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Prof. Dr. S.V. Zagraevsky


On some problems of basic terminology



Published in Russian:   Заграевский С.В. о некоторых вопросах базовой терминологии. В справочнике «Единый художественный рейтинг», вып. 11. М., 2005.



The following text was translated from the Russian original by the computer program

and has not yet been edited.

So it can be used only for general introduction.




To the 80th anniversary of Anatoliy M. Kantor




We will begin our study with the term "decorative art", usually abbreviated as "DPI".

This term is so firmly entrenched in the artistic life of the USSR and Russia, which has few people think about its meaning and origin. We are dealing with a stable and stereotypes, and any attempts to determine may seem just as banal as the famous phrase of Chekhov's characters: "Volga flows into the Caspian sea".

Therefore, let us not imagine any new definitions DPI and refer to the Russian encyclopaedic dictionary (RECs) - the book is aimed at a dry state stereotypical views on any scientific phenomena. PDI it presents a very thorough article:

"Decorative and applied art - region decor. arts: the creation of a feature film. products that have practical. the appointment in societies. and private life, and hood. processing utilitarian objects (utensils, furniture, fabrics, work tools, vehicles, clothing, jewelry, toys and so on). At processing of materials (metal, wood, glass, ceramics, glass, textiles and others) are used in casting, forging, chasing, engraving, carving, painting, incrustation, embroidery, prints, etc. Production. D.-P.I. are part of the subject of the human environment, and aesthetically enrich it.

Thus, DPI is one of the decorative art. On the last RECs also says detail:

"Decorative arts - kind of plastic. claim-in, made in Holland -cerned along with the surrounding architecture of art form of the human material environment and make estetic.-shaped a beginning. Includes various spare parts. arts, serving for jewelry production. architectural and gardening arts (monument.-the decor. the claim-in)that creates hood. subjects for societies. and private life (decor.-applied the claim-in), art of the decoration of festivals, shows, exhibitions, etc. (execute. the claim-in). Unlike production. easel arts production. Di Naib. fully disclose its content in the ensemble, for esthetic. organizations of which they are created.

So, in the "decorative arts" there are three types: monumental-decorative art, design art and DPI.

Immediately the question arises: why these three types only DPI was short name, which is known to almost everyone? Why is the vernacular name artists working in the field of PDI - Dpishniki "and no "Mdishnikov" and "Oishnikov"? Why, when talking about "applied art", we mean just artists PDI? Why such a situation "legalized" RES, putting in the article "Applied art" between him and the PDI full equality?

Let's see: any muralist can be called a painter or sculptor), and objections to it, no one will call. Graphic designers (like the poster, as scenographers) may be called either schedules or painters (and sometimes the sculptors), and this is also in order. But Dpishniki" (officially - "applied art") is and jewelers, potters, and shkatulochka, and the craftsmen, and anyone, not just painters, not graphics and sculptors.

And if a jeweler or ceramist will call myself a sculptor, and Palekh or Rostov miniature - painter, this will cause others at best a mild surprise, and at worst - a remark like "don't sit down not in his sleigh".

Characteristically, the RECs "legalized" and the situation. Without going into the vicissitudes of different areas of philosophy, art, its authors say:

"Art, 1) hood. creativity in General - literature, architecture, sculpture, painting, drawing, decor.-applied I., music, dance, theater, cinema and other types of human activities that are grouped as a feature film.-shaped forms of development of the world... 2) In the narrow sense - Fig. the claim. 3) a High degree of skill mastery in any sphere of activity".

And "art in the narrow sense" - fine, - according to the authors of REFs, means "section of plastic. claim-in that combines painting, sculpture and graphics". And if the lack of this exhaustive list, for example, photography can be attributed to the relative novelty of the latter, why not here included DPI, existing for many thousands of years?




In order to understand chance or not there was such a strange situation with DPI, it is necessary to recall the thirties and fifties of the twentieth century - long period of the formation of the "Union of Soviet artists". It was then when creating the Moscow Union of artists ' Union of the USSR were on equal footing selected section of painters, graphic artists, sculptors, designers, artists and "applied art".

Perhaps, when dealing with organizational matters unions all these sections really enjoyed equal rights. But the confusion has started already.

