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Shakespearean heroes of famous graphs of the twentieth century at an exhibition in Kiev

The Kiev Museum of Russian Art hosts the exhibition “U. Shakespeare. English lesson "dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the death of the great English playwright. A small exhibition presents works by outstanding theater artists of the first half of the twentieth century - Benoit, Tyshler, Sapunov, Rudakov and book illustrations of graphs of the Soviet time - Goncharov, Konstantinov and Pikov. In our review, rare graphics. Monotype belongs to the group of flat printing techniques. Unlike other prints, which allow you to make a lot of impressions from one form, here you get only one image (hence the "mono" - "one" - in the title). Most often monotypes are used by illustrators of children's books. It is also popular with psychologists (to ascertain the inner state of a person) and teachers (for the development of imagination in children). Read more Collagraphy - a relatively new type of embossed printing. It was invented in the middle of the 20th century and combines environmental friendliness, ease of execution, richness of textures and plastics, and, moreover, it is well combined with other graphic manners (for example, "dry needle"). The printed matrix is ​​a collage (hence the name combining the words "collage" and "graph") and is created by sticking various materials — fabrics, plastic, sand, plants, and so on — to a wooden or cardboard base using various pastes. Read more In the second half of the 15th century, woodcuts began to crowd out an engraving on metal or intalo. The term is derived from the Italian intagliare, meaning "cut, incline, cut through." Unlike woodcuts, where the protruding portions of the matrix are imprinted on paper, here visible traces are left by grooves containing ink. Therefore, metal engraving belongs to the group of intaglio printing techniques. Read further and curious details about the Shakespearean heroes in the vision of famous artists, told by the curator of the exhibition.All theatrical "Shakespeare" - and this is the work of Tyshler, Benoit, Sapunov and Rudakov - from our collection
DL Sigalov, who was very fond of theatrical art.

“The exhibition presents works created after the eight works of Shakespeare. Among them are such famous plays as “Richard III”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Much Ado About Nothing”, “Macbeth”, “Antonio and Cleopatra” and “The Merchant of Venice” - begins a short tour of the exhibition curated by Natalia E. Ageeva, leading researcher at the Kiev Museum of Russian Art.

Shakespeare and theatrical art

The play “The Venetian Merchant” was almost never staged in the domestic art of the first half of the twentieth century. Its performance at the Bolshoi Drama Theater in 1920 is considered unique. The director and designer of this play was Alexander Benoit.
St. Petersburg is called the Venice of the North, and when, after the revolution and the civil war in a ruined, hungry Petrograd, the audience saw the performance with amazing, luxurious decorations of magnificent Venice - a sharp contrast made a great impression!
Interestingly, this play was staged in Kiev for the first time in 1913 at the Solovtsov Theater. The next time the people of Kiev saw this production in the “Young Theater” only in 2010. It was called "Satisfaction".
A. Benoit "The retinue of the Moroccan prince", 1920. Costume design for the production of William the Merchant by William Shakespeare. Paper, watercolor. The play was rarely staged because of the “national question”, which was always carefully treated. The main character of the play is a Jew, a usurer Shylock. On the sketch of Benoit we see Shylock and his servant. The scenery most likely depicts the island of Giudecca, separated from Venice by the Grand Canal. Since the end of the 12th century, Jews settled on the island, they were allowed to engage in usury and trade. In general, this play raises very pressing, modern and subtle issues. The Venetian merchant Antonio, who borrows money from Shylock, accuses him and at the same time the whole nation of acquisitiveness, and Shylock quite rightly answers: "What is the Jewish Jews worse than Christians, who have legalized slavery?"A. Benoit "Street in Venice". Sketch of the scenery for the tragedy of William Shakespeare "The Merchant of Venice", 1920, paper, ink, pen, watercolor by Nikolay Sapunov "Two drunk in costumes of the XVII century" is not directly connected with the theater. Sapunov was a wonderful theater artist. He joined the theater, while still a student of the Moscow Art School, and participated in the design of all school performances. In the early 1900s, together with Korovin, he worked at the Mamontov operatic enterprise at the Hermitage Theater in Moscow, and later with outstanding directors Meyerhold and Komissarzhevsky. And although Shakespeare was not in the master’s creative biography, Shakespeare inspired him. Sapunov created this easel piece based on the comedy “Much Ado About Nothing,” in which plastic reveals emotions, sensations, moods. Read also: Shakespeare. Top 10 artists who illustrated the English genius: from realism to primitivismN. Sapunov “Two Drunk in Costumes of the 17th Century”, 1900s Based on the W. Shakespeare comedy "Much Ado About Nothing." Paper, gouache 1935 was a significant year for Alexander Tyshler. This year he made two productions of Shakespeare - "King Lear" and "Richard III" - and since then the artist has not parted with Shakespeare.

