Russian Design

Evgenia Kirichenko, Author, Serge Essaim, Foreword by, Mikhail Anikst, With ABRAMS $75 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8109-3758-1
The impulse toward a strongly national art in Russia surfaced around 1750 and took nourishment from folk art, craft traditions and the Russian Orthodox Church. A succession of styles--pseudo-Gothic, Russo-Byzantine, romanticism--culminated in a self-conscious ``Russian style'' by 1875. Its impact reverberated in painting, theater design, architecture, furniture, jewelry and ceramics. This ravishing, enlightening volume reclaims a whole tradition, much of which was eradicated by Communist repression or neglect and the Soviet push for industrial functionalism. Nikolai Roerich's mystical paintings of ancient Rus, Ivan Bilibin's faithful renderings of village life, sophisticated portraits, the flowering of church architecture and town planners' attempts to utilize what already existed instead of imposing a classical blueprint are illuminated with the aid of 300 illustrations (most in color). Kirichenko, a Moscow art historian, is an entertaining as well as informative guide. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
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