The fact that it is not easy to name the painter, never in life do not mark any Museum, exhibition, Church or house of culture. Or a sculptor who worked exclusively in easel plastic and not put any monumental works. Or graphics, never illustrated single book.

And so it happened that among the "equal" partitions were three "most equal" - painters, graphic artists and sculptors, which could deal with and their "high" easel art, and in parallel to do all that, the idea is that pertained to the competence of monumental artists and designers. As members of the "applied" sections, of course, no one could deny to engage in "easel", but mass-Union exhibitions they could only rely on "peripheral" rooms, and purchase their easel paintings has been the exception rather than the rule.

Consequently, any artist, once in your life try to easel painting, graphics and sculpture (as well as without it?), first tried to join in section of the form "art in the narrow sense". And if for some reason did not work, was "on the edge" - monumentalists or designers. Exceptions to this rule, of course, but only for subjective reasons - if, for example, all pals artist N has joined the Moscow Union of artists as decorators, what N was trying to keep painters or graphics with a huge risk of prokalyvanie" on the admissions Committee? Better just to "own"...

There were exceptions of another kind: in the history of each of the "Union of Soviet artists", as in the existing Russian creative unions, known periods, when "at the helm" was monumentalists or designers. But these situations were and are extremely subjective.

In fairness, we note that just as arbitrary and subjective division were the painters and graphic artists. For example, what painter never wrote watercolors and never picked up a bed?

But the assignment of the painter to the graphs, although meant the impossibility of honour heart of all-Union (and now Russian) exposure, yet there was no equivalent to the precipitation of "art in the narrow sense" is fine.

As we have seen, monumentalists and designers did not lose the right to be called artists and schedules, and, respectively, of "art in the narrow sense" is also not excluded. Sculptors-monumentalists never out "obessolivanija community" and not allocated.

But "applied art" less fortunate of all. They were eternal second-class". It turned out that jewelers, potters, glass artist - not sculptors and miniaturists - not painters. The lush and spreading tree Soviet semiofficial recognition at best shining title of "honored artist" or "the honored worker of arts". People's artist of the USSR, corresponding member, and the more full member of the Academy of arts - these "high" for them were exorbitant. Moreover, for the vast majority of "applied art" virtually eliminated "free floating" (the order of official organizations, minkultovskie purchases from exhibitions etc) - they were forced either to earn a "crafts", or "levachev.

After the collapse of Soviet power formal restrictions of activity of "applied art" is gone, but the stigma of "inferiority" remained. Recently an acquaintance of the artist who has submitted the application for admission in Moscow Union of artists, invited to join in section of DPI only because he had the temerity to bring enrollment Commission no pictures of their easel art works, and printing issued cards with their reproductions. And if in our time was not "alternative" unions of artists, the painter would have stayed "applied arts".

So, where is the a priori "inferiority applied art", and whether it is justified?

It is very likely that the monopolistic domination of the Soviet distribution system, such "second-class" had certain reasons.

"Historically" - from the XVIII to the beginning of the XX century - the Russian jewelers and glass blowers, potters, embroiderers, and other "applied art" were largely used concurrently. The audience could only know the names of the owners of factories and workshops, and almost all masters - let the most talented rarely had the opportunity to demonstrate its author's personality.

For painters and sculptors of the Imperial Academy of arts, rigidly imposing their own style and "rules of the game", lack of personal responsibility is almost never allowed, retaining for the history the names of even many "apprentices". And the vast majority of "ordinary" masters of jewelry, glass and porcelain industry of the Russian Empire irretrievably gone. The unprecedented rise of the author "decorative art USSR" was only in the late fifties of the twentieth century.

And in 1930-1950-s leaders of creative unions and their supervisors from party organs rather sincere (in any case, in accordance with the "Imperial" tradition) has attempted to separate the sheep from the goats" - "the true creators of the" from "podelochnikov.

It then emerged the division of the artists of the "clean and unclean" - "easel" and "applied art". The idea is that "real Soviet painters and sculptors have not found employment at the national crafts and making toys (that are many actually true artists were forced to work as porters and istorikami, now we are not talking). And the stamp "clones" of their works, by painting and sculpture of the industrial stream, the idea is that "real artists" should not have been - but for "applied arts" it seems to be in the order of things...

