Uzbek’s portrayal - a tendency in Russian artists’ works
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- 7.1 Academician Pavlovsky – Scientist and altruist
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6.13 Uzbek’s portrayal - a tendency in Russian artists’ works
A number of ½ of XX century Russian artists were amazed by Samarkand bright
colours and light’s atmosphere and effects.
Petrov-Vodkin visited the Middle Asia in
1920s with a scientific expedition and describes his impressions in his Samarkandia
Diaries: “Here is Shahi-Zinda, - as soon as I saw its domes – I loved them”. The artist
observed colourful richness of Uzbekistan: “I could see the sky at any hour. This
intersection of ultramarine, sapphire, cobalt put on fire the soil, rocks, turning the
green plants into nothing, creating an effect of silver; accordingly such seems a
geographical colour of the country – in these two antipodes of sky and soil. It
provides in Samarkandia a feeling of swelter, heat and fire under the cup of sky. A
man feels uncomfortable under these colourful poles, and the eastern creativity
allowed an accord, having created a colour of turquoise. It is additional towards to
the fire of soil; it outlines the basic blue, giving it an exit by the mixture of green
nuances. The Aralskoye Sea hinted artists at this turquoise. My first exclamation to my
friends was: “But it is water! It is a turquoise incantation of desert’s fieriness! In
guessing of this colour in mosaics and majolica consists a coloristic genius of the
K. Petrov-Vodkin, Shahi-Zinda, 1920s, oil on canvas. I. Mashkov, Still-life, 1940s, oil on canvas.
N. Karahan, Road to Kishlak, 1930-1940ss, oil on canvas. R. Falk, Samarkand, 1943, watercolour.
Петров-Водкин, К. Хлыновск. Пространство Эвклида. Самаркандия. М.: Искусство, 1970, C.52-79.
Speaking in general terms, an interest of Russian artists of XX century towards the East
was probably even higher than to the West. D. Sarabianov suggested that Russian
artists were able to perceive the essence of Eastern beauty, but a viewer can
admire this Asian life from outside as distant viewers – they are not able to enter
inside – this life’s side is not available for him. The East remains as a dream, kind of a
utopic image, which may be admired at a distance being to the romantic dream.
Russian avant-garde artists were interested in East by its image’s system and artistic
language. Velimor Hlebnikov also developed interest towards East. In the early 1910s
N. Goncharova officially neglected the West and turned to the East, identifying
Russia with East
. One of the theoreticians of Larionov’s group A. Chevchenko
developed this idea in one of his books
. In his manifests Larionov also indicated at
the sameness of Russia and East. Iakulov being close to Larionov in 1914 published a
manifest We and the West where together with L. Lurie and B. Livshits where was
defined the Eastern essence of Russian art as a trait of Russian mentality was
observed tendency to subconscious and irrational. Therefore theoretically the
interest towards East existed among Russian avant-garde artists especially in the
early period of their development. N. Goncharova in her figurative compositions
often was oriented at Skiff women (postures, schematic movements). Skiff culture
she relates to the Eastern culture and suggests it as an alternative to the
. Decorativism of her Peacock of 1912 in antique Egyptian style, Persian
elements, eastern ornaments of wall paper decoration which Goncharova painted
together with Larionov as a background of her still-lives. All indicates at her interest
towards East. Larionov often uses Turk motives in lithographic books as Gypsy woman
(1908), Eastern personages in and objects in mythic cycle Travel to Turkey etc.
Perfect image of East as a fairy-tale land or dream-land of harmony and beauty
unites avant-garde artists with other Russian artists, where a man, nature and culture
create a harmonic wholeness and union. In general terms: “Eastern world embodies
an image of the Earth’s paradise. It is a blessed ground, oasis of joy and happiness.
Almost all art works fit into a notion of East’s image and preserves traits of
. An interest to a deep psychological analysis in Uzbek’s portrayal
Гончарова, Наталия. Предисловие к каталогу выставки. Мастера искусства об искусстве. М.:
Том седьмой, 1970, С.487.
