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Dr. Sergey Zagraevsky


From naïve art to art of psychic warmth




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 begin with - small excursion to lay readers in the history of naive art. For the art historian, this tour can be a starting point for reconciliation "with the author.

So, what is naive art? (In Russian tradition - primitivism, I personally prefer the term "naivizm).

In the classic sense is over, formed in the 20-30th years of XX century, and embodies them moral impulse Amateurs (Niko Pirosmani, Henri Rousseau) and beginning professionals (Marc Chagall). In future, the most striking naivisty - Grandma Moses (USA), generalić (Yugoslavia), Maria Primachenko (Ukraine)...

The list can go on, but the overall impression of the canonical naivizma - "painting of pensioners", "moral impulse Amateurs", "children's play of adults.

Naivizm today recognize the art, perhaps, almost all critics, but the attitude is often one of the above.

This is a classic understanding naivizma, and here I stop the search for common starting point with traditional art history and ask the critics questions:

It seems to me that the color and shape of Paul Gauguin (especially Polynesian period) strongly resemble naivizm. And, for example, Alfred Sisley " can I take it to naivizmu? (Answer I already know: no and no! Only to impressionism or post-impressionism).

And Konstantin Somov? (Answer: "World of art").

As Alexander Benois? (The answer is the same, but even more hard-line).

And Maurice Denis? (Answer: to symbolism).

And Edvard Munch? (Answer: to expressionism).

And Tatiana Mavrina? (Answer: to the folk style, to the Russian specifics, and so on).

And Joan Miro? (Answer: to surrealism).

And Nicholas Krymov? (Answer: to realism).

Well, okay. It's tough formed point of view on the school of painting of the twentieth century, and not for me to refute.




Leave naive painting in its "classic" sense and ask the question from an entirely different area:

Why classical Greek art in the middle ages was replaced by icons, Romanesque, and then Gothic style?

Here is this question clear answer except "Came the Huns and all destroyed, and the secrets of Praxiteles were lost", no.

Activate and I dispute what happened to the secrets of the proportions of the Venus de Milo and the Apollo Belvedere.

Contemplate Romanesque and Gothic image. Who do they remind us?

"Classic" naive! The same twisted perspective, bright colors, strange big men... And look at the Rublev's "Trinity" not as a top professional icons, but as a painting nearby, for example, with Madonna by Raphael, or the same Apollo Belvedere, and tell me what it is not naive in the classical sense.

That (forgive me Patriarchate), with Russian icons is not big creatures, not a flat perspective, not incomprehensible given, not applicative bright colors?

It's rather interesting analogy, and it must be analyzed.

Let us recall some of the provisions of all the Gospels, which were based spiritual awareness of the early ideas:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven";

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God";

"Truly I say to You, unless you turn and become like children you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.

So whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven...".

Afraid to go to the style of a theological treatise, but I dare say that the early Christian idea of goodness was formed that way and it was then, when the foundations of the art of the middle ages.

Not like it all said the concept naivizma? For some reason, a spiritual impulse to goodness, regardless of skill level and put it in the fifth and fifteenth and twentieth centuries in a large head, flat, clumsy, applicative man...

Otherwise, if a priori be considered Amateurs nalistov twentieth century compared with the achievements of academic painting, compared to Praxiteles will consider Rublev Bogomazov village, lost two thousand years all the secrets.

Then, indeed, to all the great art of the middle ages would have to say: come to Rome and the Huns were all killed, all that remains, degenerated, and the masters of the Renaissance, great work of art restored. Dominated, by the way, recently in the USSR about this point of view, even in schools taught. But then religion was the opium of the people, the matter was of primary importance, and all very good and logical converged.

Modernity also requires recognition: naivizm is painting, professional, serious and deep. So why is it still treated like a side of art?




Let's try to answer this question,

Since we moved from Rublev to the recent USSR (what is in the culture ten years!), we note the specifics of the relationship to the naivizm in the classic sense: it was as if there was!

Who is Mavrina? (The answer was already).

Who is Yuri Vasnetsov? (Answer: Illustrator).

Who Konashevich? (Answer: Illustrator).

And who in the USSR was the one? Well, maybe "the crazy grandma", and the other (professional) - illustrators, "national fishers", Globocnik etc.

This is, unfortunately, and present attitude towards naivizmu. And if art historians generally lack the breadth of vision to recognize naivizma least as areas having the right to life, for the General public naivisty - not artists. Of course - where naivistam to Salvador Dali! What is the expression of any magnitude, what nightmares - wow! A strange abstractionists - so it's yelling at them Khrushchev! So, if abused, it's good (aphorism coined not by me).

So what, I blame the Soviet power? No, the problem is much wider. And it's not traditional for Russian art lovers pole attitudes and propensity to extremes (if not "social", "sur").