But this is the idea. And what we saw and see in reality?




We have seen that a large number of painters and graphic artists doing exactly what the stereotypical opinion "applied art" artists "of the second grade" - replicates his portraits, landscapes and even abstract canvases in such quantities that will be envied by any jeweler or a glass blower. Many sculptors, easel, despite a "gentleman's agreement" that the number of copyright castings in the same form should not exceed ten, actually reinforces their work with hundreds - if only to reduce costs. That very many works "easel" art are purely decorative nature: unfortunately, the paintings are very often written for the interior, under the color of baguette or under the taste of the customer (the author of the article in RES, listing the signs of "decorative art", in vain ignored the last factor).

Consequently, the use of art materials such as canvas, oil, watercolor and pastel, does not guarantee the "easel" (according to RES - independent, i.e. "practicable and non-use") the nature of the work.

And many (perhaps even most!) artists who consider themselves painters, graphics and sculptors, according to the stereotyping that "legitimized" RECs, are the most real "applied arts-Dpishniki". Shame? Yes, it's a shame. But today, the definition formulated by DPI.

But in reality, of course, all the most untalented artist, painter, working (or forced to work "on a stream", you still should not be called "applied arts". Just among the painters were, are and will be more or less talented, more or less successful, more or less commercially oriented" - but still it is painters. The same applies to the graphs, and sculptors.

Look at this same problem with the other hand. What today's "unclean applied arts" worse "clean" - painters, graphic artists and sculptors? Absolutely nothing. We see many unique, inspiring, lyrical and expressive, abstract or realistic copyright things that we are artists, jewelers, painters, potters, glass artists, painters, engravers, painters medallist...

By the way, despite the fact that the medal for all formal parameters relate to the DPI, they are equal members of the community sculpture, and with this a long time, nobody argues. So what is the artist-jeweler worse artist medalist?

Yes, the artist-jeweler in most cases it tends to give his works the traditional form of brooches, rings, earrings and other "decorations". But almost any painter "squeezes" the vision of the world in a rectangular canvas and puts on a baguette!

And what those Palekh miniature, which created and create unique works of authorship, not painters? Yes, the "master craftsman" usually work in a very specific style. But certain stylistic features are combined and a lot of artists!

And how many works of jewelry art, ceramics and glass being created outside the traditional "application" form, only as easel?

What then divides the artists of the "easel" and "applied art"? The impossibility of using "easel" works in "applied" purposes?

The theory of the "dysfunction easel art was almost universally accepted even in Soviet times, and now even more. But any canvas you can decorate the interior, - and you can simply wrap the canvas when it is cold. The latter, of course, a joke (God forbid that has been forced to use painting), but the fact that any sculpture of small forms can be used as a paperweight - in any case not a joke. Too often, that way the sculpture and used.

On the other hand, in our time it is not necessary to be a "postmodernist" or "conceptual"to realize any subject of public and private life" (the most prosaic - table, chair, tea etc) can be a piece of art, it is only important that its principal (and preferably inspired) filing as such.

So the creators of the "easel" and "applied art" divides the only tradition associated with the system of relationships within the "Union of Soviet artists".

But now, when the Russian Constitution guarantees freedom of artistic creativity, artificially limit the forms of creativity and try to divide the artists on "pure" and "impure" absolutely illegal.

If a sculptor creates original works of authorship in the forms of jewelry, it does not cease to be a sculptor. You can call it "a sculptor-jeweller"can "sculpture jewelry forms, but above all he is a sculptor, i.e. the Creator who works in three-dimensional forms.

If a sculptor uses as ceramic or glass material and attached to their original works of authorship form of a vase or pot, then he is a sculptor, using as ceramic or glass material. And in any case he will not be "applied arts", even if it could be a vase to put flowers in a kettle to make tea.

And if a painter or graphic lurid as his original works of authorship box or Cup, he is the Creator still working in the same two-dimensional space, as any "easel". According to the basics of analytical geometry, two-dimensional space (plane) may take the form of any complexity - convex, concave, twisted, broken...

