New planet

Konstantin Yuon • Painting, 1921, 71×101 cm
About the artwork
This artwork was added since it is referred to in the materials below
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Landscape, Genre scene, Fantasy
Style of art: Avant-garde
Technique: Tempera
Materials: Cardboard
Date of creation: 1921
Size: 71×101 cm
Artwork in selections: 58 selections

Description of the artwork «New planet»

Konstantin Yuon's "A new planet" painting was a by-product of the artist's work on a curtain for the Bolshoi theatre. Such image appeared to be inappropriate for the curtain of the main theatre of the country, and Yuon made an easel painting from his sketches. Soviet art history has interpreted it as a monumental depiction of the birth of a new country akin to the creation of a new planet. However, if you look almost a hundred years after, it may seem the image of a cosmic catastrophe, not the glorification of the new planet. In any case, this looks like a cataclysm of the universal scale.

Yuon symbolically depicted the 1917 October revolution. Scarlet (bloody?) planet seems to give off its heat to the viewers. And what the participants have! On the right we can see the figures who are looking at the red planet (with excitement? with fear? or with horror...), some of them are fallen (dead?), some of them rushed in the opposite direction as they are running away. The group of people to the left seems to be trying to protect themselves from the blazing ball and to reach the "old" world. All the figures are shown naked or in animal skins, which gives the painting the grandeur of a myth, the sense of primeval creation. On the left, one can notice two armed men, who are pulling away a naked man. It is time to remember another strange work of Yuon,  "The People" where it is easy to recognize the contours of the Solovki special purpose camp. Aren't they pulling him right there?

You can interpret the "New planet" in different ways. Yuon, most likely, was not quite aware how he treated the Soviet reality in general, and specifically the role of the October revolution. But he surely realised that it was the large-scale metamorphosis.

Alyona Yesaulova