by this artistic movement. In the paintings here, you see more minarets and fur hats than you do in French works. However, the narrator never says whether Russian Impressionists were dedicated to doing something different with this style than its French creators. Still, the appropriation is dynamic. The narrator often mentions Russian painters who only made impressionist work once or briefly. Thus, just because those painters copied the style, it doesn't mean they swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. They could also set the style and the movement aside.
I wish the work would have printed the names of artists, so that interested viewers could learn more about these individuals via their college libraries or the Internet. Many people don't know how to spell Russian names and wouldn't be able to put two and two together by themselves. The work mentions a couple of female painters. Were these the Russian equivalents of Mary Cassatt? The work never says.
I also wish the work would have spoken about class, and specifically class inequality, in that region. Pisarro, a French impressionist, was left-wing and dedicated to the working classes. Whereas documentaries on French impressionists tend to wind down by 1900, this work consistently says that Russian impressionists were producing work in the 1900s and 1910s. This is quite close to the time of the Bolshevik Revolution. For centuries, historians have said Russian society was split between the few wealthy and the huge masses of serfs. That injustice is not approached at all here. Was it because the painters were trying to make money off the elite? The work never says. I guess generally, I was disappointed that the work didn't speak about the contemporary Russian society while speaking of these artistic works."