Шевченко, А. Неопримитивизм. Его теория. Его возможности. Его достижения. М.:
художник, 1913, C.25-47.
Сарабьянов, Д.В. Русская живопись. Пробуждение памяти. М.: Искусствознание, 1998, C.432.
which showed Russian artists - is not a singular case but rather a tendency which can
be followed in other art forms and genres. Regarding painting, the best reflection of
the common artistic purpose we can find in K. Petrov-Vodkin’s work Portrait of an
inner psychological life of the model. Open and direct gaze of the portrayed boy
charms a viewer, disclosing its inner purity, soul’s beauty, and fineness. The neutral
plane background accentuates brightness and vividness of Uzbek boy’s gaze and
the wholeness of his image, resembling the tradition of icon painting.
Getmanskaya in her Uzbek’s portrait work also gives a profound characteristic of the
boy’s individuality by means of multiples contrasts of light and shadows which
emphasize and deepen the controversy and complexity of Uzbek’s personality.
As to Nina Slobodinskaya’s fellows-sculptors contemporaries - Leningrad artist and
her close friend and colleague A. Ignatiev during few years worked on sculptural
image of the famous Asian poet – Djambul
. Ignatiev in realistic method
interpreted the rich complexity of the prominent poet. The bronze material outlines
the sharpness of face traits and reveals a deep mental work of the portrayed,
convincing a viewer of his deep wisdom and high spirituality (see cap.3).
Petrov Vodkin, Boys, Samarkandia, 1926, oil on canvas.
It becomes obvious that East motives traditionally inspired the whole Galaxy of artists in the late XIX –
first half of XX century. However, there were artists in whose creative work East motives take the central
role not just in artistic aspect, but also in its philosophical world view aspects. In order to learn more on
this subject one may address to the following materials: Беликов, П.Ф., Князева, В.П. Свет Шамаблы.
Духовная кульутра Востока в жизни и творчестве Рерихов. Самара: ГМВ, 1996; Кузнецов П.В. От
Саратова до Бухары. M.: Горная Бухара, 1923; Якимович, А.К. Двадцатый век: Искусство; Культура;
Картина мира: От импрессионизма до классического авангарда. М.: Изобразительное
искусство, 2003; Тасалов, В.И. Светоэнергетика искусства: Очерки теоретического
искусствознания. СПб.: Искусство, 2004.О Сарьяне. Страницы художественной критики: Отзывы
современников. Ереван: Лениздат, 1980; Кузнецов, Павел Варфоломеевич. Альбом. М.: Искусство,
1968; Сарьян, М.С. Из моей жизни. М.: Изобразительное искусство, 1985.
ARTISTIC MATURITY. THE POST-WAR PERIOD (1945-1970)
In 1945 after the Second World War is finally over, Nina Slobodinskaya together with
her husband and son returns to Leningrad. The horrors of the war were left in the
past; the joy of the war’s end overpasses a sadness of losses and encouraged the
sculptor to look at the future with optimism and aspirations for the better life. As to
Slobodinskaya’s professional level, she undoubtedly achieved a lot during her life
and work in Samarkand: having become a mature artist with an elaborated
technique, a proper plastic language together with the defined thematic
Unfortunately, a return home was not completely unclouded as it also signified a loss
of creative freedom: a return to the obligatory social artistic structure of the LOSH
consequently meant an obligation to expose regularly at its shows and signified a
necessity to detach her work in narrow frames of socialist realism, its main subjects
and style. Obviously, the official requests and commissions limited the artist
thematically. The main subjects in sculpture imposed by the Soviet state continued
being the clear propaganda messages but now they also reflected new
commemorative forms, glorifying war-heroes and the state-winner. Consequently
Russian artists had to follow a new thematic line.
Almost a two years period of a complete artistic liberty left in sculptor a taste for
freedom of artistic self-expression. Therefore it’s not surprising that Nina
Slobodinskaya was not ready to easily let the Communist regime to push her around.
