Petr Petrovich Konchalovsky • Painting, 1910, 59.3×73.3 cm
About the artwork
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Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Genre scene, Animalism
Style of art: Expressionism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1910
Size: 59.3×73.3 cm
Artwork in collection: Smart and Beautiful Natalya Kandaurova
Artwork in selections: 14 selections

Description of the artwork «Bullfight»

"Bullfight" written explanation of the Spanish experience. In Spain he traveled in 1910-ies, along with his father Vasily Surikov. This trip was crucial for his formation as an artist, in it he found his way. The paradox is that the "liberators", as he called them, in this new way were the French – Cezanne, Matisse. But the first full-fledged original work of the artist is the image of Spanish bullfighting, which are difficult to compare with any work of Europeans.

Konchalovsky during a trip to Spain wrote many sketches for this painting. The final version differs significantly from them. Moreover, the artist was removed from the picture exactly what it is especially geared to reality: "I was struck by the bright colours: yellow sand, blue sky and perfectly emerald shadows".

Indeed, one of the preliminary versions of the painting, "Bullfight in Seville" demonstrates a piercingly blue sky, its intense contrast with the sandy arena, green grass and filled the bleachers. From the picture emanates a feeling of thick, dense energy, it radiates heat, excites and fascinates (and another sketch). But all of that ruthlessly removed from the final version. Konchalovsky said that he wants to bring his "bullfight" to the trade fair style that the bulls have received such cheap popular bears – big, strong, wild. They were terrible, but they are not scary. "Remember these Trinity of toy-makers of Troitsk which his whole life was cutting wood some toy bear with a man? With what simplicity and force they transfer the essence of an animal and the person, using the most elementary means, reducing all to the two or three most characteristic details. So "macho", "toy" and wanted me to give the bull during the fight"– he explained. Reminiscences of folk art – generally one of the most beloved neoprimitivistic techniques.

It had been introduced in the amendments Konchalovsky achieves this style of yarmarochniy, effect toys. Space as close to the audience and withdrew. Can not see any of the stands or the sky. Before us like a brightly painted box with the characters: crimson arena, scarlet cloth, a black bull with stiff white eye, white stripe on the fencing arena, do not overlap with other elements of the colors of the toreadors. There is no movement, is cast, the moment without the "before" and "after" contrary to the logic of the plot, which, in theory, tells about the movement. A similar technique uses Mikhail Larionov in the picture "Soldier on horseback".
At Konchalovsky managed to make a "bullfight" as he had planned. We know that the bull is terrible that the scene is dangerous. Moreover, bullfighting goes beyond bullfighting becomes a fight to the death, gaining archetypal greatness. But what is surprising is the knowledge that it's scary, not arousing fear. For the same reason that we are not afraid of toy fair bear, or which shows in the upper part of Chagall's paintings "I and my village" the inverted woman and scolding her a black man with a scythe – not terrible. It's just part of the cycle of life, closely intertwined with death.

Author: Alain Esaulova