– Añada 2018 –

Arkady Plastov
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.

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Añada 2018

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