A few of the most famous Russian Christian artists:
19th C: Repin Ivanov Polenov Kramskoy Nesterov Semiradsky
Contemporary: Ryzhenko Glazunov Morgun Afonina
Our top 10 favorites: A purely subjective list of paintings and artists we love.
To see all of the over 100 paintings in this series, click here.
About this series: As we learned about Russia's traditional faith, Russian Orthodox Christianity, we discovered an enormous, mostly forgotten treasure of striking Christian paintings, mostly unknown in the West, starting from approximately the early 1800s, and continuing to this day.
So far we have cataloged over 150 images, and are discovering more all the time. We will gradually be getting them all online. If you know of a painter or sculptor which we can add to the series, please let us know in the form below. You can see the entire list of what we already have online here.
Christ in the Desert, or Christ in the Wilderness is a painting by Russian artist Ivan Kramskoi, reflecting the Fasting of Christ. The painting was completed in 1872. The size of the canvas - 71" x 83"
Link to high resolution image.
The theme of Christ's temptation had attracted Kramskoi already in the early 1860s. In that period he made the first sketch of the composition.The first version of Christ in the Desert is dated to 1867, but turned to be unsuccessful. Kramskoi realized that the choice of vertical format was inappropriate. He opted for the horizontal format and introduced the pallid rocky desert in the background.
Christ in the Desert is one of Kramskoi's Jesus-themed paintings, the other being Rejoice, King of the Jews and Herodias. Kramskoy used primarily cold colors to reflect the chill dawn in the background. The thoughtful figure of Christ, wearing a dark wrap and red tunic underneath is slightly shifted to the right of the center.
Kramskoi wrote: "To the question "this is not Christ, how do you know he looked like that?", I permitted myself to reply "but even the actual, living Christ has not been recognised".The painting emphasizes Jesus' human constituent of hypostatic union and features a mind struggle instead of action. Because the horizon divides the canvas plane almost in half, the figure of Jesus dominates the painting space and harmonizes with stern wilderness simultaneously.
Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi (1837 - 1887) was a Russian painter and art critic. He was an intellectual leader of the Russian democratic art movement in 1860-1880. Kramskoi came from an impoverished petit-bourgeois family. From 1857 to 1863 he studied at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts; he reacted against academic art and was an initiator of the "revolt of fourteen" which ended with the expulsion from the Academy of a group of its graduates, who organized the Artel of Artists
About the Great Russian Christian Art series:
Russia has a wonderfully rich heritage of Christian and Bible-themed painting which reached its zenith in the second half of the 19th century, as part of the realist school. Many of the canvases are enormous, filling an entire wall of a large public hall. Some of them took decades to complete. They are a striking and beautiful testimony to how deeply ingrained Christianity is in Russian history, culture, philosophy, thought, indeed, in her very soul. They are a delight to behold.
As Russia emerges as a leader in the return to traditionalism, this style of painting is again in vogue, and there are also several contemporary Christian painters creating extraordinary canvases. Indeed, Moscow has an excellent art academy dedicated to this style, a topic we covered in the profile of Ilya Glazunov, a leading, recently deceased painter in this genre. See: A Conservative Russian Lion With Real Mass Influence – The Painter Ilya Glazunov
Many of these paintings and artists are hardly known in the West, dismissed by the secular, atheist, globalist modern 'art' vogue. We are delighted to bring you this series, which consists of several dozens of works. You can see all of the works in this series by clicking here.
We think you’ll enjoy them as much as we do.
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