Filipp Andreevich Malyavin • Painting, 1899, 194×428 cm
About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Genre scene
Style of art: Impressionism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1899
Size: 194×428 cm
Artwork in selections: 30 selections

Description of the artwork «Laughter»

Epic picture of Malyavina "Laughter" a spectacular illustration of the classic story "there is no prophet in his own country." Written for the exhibition at the Academy of fine arts of St. Petersburg, she raised a genuine storm of emotions (mostly anger) from respected public. But, once at the request Repin together with other exhibits of the Russian delegation at the Paris world exhibition in 1900, the work to nobody known young artist from Samara province became a sensation and received the highest award – a gold medal.

Out of the mud...

Malyavin came to writing the diploma project, which was to confirm his right to the title of the artist. The proof is a number of preliminary sketches, where he experiments with composition, application of paint and palette (1, 2). The end result threw the esteemed members of the Council of the Academy in shock: flashy paint, sloppy broad brush, unpainted fragments and the lack of plot was too much boldness for them.

Only thanks to the personal patronage of Repin and other masters managed to see the artistic talent in bold "meaningless" experiment, conservative teachers relented and still Malyavin was awarded the title for past services – decent, not transgress the boundaries of portrait work.

The idea of the extraordinary incident helps to make the correspondence artist Nesterov: "It is a huge, shesterkina painting untitled, or, as it is dubbed, "the Laughing woman", called and calls a passionate, violent, full of indignation, delight disputes. Its only after a huge scandal among the Council of the Academy worthy of the “title”, depriving foreign travel. Repin, mate and Cats rescued that pitiful "title" threat of immediate withdrawal from the Academy, causing a terrible storm – even foolishness. (Professor Pomerantsev requested these intercessors to remain – “on my knees”). Generally all nerves to the last degree, done a lot of stupid things".

Preserved the memory of the historical episode and one of its direct participants – the Repin: "Regarding academic editions of now we had a violent battle for Malyavina. This indomitable, brilliant talent completely blinded to our academics. The Oldies lost the last crumbs of view, and with it the last remnants of its credibility among young people. Old story. The routine triumph of your misery"– tells it in a wonderful ironic manner.

...To riches

Whether business abroad. At the beginning of the 20th century, there already impossible to surprise anyone no sweeping stroke or pass of the paint layer, or even more flashy expression, or a riot of colors. The European audience was subdued exotic flavor of the Russian hinterland, and besides, presented in avant-garde, about as far from academic realism style.

Rather unconsciously, but Malyavin managed to write "Laugh" at the intersection of styles that added work points for innovation and fresh, not bound by the boundaries of encyclopedic approach. Is it binge and emotional expressionism, and conventionally drawn landscape background with cut cow's head – the favorite methods of the Impressionists.

Yes, and "messagetest", which reproached Malyavina of the Petersburg academicians, for a Western audience was probably more advantageous, allowing to produce to the forefront raw, alive, chthonic energy of the mighty Russian virgins, which they are equally as much to upheavals in the field from morning till night, and laugh without restraint.

The day after the world exhibition in Paris, the local press has exploded with news of "the strength of the temperament of the young artist from Russia". Benoit justify such a reaction of the French to the "Laughter" that "truly you cannot find in our Department a more "world-exhibition" and "Parisian" things than this spectacular picture".

Received an ovation contagious laughing malevinskiy women in Germany, the exhibition of the Berlin secession. And in 1901, the painting went to Venice for the international exhibition of arts. From there, the work was not released: it was bought by Venetian Museum of modern art, where it resides to this day.

Author: Natalia Azarenka