Group portrait of the artists of the World of Art by Boris Kustodiev

Group portrait of the artists of the World of Art by Boris Kustodiev

I. E. Grabar, N. K. Roerich, E. E. Lancere, B. M. Kustodiev, I. Ya. Bilibin, A. P. Ostroumova-Lebedeva, A. N. Benois, G. I. Narbut, K. S. Petrov-Vodkin, N. D. Milioti, K. A. Somov, M. V. Dobuzhinsky.

This portrait was commissioned by Kustodiev for the Tretyakov Gallery. The artist did not dare to write it for a long time, feeling a high responsibility. But in the end he agreed and began to work.

Long wondered who and how to plant, imagine. He wanted not only to plant in a row, like in a photo, but to show each artist as a Person, with his character, features, to emphasize his talent.

Twelve people had to be portrayed during the discussion. Oh, these withering controversies of the “wizards”! Verbal disputes, and more picturesque – line, paints…

Here is Bilibin, an old fellow at the Academy of Arts. Balagur and a merry fellow, a connoisseur of ditties and old songs, who, despite his stuttering, is able to pronounce the longest and most amusing toasts. Therefore, he stands here as a master of ceremonies, with a glass lifted by an elegant movement of his hand. The Byzantine beard threw up, eyebrows raised in bewilderment.

What was the conversation at the table? It seems that gingerbreads were served on the table, and Benoit discovered the letters “I. B.” on them.

Benoit smiled to Bilibin: “Admit it, Ivan Yakovlevich, what are your initials. Have you made a drawing for bakers? Do you earn capital?” Bilibin laughed and jokingly began to rant about the history of the creation of gingerbread in Russia.

But to the left of Bilibin sit Lancere and Roerich. Everyone is arguing, but Roerich thinks, does not think, but thinks exactly. An archaeologist, historian, philosopher, enlightener with the makings of a prophet, a cautious person with the manners of a diplomat, he does not like to talk about himself, about his art. But his painting says so much that there is already a whole group of interpreters of his work, which finds in his painting elements of the sacrament, magic, and foresight. Roerich was elected chairman of the newly organized society “World of Art”.

The wall is green. On the left is a bookcase and a bust of the Roman emperor. Tiled yellow and white stove. Everything is the same as in the house of Dobuzhinsky, where the first meeting of the founders of the “World of Art” took place.

In the center of the group – Benoit, critic and theorist, indisputable authority. With Benoit at Kustodiev complex relationship. Benoit is a great artist. His favorite themes are life at the court of Louis XV and Catherine II, Versailles, fountains, palace interiors.

On the one hand, Benoit liked the pictures of Kustodiev, but he condemned that there was nothing European in them.

On the right – Somov Konstantin Andreevich, a figure imperturbable and balanced. His portrait was written easily. Maybe because he resembled the custodian’s Kustodiev? Russian types of the artist always succeeded. A starched collar turns white, the cuffs of a fashionable shirt flecked, a black suit is pressed, full sleek hands are folded on the table. On the face, an expression of imperturbability, contentment…

The owner of the house is an old friend Dobuzhinsky. How many were experienced with him in Petersburg! .. How many different memories! ..

Dobuzhinsky pose, it seems, successfully expresses disagreement with something.

But abruptly pushed the chair and turned Petrov-Vodkin. He is diagonally from Bilibin. Petrov-Vodkin broke into the artistic world noisily and bravely, which some artists did not like, for example, Repin, they have a completely different view of art, a different vision.

On the left is a clear profile of Igor Emmanuilovich Grabar. Chunky, with a not very folding figure, shaved square head, he is full of lively interest in everything that happens…

And here he is, Kustodiev himself. He depicted himself from the back, into a semi-profile. Ostroumova-Lebedeva sitting next to him is a new member of the society. An energetic woman with a male character is talking to Petrov-Vodkin…

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