Viktor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov

Viktor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov - elements of an icon...

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Viktor Mikhailovich Vasnetsov: The Mother of God with the Infant Christ (1880-90s) Mural in the apse of the Cathedral of St. Vladimir, Kiev. Vasnetsov's The Mother of God with the Infant Christ is an intriguing work of the artist and a representative sample of the developing 19th century Russian art. Although since Peter the Great's time Russia had been heavily influenced by the West, a graceful synthesis of iconographic traditions and modern technique had not been achieved until Vasnetsov. This is perhaps nowhere more evident than in this painting; its careful examination will reveal both Vasnetsov's individual style and the techniques he uses to fuse two seemingly diverse ideas. First, it should be noted that this painting follows the basic compositional
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Unformatted text preview: elements of an icon representing the Virgin and child (i.e. the Virgin heavily draped in clothing, Jesus swaddled in white cloth, the halos, and the angels flying around). Compared with earlier icons, however, this representation is much more life-like. The picture is clearly three-dimensional in perspective and maintains a high level of fidelity to 'realistic' detail (folds and highlight / shadow areas of clothing). The slightly eerie-looking angels are also very life-like, and give the impression that somewhere in this world they do indeed exist. The movement apparent both in the angels and the child , though not unknown in earlier Russian icons, reaches a new high here and may reflect the influence of the European baroque painting....
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