However, the sculptor finds a logic development of her creative interest to human
being’s depiction, working on genre of portrait. The work in portrait genre permitted
the artist to remain faithful to her key interest subject and to concurrently correspond
to the society’s demands. In case of Slobodinskaya it was not a compromise of an
artist with life circumstances but rather a coincidence of interests which allowed the
sculptor to peacefully coexist with the State’s requests. Regarding a model’s
choice, the artist usually found prominent, complex and bright personalities who by
The LOSH - Union of Artists of Saint Petersburg was founded on August 2, 1932 as an artistic union of
the Leningrad artists and arts critics. Prior to 1959, it was defined as the Leningrad Union of Soviet Artists.
From 1959 (when it joined the Union of Artists of the RSFSR), it was determined as Leningrad branch of
Union of Artists of Russian Federation. In 1991, it became known as the Saint Petersburg Union of Artists.
See: Связь времён. 1932—1997. Художники — члены Санкт-Петербургского Союза художников
their social achievements were highly recognized by the State – the first fact satisfied
the sculptor creatively and professionally and the second responded to the
established LOSH’s demands (social significance of the portrayed almost
guaranteed sculpture’s acceptance to official shows and could lead to its
N. Slobodinskaya, Academician E.N. Pavlovsky, 1947, bronze, 1 ½ life size.
Photos of Academician E.N. Pavlovsky, 1943-45, unknown authors.
N. Slobodinskaya, Academician E.N. Pavlovsky, 1947, marble bust, 1 ½ life size, installed in school named after
Pavlovsky in Duchambe (Tadzhiikistan).
N. Slobodinskaya, Academician E.N. Pavlovsky, 1947, marble bust, 1 ½ life size, plaster-clay.
Documental evidence of Pavlovsky’s bust readiness, which had to be sent to the Pavlovsky’s museum
in Borisoglebsk, signed by the Combinate DPI director Smirnov, 1940s.
Certificate which proves the official order of E. Pavlovsky’s sculptural portrait’s commission in marble to
be elaborated in the Leningrad Sculptural Combinate, 1940s.
Nina Slobodinskaya starts working on the portrait’s series. In 1947 on proper initiative
she decided to sculpt Academician Pavlovsky – a famous scientist and her
husband’s colleague in The Academy. Evgeny Nikanorovich Pavlovsky(1884,
Voronezh Oblast – 1965, Leningrad) became a Soviet zoologist, entomologist,
academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (the Academy of Medical
Sciences of the USSR, honorary member of the Tajik Academy of Sciences, and a
lieutenant-general of the Red Army Medical Service in World War II. In 1908, Yevgeny
Pavlovsky graduated from the Military Medical Academy in Petersburg (he became
a professor at his alma mater). In 1933-1944, he worked at the All-union Institute of
Experimental Medicine in Leningrad and simultaneously at the Tajik branch of the
Soviet Academy of Sciences
. Yevgeny Pavlovsky held the post of director of the
Zoology Institute of the Soviet Academy of Sciences. In 1946, he was appointed as a
head of the Department of Parasitology and Medical Zoology at the Institute of
Epidemiology/Microbiology of the Soviet Academy of Medical Sciences. Yevgeny
Pavlovsky was declared the president of the Soviet Geographical Society in 1952-
Иванов, П. Павловский, Евгений Никанорович. (АН СССР. Материалы к биобиблиографии
трудов ученых СССР. Серия биолог. наук. Паразитология, вып. 1), 2 изд., М.: Либроком, 1956, C.54-
1964. Under Pavlovsky’s direction, they committed various expeditions to the Central
Asia, Transcaucasia, Crimea, Russian Far East and other regions of the Soviet Union
to analyse endemic parasitic and transmissible diseases (tick-borne relapsing fever,
tick-borne encephalitis, Pappataci fever, leishmaniasis etc.). Yevgeny Pavlovsky
introduced and developed the concept of natural nidality of human diseases,
defined by the idea that micro scale disease foci are determined by the entire
ecosystem. This concept laid the foundation for the elaboration of a number of
preventive measures and caused the development of the environmental trend in
parasitology (together with the works of parasitology’s specialist Valentin Dogel).
