8 June 2011
Study for the Painting "Fair Booths" [Balagany], signed and dated 1917.
Pencil, gouache and watercolour on paper, laid on cardboard, 20 by 26.5 cm.
Authenticity certificate from the expert E. Zhukova
Exhibited: Solo Exhibition, Dom iskusstv, Petrograd, 1920.
Posthumous Exhibition, The State Russian Museum, Leningrad, 1928.
Literature: Boris Kustodiev, Moscow, Sovetskii khudozhnik, 1982, p. 180, no. 436, listed.
The subject of celebrations and festivities was first introduced into the Russian visual arts in the second half of the 19th century. Painted in 1869, Konstantin Makovsky's Shrovetide Festivities in Admiralty Square in St Petersburg was epoch-making for Russian art, giving a new boost to Russian genre painting. As for the artists of the World of Art movement, they saw in the depiction of merry, festive scenes of ordinary people's lives a connection with stage set design. Alexander Benois, Konstantin Somov and Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, with the stylistic freedom and painterliness they had made their own, forged a link between folk festivities and the spellbinding magic of early theatre.
Naturally, this became even more lively and emotional in the work of Boris Kustodiev, whose vivid scenes from the life of now-receding old Russia, both provincial and in the capital, brought to Russian art of the turn of the century a joyful, festive mood. The present work is an exceedingly rare preliminary sketch to the 1917 oil painting Fair Booths, and offers interesting testament to the process of creation of the final version, now in the collection of the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg.
Notes on symbols:
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