John E. Bowlt

  • Henry Elinson

    In 1911 Vasilii Kandinsky wrote in his essay “On the Spiritual in Art”: “At the moment we are tied too closely to external nature. . . . The spectator is too accustomed to searching for the ‘meaning’, i.e., for the outer interdependence of the pictorial parts.” Surrounded by the works of Kandinsky and Malevich, Mondrian and Pollock, we tend to disregard the many problems that accompany any artist on his journey into the “white, free depths” (to quote Malevich). To create in a nonfigurative manner requires a totally new set of criteria, and the artist is forced to rely on concepts such as texture,

  • Symbolism and Modernity in Russia

    ONE OF THE VITAL but less obvious stimuli to the evolution of the Russian avant-garde and of its various interpretations of non-objective art came from the influence of the Symbolist movement. During the time of Symbolism in Russia—the so-called Silver Age (c. 1895–1910)—artists, writers and musicians gave unprecedented attention to the theory of artistic meaning and form. Suffice it to mention some of the names and institutions identifiable with the Silver Age to realize the extent and potential of its achievement: Sergei Diaghilev and the St. Petersburg World of Art group; the Moscow Blue Rose