Yevgeny Pavlovsky researched host organism as a habitat for parasites
(parasitocenosis), numerous matters of regional and landscape parasitology, life
cycles of a number of parasites, pathogenesis of helminthic infection. Pavlovsky and
his fellow scientists analysed the fauna of flying blood-sucking insects (gnat) and
methods of controlling them and venomous animals and characteristics of their
Evgeny Pavlovsky’s principal works are dedicated to the matters of parasitology. He
authored several textbooks and manuals on parasitology. Pavlovsky was a deputy
of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th convocations. He was a
recipient of the Stalin State Prize, the Lenin Prize, the Mechnikov Gold Medal of the
Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1949), and of the gold medal of the Soviet
Geographical Society (1954). Evgeny Pavlovsky was awarded five Orders of Lenin,
four other orders, and numerous medals
Regarding the sculptor’s work manner - N. Slobodinskaya shaped portrait directly
from a model in front. She continued using a realistic and naturalistic style in the
portraying. A viewer sees a face shaped in detail with pronounced cheek-bones, a
firm chin which permit us suggest that this man possessed a strong will and
character. In a direct gaze of the portrayed a spectator can guess honesty,
seriousness and strength. The wavy and curvy surface of the base, which seems by
its texture a natural unworked granite stone, contrasts with carefully and
pedantically elaborated realistic model’s portrait, repeating lines of the man’s hair.
The chest of the portrayed is shaped schematically and a curvy rough surface of the
“К 70-летию со дня рождения Е.Н. Павловского”. Медицинская паразитология и паразитарные
болезни, 1954, № 2, C.7-10.
Иванов, П. Павловский, Евгений Никанорович. (АН СССР. Материалы к биобиблиографии
трудов ученых СССР. Серия биолог. наук. Паразитология, вып. 1, 2 изд., М.: Либроком, 1956, C.40-
bust increases an impression of monolith and solemnity. It also strengthens a feeling
of additional inner tension of granite and adds a shred of romanticism to the general
image of the portrayed. The sculptural portrait of the academician was exhibited in
1947 at the LOSH regular show and was purchased by The Military-Medical Museum
. The sculptural portrait in marble (1 ½ life size) of Pavlovsky was also
purchased by Pavlovsky’s Museum in town Borisoglebsk and by Pavlovsky’s school in
Stalinabad (now Duchambe, Tadzhikistan). The artist achieved to give a deep
psychological interpretation to the sculpted image of the academician, what
probably may be explained by their close friendly relations: Pavlovsky was also a
colleague and friend of Nina Slobodinskaya’s husband Vladimir. Model’s
individuality’s knowledge permitted the master to depict not just a famous scientist
who worked hard and responsibly for his country, but also to transmit his personal
qualities, such as kindness, directness, honesty and a strong will.
The next significant work of Nina Slobodinskaya is the monument of an outstanding
contra-admiral, twice a hero of the Soviet Union - Alexandre Osip Shabalin (1914-
1982). It’s a granite bust (2 natures); a pedestal elaborated in collaboration with
architect I.I. Fomin in 1951. The new Soviet hero was a commander of torpedo boat.
The future admiral was born in the village Yudmozero Onega, Arkhangelsk Oblast
region in peasant’s family. Russian by nationality, he was a member of the CPSU
since 1943. In 1936, Alexander Osipovich Shabalin was directed to the Soviet Army.
During the Second World War, he commanded a torpedo boat, and then a
detachment of torpedo boats in the Northern and Baltic fleets. He worshiped and
transported the enemy with military supplies and troops. He was awarded with many
orders and medals. The reward of the Hero of the Soviet Union with the award of the
Order of Lenin and medal Gold Star captain-Osipovich Shabalinu awarded on Feb.
22, 1944 for the exemplary performance of command assignments, for courage and
bravery. He was awarded with such a high privilege medals grace to his high level of
Выставка произведений ленинградских художников. 1947 год. Живопись. Скульптура. Графика.
