à la Russe, or We are all a bit radiant
Radiant art: where from and where to"We do not declare any fight, since where can we find an equal opponent?! The future is ours," Mikhail Larionov, the founder of Rayonism, explained the situation in the painting arena. Modesty was not the long suit of the creators of the fourth dimension of painting, the rayonnant energetic one. And rightly so, they had other advantages.
Mikhail Vrubel. The Swan Princess, 1900.
Another interesting version of the origins of Rayonism is offered by the artist Pavel Mansurov, who knew Larionov well. He recommends looking for the first shoots of future Rayonism in Vrubel. In his youth, Larionov is known to have worked under his leadership for some time. Of course, we won’t find direct quotes from Vrubel in Rayonism, but some echoes are quite possible.
Rayonism among other Avant-garde is how modern art critics refer the general trend of new artistic directions that arose in world art at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. A very thin line separates it from the concept of “modernism”. Read more
movementsIn Russia, the beginning of the last century was generous with experiments in the field of art. Let’s try to figure out how Rayonism differs from other -isms of those years.
Rayonism still starts from objects, but it repels them. The surrounding reality is only an excuse for crossing the rays, which are the object of interest for the Rayonist artist. Not only objects, but also our feelings, impressions, sensations and ourselves, everything is displayed in the form of rays, according to Larionov. He dreamed that someday even a device would be created that would make it possible to assess how strong is the love of those who love each other…
The so-called "realistic Rayonism" is considered an individual section, in which the object serves as a foothold.
Larionov’s Radiant Lines (above) is a pure abstraction, whereas the radiant portrait of Larionov by Natalia Goncharova (left) is based on a very definite object.
Rayonism is an image of the rays felt by the artist. This is where we move even further from the so-called "objective reality", because it is not about painting rays instead of an object, there is even no excuse for "radiant objectivity"! These are the rays seen by the artist, that is, the artist’s impressions. This allowed Mayakovsky to define Rayonism as a Cubist version of Impressionism. In other words, Rayonism is the artist’s impression of reality, expressed through the rays he depicts.
Radiant paintings get under the skin with this particular feature — the combination of the structure inherent in Cubism, and the whirlpool of sensations, impressions that come from
- Pablo Picasso. SeatedThe nude is the genre focused on the aesthetic aspect of the naked human body. The term traces its origin to the Latin nudus (“naked, bare”) and is cognate with the French nudité (“nudity”). Read more
- Mikhaïl Le Dentu. Portrait of a Woman
At that, it should be noted that the radiant works by Natalia Goncharova, Larionov’s wife and like-minded person, are more diverse in terms of form, her rays are not always rays, they can create rounded arcs, bend, bring depth and volume to the canvas.
The postulates fixed by the Rayonists were immediately designated as continuously changing and fluid. Larionov in particular and the theory of Rayonism in general denied such a phenomenon as objectively existing ideals. Pictures glide, beams are reflected, everything changes every minute. It was their attitude not only towards their own creations, but also towards art in general. Larionov stated: "There is no eternal beauty. If you show Raphael’s Madonna to some African native, he will make boots out of it, because it is well oiled."
Rayonist exhibitionsThe formal age of Rayonism was short. After the Larionov’s painting of 1909, the Target exhibition organized by the Donkey’s Tail* society in 1913 included radiant paintings. The exhibition displayed works (created in different styles) by Natalia Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov, Mikhaïl Le Dentu and Kazimir Malevich, Marc Chagall and Alexandr Shevchenko.
It was followed by an exhibition of 1914 under the self-explanatory title "No. 4 — Futurists, Rayonists, Primitives". Actually, it was the last official event of the Rayonists.
However, in the same year, in the Paris gallery of Paul Guillaume, Goncharova and Larionov exhibited their "radiant" works among others. This was the official end of Rayonism. Was it really?
Larionov, Goncharova, Tatlin, Malevich, Le Dentu and some other artists left the Jack of Diamonds group in 1910 and organized their own movement, with even more trenchant name, Donkey’s Tail. The first exhibition of Donkey’s Tail took place in 1912. The "tails" did not want to follow the West, but chose the East as their reference point; moreover, more that of Russia than mysterious Asia. At the Target exhibition, Donkey’s Tail proclaimed Rayonism the pinnacle of painting. However, the group disintegrated soon after the exhibition. In addition to the presentation of Rayonism, the "tails" discovered to the world the Georgian self-taught primitivist Niko Pirosmani. Target was his only lifetime exhibition.
Raised by Larionov’s rayIf we admit that Larionov’s rays became the springboard that allowed future Russian abstractionists to break away from the surrounding reality, to go beyond space and time, then it turns out that Rayonism is an inexhaustible source for the emergence of new styles and trends, new names and new idols.
Perhaps the meaning of any article on art is not to give all the answers, but to leave viewer eventually alone with the picture, throwing away the knowledge gained, and let him feel that everything could be different. Therefore, having declared Larionov the source of Russian abstractionism, in the end we will unexpectedly present an alternative, non-standard vision. The researcher Nikolai Punin believed that both Kandinsky's theorized visionaries and the fundamental pointlessness of Malevich's Suprematism were deeply alien to Larionov. Proceeding from this, Punin believes that the creation of Rayonism, non-objective, but infinitely connected with nature, with life, became an act of opposing the rationalized non-objectiveness of Cubism and Suprematism and "was the fruit of very subtle realistic comparisons".
You are a layman if: you consider Rayonism to be images on X-ray films or samples of vector computer graphics.
What a story! In 2008, the rays from the Flowers still life by Natalia Goncharova turned into rays of glory: at the London Christie’s auction, the painting was sold for $ 10.9 million, making Goncharova the most expensive artist at that moment.
Title picture — Natalia Goncharova, Green Forest. This canvas seems to laugh at our attempts to understand what Rayonism is, and is both a pure abstraction and the green forest declared in the title.
Author: Aliona Esaulova