Botanic Lesson (1938 – 1939)
Arkady Plastov (1893 – 1972), the son of an icon painter from the village of Prislonikha, Simbirsk province, was not just one of the most popular Soviet painters. People’s Artist of the USSR, winner of the Stalin and Lenin Prizes, Plastov rightfully belonged to the Soviet creative elite, which shaped the visual image of the Soviet Union in the public consciousness both at home and abroad. The country’s printing pressed churned out millions of reproductions of his paintings on postcards, in magazines and school textbooks.
As cut-outs from the popular Ogonyok Magazine, they adorned the walls of millions of Soviet apartments. The people’s love for Plastov’s works was unadulterated and sincere: in his paintings, the beauty of Russian nature and the life of the peasants of his native village Prislonikha, where the artist constantly worked, were devoid of any officialism. Which, incidentally, provoked criticism from Soviet art critics, who reproached the artist for his “blank genre” with no depicted events to speak of.
The collection of the Art Russe Foundation includes Botanic Lesson (1938 – 1939, oil on canvas, 150×180), a painting by Arkady Plastov selected for the label of one of the bottles of Chateau La Grace Dieu des Prieurs, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2018 by Art Russe. The canvas depicts a practical school lesson familiar to many from childhood: a summer forest drenched in sunlight, a young teacher and schoolchildren listening to her. The serenity of this summer day easily resembles the works of Claude Monet, while the teacher’s scarlet umbrella is a lovely echo of the ladies’ hats in Pierre Auguste Renoir’s paintings… Arkady Plastov, a canonical representative of socialist realism, trained at the Imperial Stroganov School and at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, was well acquainted with the work of the French Impressionists and, like them, felt and strove to express the beauty and joy of life in his works.
90% Merlot – 10% Cabernet Franc
Soil type: Sand & Clay
Harvesting: 100% manual
Vinification methods: Soft, slow maceration and fermentation pumping over Malolactic fermentation in barrels
Aging: 20 months – 100% New Radoux Super Fine Blend
Cultural practices: Reasoned viticulture (lutte raisonnée), Manual vineyard work, Mechanical weed control
The nose is striking, certainly distinctive, with grilled blackberry, blueberry and black olive; quite spicy and exotic with notes of turmeric, crushed cardamom, cloves and and fennel seeds.
On the palette has red and blue fruits: wild strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and red cherries.
A very polished style, with more grippy tannins than in other vintages. Texturally feels restrained and sinewy rather than fat, while the finish is all pepper and tannin. Very dynamic and energetic.