Театрально-декорационная живопись. Каталог, Л.: ЛССХ, 1948, C.39-46.
Khametov, M.I. Light gold stars. Arkhangelsk: North-Zap.kn.izd, 1989, pp.31-53.
N. Slobodinskaya, Alexandre Osip Shabalin (fragment), 1951, granite.
N. Slobodinskaya, Alexandre Osip Shabalin, 1951, plaster cast, monument’s project.
Photos of Alexandre Osip Shabalin, 1940s, unknown author.
Article on Slobodinskaya’s monument Alexandre Osip Shabalin, the Vechernii Leningrad, 1949, N77.
The larger-than-life monument commemorating the Hero of Soviet Union Shabalin -
the Captain of torperonosets was installed in the central park of town Onega where
remains till the actual moment. The curious thing about the captain is that when he
saw his own bust elaborated, he was so impressed by its significance and solemnity
that he told the sculptor that now he felt obligated to become better. Therefore, he
promised to stop drinking alcohol
The recollections of Andrey Gnezdilov, interviewed on 09.08.14.
The sculptural image has all attributes of the official representative realistic portrait:
majestically and widely-shaped breast is fully decorated by medals and signs of
honour. The head’s position is straight and highly cocked with dignity. A head-gear is
wavy and gives some vividness and fervour to the general image together with a
shade of romanticism. Admiral’s face is exposed realistically but it’s unexpectedly for
the representative portrait full of humanity. Shabalin gazes directly at viewer but
simultaneously he seems to stay deep in his thoughts.
Once elaborated this monument was successfully approved by the LOSH. No doubt
- it corresponded to its basic requests: a new outstanding Soviet war hero of a
peasant background (iz naroda) represented in socialist realism style
developed a personal style, impervious to fashions and fads, which she maintained
throughout her career. She created portraits meticulously, often at sittings that lasted
for hours. A particular attention artist paid to her model’s eyes and line of gaze
which gave rise to sensitive finely composed character’s studies.
Photos of I. Michurin, cut by Slobodinskaya from newspapers, 1920s, unknown authors. Sculptor’s achieve
It would be important to mention that the general socio-cultural climate in the post-war period
facilitated sculptural portrait development, supporting a creation of monuments-busts of twice a hero
of the USSR and twice heroes of Socialistic Labor, which once being completed had to be installed at
these personages’ native place. Thus, the Soviet Government decree on heroes’ busts’ elaboration
promoted the increase of monumental tendencies. Hence, sculptural monument together with
sculptural portrait–bust as genre became highly-sought. In sculptural monuments Soviet sculptors tend
to combine appearance’s similarity with a generalized image’s shaping, also by an attempt to obtain
harmony between sculpture and architectural pedestal, finally, attempting to create an image in all it
clarity and expressivity. As to labor heroes, the main characteristic traits appear: representativeness
and am effective composition, which had to embody a spirit of victim and a never- ending energy.
Besides, the subject in sculpture was definitely soldiers’ heroism and the war victims. In this context a
huge importance was given to memorial, monument-complex; as sculptural –architectural type of
monument better than others expressed a theme of victory above death.
To see more on the subject: Сарабьянова, Д.В. Ред. История русского и советского искусства. M.:
Высшая школа, 1979; Ильина, Т.В. ИСТОРИЯ ИСКУССТВ: Отечественное искусствo. Учебник. 3-е
изд., М.: Искусство, 2000.
N. Slobodinskaya, I. Michurin, 1951, plaster-cast, 2 life size, bust, Sosnovo’s Park.
N. Slobodinskaya I. Michurin, 1951, bronze, statuette.
N. Slobodinskaya, I. Michurin, 1951, plaster-cast, 21 x 14 x 33, figurine.
N. Slobodinskaya, I. Michurin, 1951, plaster-cast, 21 x 14 x 33, figurine.
N. Slobodinskaya, I. Michurin, 1951, plaster-cast, figurine.
M. Obolensky, I. Michurin, 1949
oil on canvas. A. Gerasimov I. Michurin, 1949, oil on canvas, 620 x 344.
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