We are all children of the twentieth century. Century, by the way, turning for the first time humanity has acquired the physical ability to destroy itself (nuclear weapons stockpiles have accumulated more than enough). And this is more than enough accumulated ideals of humanism! As the human subconscious to accept this historical paradox?

And Auschwitz and Babi Yar, after Goethe and Schiller? What happens in the subconscious of the German nation to this day, in some bizarre form it's released! I've been to Germany, so say this without reason.

Though why go for example to the Germans in Russia mutual destruction began in 1825 (see the work of V.I. Lenin, in which the Decembrists woke Herzen) and continues with few interruptions to this day. Maybe I dramatize, but in my next yard wholesale market, and occasionally I could hear the sounds very reminiscent of the shots. And that should take place in the subconscious "normal" Russian people, who not only killed, but also continuously Rob (from the "expropriation of expropriators" to GKO pyramid)?

Demand, as is known, gives rise to supply. Clearly, what part of the soul are put in such a situation on canvas by an overwhelming majority of artists of the XX century.

Unfortunately, the loss of good ideas, Christianity, humanity leads not only to the black cloth with erotic fantasies in the spirit of the Marquis de Sade. Not for me to explain what is the source of war, genocide and Auschwitz.

Pros example. Why in order to impart to the boy love to drugs, usually one or two doses? And for the love of the Pushkin takes great effort and many years?

It is true that Jesus Christ spoke about the wide and easy path that leads to destruction, and the narrow and difficult way. And my conclusion from all this, too, probably, not new:

The overwhelming majority of people of the twentieth century easier perceived black, scary painting, written dark colors. And the enormous success of "Guernica" by Pablo Picasso is absolutely natural, not to mention Salvador Dali.

And, of course, it does not fit not only a modest naivisty, but Claude Monet, and Andrei Rublev.




The intelligent people, of course, enough latitude of sight and out, and another, and to assess on a single intuitive scale called "art".

And yet let us contemplate paintings by eyes of the inhabitant of black stinking door, crowded subway, the streets are wet lumps of dirty snow (God grant that no blood stains). What he unconsciously closer?

And now I propose to turn around a hundred and eighty degrees and look at this world and this man, the eyes of the artist.

That I, as an artist, can for this man to do?

I'm afraid of slipping on the position of desire happiness of mankind. What follows from this, we know - we had and the Decembrists, and in 1917, and taking the ideas of communism in the countries of people's democracy in 1956 and 1968, and Afghanistan...

But still, can I have something to do at least one person who came to the exhibition? Opened a magazine or newspaper? Turn on the TV?

You can, if you'll accept for himself as an artist, an iron rule:

The audience is tired from blood, and eroticism and concrete. Each viewer has remained in my heart at least one pure, uncomplicated area, and I can give him that gave not only the "classical" naivisty but Rublev, Claude Monet, and Tatiana Mavrina - a grain of warmth and peace.

So let us, dear artists, distinguished art historians, try to do just that! If you do not like the term "naivizm, extend it to the "art of warmth, and everything will fall into place.

What unites all the artists that I asked at the beginning of the article? To which direction painting they belong? If I say "naivizm, it will be too strongly contradict the traditions of art criticism. Then I say, "warmth". With this you agree?

And if I come back to the question of "degeneration" of ancient Greek art in the middle ages and say that the early Christian concept of good and love was expressed in iconography and the Romanesque style, and is one of the earliest forms of the warmth of art? Would you agree with that?

I would argue also that: but what about chimeras of Notre Dame, and by the way, and miniatures from the fires of the Inquisition?

So, to the "art of warmth" can be attributed not all of the Romanesque style, as not all of the classic naivizm. A very good example - children's drawings. It would seem warmer and lighter nowhere? And you saw that draw children from orphanages and families of alcoholics? There was even a documentary film "I'm afraid to paint my mother. I watched as a child and remembered for the whole life. But one must try to still it was smaller...

By the way, about his childhood. For the vast majority of people memoirs about him is the best source of positive emotions and their expression in the art of warmth. Because, really, when we still see the world without the second, third and tenth plans? Where an adult man to take that same child clean, if not the art of warmth?

Look at the fabric of most of the Impressionists! Need there be some sort of symbolism? And if Renoir start writing dirty colors - you can imagine it?

But Soms with its harlequin? And Benoit with its puppet figures?..

Art warmth really very multifaceted and does not fit in any traditional style, especially in the classic naivizm.

And this is his strength! It brings us something any of us are sorely lacking. So let's fed positive energy from the warmth of art!

Look, the same audience, leaving the art salon, suddenly one day will want to do some regular abomination...

Moscow, 1998.


Sergey Zagraevsky


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