“An artist is, by nature, someone very sensitive, who expresses with talent the pains that he has suffered. He uses art to replace the communication that he didn’t, or doesn’t have with others.” - Jean Giraud (Moebius)
This week, Magpie Tales, perhaps influenced by the arrival of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, has chose the work “Spring 1935” by Russian artist Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin to act a springboard for her readers’ creativity. I was not familiar witht his artist so I thank the Mag for the introduction. My offering is below this artist’s biography, attached here for your reference.
Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin (1878-1939) was born in Khvalynsk, a provincial town near Saratov in Russia, into the family of a shoemaker. The artist started drawing at a young age, although there was not much opportunity or encouragement to develop his talents. The boy however, approached an icon painter, who agreed to teach the young Petrov-Vodkin his art. At the age of 15 years he started lessons in painting in F.E. Burov’s art classes. In 1895 sponsors sent him to St Petersburg to study in the Central School of Technical Drawing of Baron Stiglitz (1876-1922), but very soon his teachers understood that the young man was not a technician, and his vocation was fine arts.
In 1897, Petrov-Vodkin was transferred to the Moscow School of Painting and Sculpture, where he studied in the class of Valentin Serov, and from which he graduated in 1904. He also stayed in Munich in 1901 and studied in the studio of A. Ashbee. The studies in the Moscow School were marked with his hard work in painting and creative writing. Petrov-Vodkin even struggled a little with the decision on whether to become a writer or a painter. His chose painting after a journey to Italy and a long stay in Paris, where he studied in many Parisian studios and art schools. His subsequent trip to North Africa and the studies there became the basis of the works exhibited in the Paris Salon in 1908.
In 1910 Petrov-Vodkin became a member of the artistic union ‘World of Art’ and remained in it until its dissolution in 1924, though he ultimately did not become identified with any particular school. Already Petrov-Vodkin’s early works are symbolic (e.g. Elegy, 1906; Bank, 1908; Dream 1910), all of them are influenced by Mikhail Vrubel, Victor Borisov-Musatov, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and by the Belgian writer Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949). The canvas ‘Dream’ stirred heated discussion and brought fame to the young artist. His art attempts to synthesise Eastern and Western painting traditions.
In the late 1910s he developed and wrote about a new theory concerning the depiction of space. His so-called ‘spherical perspective’ differs from the traditional ‘Italian’ perspective. The artist creates different spaces on the canvas, connected by gravity; bent axes of bodies make up a ‘fan’, which is opening from within the picture. Paintings with such compositional structure should be viewed by a moving spectator from different points, e.g. ‘Spring 1935’ above. Such treatment of space and very specific colouring (based on primary colors – red, yellow and blue) determine the mature style of Petrov-Vodkin.
After the Bolshevik Revolution (November 1917) Petrov-Vodkin painted still-lives more often, although other new themes are also present in his art. In the late 1920s-early 1930s he had to abandon painting for a time because of illness; he returned to writing. He wrote two autobiographical novels ‘Khvalynsk’ and ‘Euclid’s Space’, in which he expressed his views and theories on nature and possibilities of fine arts. The work of Petrov-Vodkin did not correspond to the Soviet ideology of the Stalinist period and after his death in 1939 the painter was quickly ‘forgotten’, happily not for long.
My love loves so true
All the green leaves in Springtime;
My love loves the blooms and the breeze.
The doves on the wing
The splash of the fountain,
The laugh of a child.
My love loves so well
The gold dancing wheat fields,
The poppies, the song of the lark.
A cool murmuring brooklet
In the deep shady forest
Away from the midsummer’s heat.
My love loves so much
All the bright hues of autumn
The big cool drops of rain.
The scent of wet earth,
The ripe berries
The taste of sweet young wine.
My love loves so true
Each winter snowflake,
My love loves the sighs of the wind.
The crackle of fire blazing,
The mirror of lake frozen, wan.
My love loves all of these,
But my love loves me not,
My love loves me not.