By the way, we already spoke about conventional division of creators working in two-dimensional space, the painters and graphic artists. In principle, this division can survive long enough as it is based on preferential use of other art materials. But it is gradually sinking into the past - for example, what to do with those artists who work in acrylic? What is closer acrylic - a gouache or oil?..

It should be noted that at the beginning of the Handbook "Single artistic rating" was the question about creation of various nominations for the painters and graphic artists. And almost immediately had to give it up and introduce a single nomination because the vast majority of artists have proven themselves and in fact, in another capacity, and membership in pictorial or graphic section of any of the Union of artists, of course, for the history of art in principle irrelevant.

But the final and a General flight from the division of artists working in two dimensions, the painters and schedules - the question of the future, though not far away. And from the archaic and humiliating to the original creators of the term "DPI" should refuse now.

And, in principle, the rejection of this term is nothing in our perception of the art world will not change. Part of "applied art" will be sculptors, part - painters and graphic artists, as part... and then it turns out that "applied art" will not artists, but only those masters who did not create and does not create original works of authorship and (or) works of art. It can be armourers, master shkatulochka, glassmakers, master embroiderers, blacksmiths, master casters... should I explain the difference between master-caster and sculptor?

Of course, some confusion creates the concept of "master" - just remember that sublime interpretation, which gave him Mikhail Bulgakov. But in that case when we talk about the artist as a Master of Bulgakov's sense enough to write a great letter. That's how he wrote and Bulgakov.

Not everything is simple and the concepts of "original works of authorship" and "works of art": strictly speaking, they are not identical, the difference may be in the intention, the inspiration, the positioning in a number of other equally nondescript factors. This is a subject for a separate study, much larger than the present.

Thus, it is proposed the following classification of fine art:

- art in two-dimensional space (painting, drawing, photography, book graphics, scenography, miniature, embroidery, mosaic etc);

- art in three-dimensional space (marble, bronze, ceramics, glass, jewelry and medallic art and other);

- art in four-dimensional space, i.e. in a dynamic unity "space-time" (performance, kinetic objects and video installations etc).

Accordingly, the artists can be conventionally divided into those who work mainly in two -, three-dimensional and four-dimensional space. More "subtle" division of predominantly used types of art materials and scale to create works (painters, sculptors of monuments, jewelers, photographers, potters and other) may be of secondary importance, but not more.

And the term "applied arts" can be used to denote the masters, not create original works of authorship (or more precisely: do not create works of art).

The work of these artists can be characterized by such terms as "arts and crafts". In principle, applicable, and the concept of "decorative art", but with an important caveat: the word "art" here is understood in only his third value, the proposed RES ("a high degree of skill mastery in any sphere of activity"). Indeed, there are skilled construction workers, skilled chefs and skilled racers, there are "martial art".




Thus, we are left unresolved question of what to do with the term "decorative art", whose works, according to the EGA, "art form surrounding human material environment and make it aesthetically-shaped top", but, unlike "self-sufficient" easel painting, "the most fully disclose its content in the ensemble, for aesthetic organizations of which they are created?

Yes, to abandon the division of works of art at "fine" and "mounted" more complicated than the "mounted" and "applied". But, apparently, we have to do this. Otherwise, disputes about the "mounted" or "decorative" character is the "Sistine Madonna", can be endless and fruitless, as any opinions here can be extremely subjective.

For example, where better to see "Trinity" by Andrei Rublev? In the dimly lit and smoked, but "native" Cathedral, or still in the Tretyakov gallery, where it is absolutely intact and exhibited according to all the canons of the exposition?

According to the stereotyping that "legitimized" RES, it turns out that the recognition of Rublevskoe masterpiece "decorative" or "easel" work depends on the answer to the question, where the "Trinity" looks better. But actually, probably, it is said: a masterpiece - it is in Africa masterpiece. Moreover, even if clearly indicate that in the Cathedral Rublev's "Trinity" looks better than in the Tretyakov gallery, surely someone dare to call this icon "piece of decorative art"?

Indeed, the "Trinity" because no one calls. But the vast majority of the icons are usually classified in this way.

