Sirak Skitnik’s Petersburg Cover Image
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Сирак Скитник и неговият Петербург
Sirak Skitnik’s Petersburg

Author(s): Ruzha Marinska
Subject(s): Cultural history
Published by: Институт за изследване на изкуствата, Българска академия на науките

Summary/Abstract: The article deals with the influence of Russian school of art on Sirak Skitnik’s work and personality focusing on his studies in St Petersburg (1908–1912) and holding the belief that those years proved to generally shape his views on art. An attempt is made for the first time to recreate the ambience of the Russian capital of the early twentieth century as possibly seen by the Bulgarian artists. For want of enough documental ground, occasional memoirs about E. Zvantseva School under Mstislav Dobuzhinsky and Léon Bakst and publications in Russian literary and art Apollon journal are used to give an idea of Sirak Skitnik’s presence in that cultural field. Attention is devoted to his teachers, Léon Bakst, Mstislav Dobuzhinsky and Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin and their influence in terms of their views of art without exaggerating their particular pedagogical role. The principles of Zvantseva School and the guidelines for young artists taught at the school – towards vivid perception of nature, towards developing sensitiveness to colours, forms, lines – are commented more thoroughly for the first time. Piqued interest in children’s drawings, folk toys, shop signage, in all ‘vulgar’ phenomena of art so typical of Russian and European avant-garde is stressed upon. Special attention is devoted to the issue of Apollon journal and Mir Iskusstva (World of Art) art movement, about which a lot of discrepancies and errors occur in the available sources. Instead of literally tying Sirak Skitnik down to those, the idea of the cultural context these have created and its general effect on the Bulgarian painter is proposed. Information of the bustling artistic life in that period and especially, in the then Russian capital, St Petersburg is given; of the exhibitions mounted by various avant-garde movements as well as of the presence of French and European modernism there. The article develops the idea of an overall effect on Sirak Skitnik of Russian social and cultural environment rather than of certain stylistic influences. His vocal public position, his active role as a cultural figure, as an art and drama reviewer and head of Bulgarian Radio following his return to Bulgaria are also interpreted in this regard.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 3-9
  • Page Count: 7
  • Language: Bulgarian