The Costakis Collection at the Museum of Russian Art in Malaga

The Costakis Collection at the Museum of Russian Art in Malaga
The Costakis Collection at the Museum of Russian Art in Malaga

Symbolism and Post-Impressionist tendencies in Europe had a strong influence on young Russian artists of the early 20th century, as evidenced by the Blue Rose and Golden Fleece groups. Painters such as Vrubel and Borisov-Musatov were introducing innovative techniques both in composition and in the organization of the painted surface.

In 1910, the group of artists known as the Golden Fleece was dissolved and replaced by the group the Knave of Diamonds. Artists such as Malevich, Tatlin, Popova, Exter, Kliun, Larionov and Goncharova, among others, were associated with this new group and exhibited their works at various exhibitions. The paintings of this period clearly showed the influence of Cézanne, the French Cubists and Orphism.

Russian Cubo-Futurism, on the other hand, represented a distinctive and indigenous development, adopting elements of French Cubism and Italian Futurism, but with a unique and bold vision that characterized Russian art of that period. Artists such as Popova, Morgunov, Lentulov, Kliun, Udaltsova, Exter and Rozanova adopted, during the period 1912-1916, elements of French Cubism, while giving their compositions a keen sense of movement in the style of the Italian Futurists.

Kazimir Malevich, one of the most radical artists of the Russian avant-garde, was a pioneer of Suprematism, a movement that sought the supremacy of form and colour over any figurative content. Suprematism debuted at the exhibition Latest futuristic exhibition 0.10 held in Petrograd, now Saint Petersburg, in 1915.

Malevich’s realism showed a fantastic representation “which one must reach by distancing oneself from the visible aspects of life.” He founded the group We are supremewhich was joined by many artists of the Cubo-Futurist trend such as Ivan Kliun, Liubov Popova, Nadezhda Udaltsova and Olga Rozanova, and headed the Unovis school (Affirmers of New Art), an institution whose mission was to use art to change aesthetic perception. Malevich’s work, Black square (1915), became the emblem of the Suprematist movement, putting an end to old art and being the beginning of the new.

Another important avant-garde movement was Russian Constructivism, which emerged in the early 1920s. Led by figures such as Alexei Gan and Vladimir Tatlin, an important painter and sculptor, they explored the relationship between art and everyday life through numerous artistic disciplines. The Constructivists set out to create new conditions for people’s lives, with the help of a new aesthetic based on the creation of simple, logical and functional forms and constructions. The application of Constructivism to the mass production of everyday objects laid the foundations for contemporary design and came to be called ‘productive art’.

 
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