Undeniably - the battle against social and economic...

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Undeniably, the Wanderers played an extremely important role in the development of Russian art, especially before the end of the nineteenth century. They contributed greatly to the victory of realist painting over the stilted neo- classicism and expanded dramatically the boundaries of painting -- abandoning formal portraiture and mythological subjects and focusing attention on genre painting, landscape, and historical compositions based on events from Russia's history. Since almost every important painter of the late 19th century was, at least for some time, a member of the Society, disregarding its importance would be unjustified. The Wanderers also affected the Academy of Art -- with their accomplishments and popularity came teaching positions and professorships at the Academy. Many members of the Society joined the organization because they firmly believed that all Russia, not only the elite, needed their art; that their paintings would be a weapon in
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Unformatted text preview: the battle against social and economic injustices. Thus, initially, the Society was a progressive phenomenon. However, the truly great artists could not subscribe to the ideas of the Society for long; they continued to search for new means of expression, new style, and new ideas. When the Wanderers' ideology, officially adopted by the Academy, began to stifle originality and ostracize the innovators and experimentators, the inevitable reaction occurred. The arrival of modernism in Russia at the end of the 19th century led to a profound shift from the ideological and critical realism of the Wanderers to the decorativeness, richness, and symbolism of the World of Art and, very soon afterwards, to the non-objective experiments of the Russian avant-garde. Not surprisingly, the Wanderer ideology and style found their greatest defenders and admirers in the Soviet authorities and their uninspired continuation in the works of sot realists...
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