So, with "decorative art" is just the same as with DPI: in the current practice of art criticism, the term a priori second-class work. Consequently, the "second class" are all kinds of art included in it: the monumental, design and application, with which we began our study.

But few modern art does not agree that the sense of ensemble, the ability to form a single space, the output of the author's concept of the proper scope of works is "aerobatics", and it can not just "easel".

So right there we are here to talk about "class II"? No, and again no. But it is precisely this "inferiority" we dictates modern stereotypical "decorative art".

Of course, we are in any case not going to completely abandon the concept of "decorative" as such. For example, perhaps the primary positioning art as a "decorative", as occurred in Raphael's "Sistine Madonna" or Rublev's "Trinity". We see and widespread use of "easel" things for decorative purposes: a majority of two-dimensional and three-dimensional works of art still is not in the museums, and "public and private life" - in the interiors.

But today, things might be in the interior, tomorrow - in the Museum, and the day after tomorrow - again return to the interior. All these cases are subject to a local assessment and in no case does not involve the classification of reference to such global categories such as easel or decorative art.




Lavrasia in the article "the Rating of artists and philosophical understanding of art", published in the third edition of the book "one art rating", identified the phenomenon of art (outside of political, economic and specifically social feasibility) as the subject-object unity of the artist work. This approach, according to Lavrasia gives everyone the opportunity to display themselves in a situation of "viewer-work."

These definitions will help us move from outdated notions of easel and decorative arts to more modern terminology. After all, "easel" and "decorative" classify artwork in accordance with their location in a particular space - the temple, Museum, hall, bedroom, etc.. So we may say that these terms mean the spatial component of the situation "viewer-work."

From this component depends largely on the perception of the subject-object unity of the "artist work. Indeed, any viewer perceives the product (together with information about the artist), primarily in the surrounding space - Museum, interior, cult, urban development, etc..

Specify: in the space takes the work is not only a spectator. Artist his plan usually covers and "mounted" or "decorative" the character of the creation, i.e. also suggested to him a certain location in space. But this plan is an integral component of the act creating the product and, therefore, included in the subject-object unity of the artist work. And later, the location of the product in the space (for brevity, we denote it as a "place of work") can significantly change - we have already said that today a thing can be in the interior, tomorrow - in the Museum, and the day after tomorrow - again return to the interior.

Seems useful to make one more clarification. Undoubtedly, the value of art is eternal and - in our time to state this fact deep excursions in philosophy is hardly necessary. Yet the perception of any work of art significantly correlated with the tastes and traditions of a particular era, in which the viewer lives. Including the question of reference to the "easel" or "decorative arts" (i.e. motivation for accommodation of a work in a Museum on the square in the temple, in the bedroom and the like).

Thus, if we abandon the concepts of "easel" and "decorative" as the primary qualifiers, we must add to the subject-object unity of the artist-work" component, indicating the audience's perception of the place and time perception works. Place and time of creation of the work included in the first component is an artist, so to distinguish the audience's perception from the act of creation, we will name the time and place of the viewer's perception of the circumstances of time and place.

Thus, an exhaustive theoretical tool for perception, evaluation and classification of a work of art can be subjective-objective unity of the artist-work, perception in the circumstances of place and time.

All the perennial problems of visual perception - "like-dislike", "good-bad" - are determined by the interaction of these primary categories. But in any case, in art is not the place to plagiarism and spiritless replicate only the uniqueness and originality of unity "of the artist work" (is perceived in different circumstances of place and time, but do not change their deep, genuine essence) create a phenomenon that we call art.

All other components of perception, evaluation and classification of works of art (a two-dimensional or three-dimensionality, "decorative" or "easel" primary positioning, decorative Museum or accommodation in this or that age, realistic or abstract style, plastic, color scheme, art materials etc) can play a role only supporting, but not primary.

And there was no division of the creators of the "clean and unclean" - easel and applied arts, realists and abstractionists, traditionalists and conceptualists, monumental and miniature - at this level of understanding should not be. True (not declarative) the equality of all trends and directions in art - one of the greatest achievements of twentieth century art history, and it is time to bring into line with these achievements and basic terminology.



© Sergey Zagraevsky


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