Description of the artwork «The mystery of the XX century. 1999»
The impact of “Secrets of the Twentieth century” could compare with the explosion of the atomic bomb. The first version of the painting was finished in 1977, when Soviet art, stained in a stuffy structure lies of socialist realism, it was busy, the melody of praise of Lenin, Khrushchev and the Communist party. Work that demanded enormous efforts, depicts specific images of our apocalyptic world of the twentieth century. What courage and fearlessness it took for those times of totalitarian terror in order to Express this uncompromising truth! In addition, Glazunov refused to attend the long-awaited exhibition of his works, still has not recognized the requirements of the Communist party, the Ministry of culture and Union official Artist, by deleting “the Mystery of the Twentieth century” from the show. The party was prepared to expel him from the Soviet Union, because this was Solzhenitsyn, whom he dared to portray the clothes of the perpetrator. The artist stood up on its end, and the exhibition opened. Only one vote tipped the scales during the voice of the Party, whether to cancel the decision to expel Glazunov out of the country. It was discussed: “Why should we continue to produce dissident after dissident? Let him go to Siberia to work on DECEPTION (Baikal-Amur mainline) and stay there as long as possible”. Photos of the painting were circulating throughout the vast space of the Soviet Union. Many Western journalists published its reproduction with the subtitle: “Painting the Russians will never see.” It was only many years after the advent of Perestroika, thousands of visitors finally saw the painting at the exhibition of the artist in Moscow. On the occasion of his last exhibition of the 20th century Ilya Glazunov has finished work on a new version of the world famous “Secrets of the Twentieth century.” This dictated the need of the artist to grasp on the artistic and philosophical level of the profound significance of the events of the last quarter century, including “Perestroika”, collapse of the USSR, privatization and the rule of democracy in Russia). This, of course, required increasing the size of the painting. Finally, in the newer version the author has painted his portrait on the right (Glazunov celebrated its 70th birthday in 2000).