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In: Experiment
In: Canadian-American Slavic Studies
In: Canadian-American Slavic Studies
Author: Wendy Salmond

Abstract

This essay examines Russian artist Viktor Vasnetsov’s search for a new kind of prayer icon in the closing decades of the nineteenth century: a hybrid of icon and painting that would reconcile Russia’s historic contradictions and launch a renaissance of national culture and faith. Beginning with his icons for the Spas nerukotvornyi [Savior Not Made by Human Hands] Church at Abramtsevo in 1880-81, for two decades Vasnetsov was hailed as an innovator, the four icons he sent to the Paris “Exposition Universelle” of 1900 marking the culmination of his vision. After 1900, his religious painting polarized elite Russian society and was bitterly attacked in advanced art circles. Yet Vasnetsov’s new icons were increasingly linked with popular culture and the many copies made of them in the late Imperial period suggest that his hybrid image spoke to a generation seeking a resolution to the dilemma of how modern Orthodox worshippers should pray.

In: Experiment
In: Russian History
In: Canadian-American Slavic Studies
In: Canadian-American Slavic Studies

Abstract

This overview essay provides an historical context for the evolution of Russian sculpture in the Imperial, Soviet, and post-Soviet eras, articulating its close connections with developments in Western Europe while also suggesting the specific local factors that contributed to its distinctive identity.

In: Experiment
In: Experiment