In 1935, the production of "Richard III" was being prepared at the Bolshoi Drama Theater of Petrograd. Tyshler carefully read the text of the play and "searched" for the image of the main character. The most important thing for him was to “grope” the character of the character. As a result of his search, the artist displays the formula of the character - the murderous philosopher. Tyshler perceived Richard III not an ordinary criminal, hungry for power, but an extraordinarily capable man, but with a minus sign.
The drawing by Tyshler is not just a sketch of the costume, but really the development of the smallest character traits. I look at the drawing, you literally feel the movements of the hero, and the vibrating red tone of the sketch is consonant with the color of blood.
A.Tyshler "Richard III", 1935. Costume design for the tragedy of William Shakespeare "Richard III". Paper, watercolor, ink, gouache

In this production, the role of Richard III as an ordinary theatrical villain was played by the actor Monks. Tyshler dared to come to his dressing room with his drawings: “You misunderstand the main character, look at my sketches - this is the real Richard III”. The monks, the famous actor, was outraged: “What a scoundrel! Not the director, but the artist tells him how to play! ” But the drawings remained hanging in his dressing room: they say the actor changed his attitude to his character. During the Great Patriotic War, artists also continued to work with Shakespearean characters. In 1943, director P.K. Weisbrom decided to stage the comedy “Much Ado About Nothing” at the Bolshoi Drama Theater.
Konstantin Rudakov, one of the brightest graphs of the first half of the 20th century, worked on costumes and decorations.

The artist approached the task in an unconventional way and created not only costumes, but also portraits of the characters of this play. Compositionally, they are very reminiscent of Italian, Spanish and French portraits of the XVI-XVII centuries. Presumably, this figure depicts the positive hero of the play - Antonio, brother of Leonardo, the governor of Messina.
The staging did not take place in besieged Leningrad, and these portraits lead independent lives.

K. Rudakov "Costume Design for William Shakespeare's Comedy" Much Ado About Nothing ", 1943, paper, watercolor, gouache

The works of Shakespeare were illustrated by the pupils of the famous school of Vladimir Favorsky: Mikhail Pikov, Fedor Konstantinov and Andrei Goncharov.

Shakespeare and book illustration

Mikhail Pikov is a versatile gifted artist, he was fond of astronomy, studied music, was very fond of ancient authors, oriental writers. He knew the ancient world perfectly, so it was not by chance that, turning to the works of Shakespeare, he chose the tragedy “Antonio and Cleopatra”.M.Pikov “Illustration to the tragedy of William Shakespeare“ Anthony and Cleopatra ”, 1943 In the 19th century, many people did not like this Shakespeare play much, and the plot was told not without irony.

The son of Victor Hugo did it in two words: they say, this is a story about a mota who fell in love with a courtesan, squandered his whole fortune and decided to marry a rich man. No sooner had the wedding ceremony ended, he returned to the courtesan to squander his fortune again. Wife could not stand it - turned to his brother, he called him to a duel, the mot died, and the courtesan also decided to commit suicide.
Bernard Shaw also did not really appreciate this play and wrote his wonderful version of “Antonio and Cleopatra”.

M. Pikov “Portrait Portrait is a realistic genre depicting a person or a group of people existing in reality. The portrait - in the French reading - portrait, from the old French portraire - "reproduce something line in line." Another facet of the name of the portrait lies in the outdated word "parsuna" - from the Latin. persona - "person; person". Read more of W. Shakespeare. Frontispiece to the book of W. Shakespeare "Antonio and Cleopatra", 1943 Despite this ambiguous perception of this work, Cleopatra is one of the brightest images in "Shakespeare". Pikov's illustrations, made in the technique of woodcuts, are distinguished by a verified, very dynamic and light touch. They fit perfectly on the page. High skill and excellent knowledge of antiquity helped the artist to create a magnificent series of engravings.M.Pikov "Illustration to the tragedy of William Shakespeare" Anthony and Cleopatra ", 1943

Fyodor Konstantinov (1910 - 1997) created his famous illustrations for Romeo and Juliet in 1943 in the Moscow region. Almost half starve, he promptly completed work on a cycle of engravings. For these works, he was presented to the State Prize, but the prize was not given to him, they said "too young."
Romeo and Juliet, one of Shakespeare's favorite plays, attracted the artist's romantic nature. Contemporaries Konstantinov said that the artist and the main character are in many ways similar - they are both honest, open, and loving justice.
F. Konstantinov “Duel (Romeo and Tybalt)”, 1943. Illustration to the tragedy of W. Shakespeare "Romeo and Juliet", paper, woodcut

Read about contemporary illustrations for the play in our publication Interviews with Vladislav Yerko about the new book - Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare's plays are still relevant and modern, because human nature remains unchanged. Visit the exhibition and feel the atmosphere of Shakespearean passions can be up to November 20, 2016.