- ISBN 9780500514337
- 23.70 x 16.50 cm
- 650 Illustrations, 400 in colour
- First published 2008
‘An authoritative feast … a superbly chosen and reproduced selection of poignant, evocative archive photographs of long-disappeared people, places, events, streetscapes and interiors, and a dazzling array of drawings, designs and paintings’ – The Irish Times
‘Cogent and well-paced … the array of eye-catching illustrations intertwined with the text articulate Bowlt’s vast, brilliantly illuminated canvas and give the reader a thread to follow’ – Slavonic and East European Review
The twilight of Imperial Russia witnessed a sudden renaissance of the visual, literary and performing arts: here was a Silver Age as luminous perhaps as the Golden Age of Russian literature many decades before.
Much of this new flowering was indebted to the set of ideas known as Symbolism, which flourished in Russia. The Russian Symbolists lived and created on the edge, which often made them to be named 'Decadent' or 'Degenerate'. Yet, as Sergei Diaghilev declared, theirs was not a moral or artistic decline, but a voyage of inner discovery and a refurbishing of a national culture.
A dazzling array of artists, writers, composers, actors, singers, dancers and designers are presented here in context, including Tolstoy, Pasternak, Gorky, Akhmatova, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninov, Nijinsky, Scriabin, Karsavina, Meyerhold, Chaliapin, Stanislavsky, Diaghilev, Roerich, Repin, Serov, Somov, Vrubel, Bakst, Kandinsky, Malevich, Mayakovsky and many more.
The book includes a rich repertoire of artworks and vintage documentary photographs, many of which have not been published before. With a clear narrative and comprehensive bibliography, this volume will appeal both to the specialist and to the general student of Russian history and culture.
John E. Bowlt is a specialist in Russian art history of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and has published more than thirty books on Symbolism, the avant-garde and Socialist Realism. He is currently a professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Southern California.