- Project Runeberg -  Impressions of Russia /
166

(1889) [MARC] Author: Georg Brandes Translator: Samuel Coffin Eastman - Tema: Russia
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is the correct representation of things and the
picturesque splendor of fabrics.

Endowed with less dramatic power than he, but otherwise
akin to him, is the Russian Makovski, an artist
very pleasing as a colorist, but of little psychological
power. He exhibited in 1887, in St. Petersburg, a great
painting, bought by an American: “Tsar Alexis Choosing
a Bride.” The subject had a patriotic interest, in so far
as this bride who was sought for was the mother of
Peter the Great. Besides this the artist has availed
himself of the opportunity of painting a throng of beautiful
young girls in the costume of the period. Strangely
enough, he seems to have used one and the same model
— his pretty wife — for all the young women among
whom Alexis shall make his choice. The whole does
not perceptibly rise above simple costume art. Neither
can his later picture, “The Death of Ivan the Terrible,”
which has been much talked of, be regarded as much
superior to that style of art. In two of the figures there
is expression: in the frightened fool, who is lying at the
feet of the Tsar, and in the white-haired Russian
dignitary, with a white beard, who, with eyes as if fixed with
fear, looks over the game of chess at the drooping man;
the other spectators assume theatrical attitudes.

A unique position has also been achieved in the latest
Russian art by Verestchagin, just as well known — in
Denmark also — for his extraordinary natural gifts and
for his abuse of his talents. His biography has found
its way into our literature, and a large number of his
paintings have been seen in Copenhagen. In connection
with this fact, it ought to be mentioned that only too
large a number of the paintings which have been seen
here were duplicates, which are far inferior to
Verestchagin’s originals. When he chooses he is able to do

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