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(1889) [MARC] Author: Georg Brandes Translator: Samuel Coffin Eastman - Tema: Russia
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The unwearied study of Ivánof, prompted by true
genius, is the only great protest against the academic
art under Nicholas. The Tsar, who would be autocrat
over all things and all men in his empire, and who to the
best of his ability influenced poetry and poets also, —
it was he who made Pushkin busy himself with the
history of Russia, — also desired to have a noble and
conservative art, partly in a general way as an ornament
to his reign, and partly to solve the problem of
glorifying his own exploits. He succeeded only in destroying
the courage of independent men of talent, and nipping
them in the bud.

It is only in the last twenty-five years that there has
existed a real Russian school of painting, and that the
Russian lovers of art no longer go to foreign countries
when they wish to adorn their walls. It was when, with
the emancipation of the serfs, which liberated about fifty
millions of men, the great blast of freedom spread over
Russia, that the artists set to work, and on their
canvases — frequently of the greatest possible dimensions
— placed important incidents from their national life,
very much as the authors at the same time began to write
novels in four volumes about society in Russia. And
now it became quite the fashion to be interested in
Russian art, as it recently had been the fashion to do
homage to everything foreign. The artists made good
sales, and, among their customers sometimes found a
Mæcenas like Tretiakof, who alone has founded a
collection of Russian paintings which is many times greater
and very much better than that of the Hermitage.

A relationship is now disclosed between the course of
development of literature and art. Both move with the
same force and speed from an aristocratic romanticism
to a kind of realistic representation of the people. In

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