‘Where Moscow’ writes about the attachment of the Russian painter Nikolai Kuzmin to the old Moscow 
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'Where Moscow' writes about the attachment of the Russian painter Nikolai Kuzmin to the old Moscow.

 

 

September - October 1997

 

Pictures:
1) Resurrection Gate. N. Kuzmin. 1996
2) The first autumn day. Otradnoe. Church of Intercession of the Mother of God. N. Kuzmin. 1994

Moscow on the paintings of Nikolay Kuzmin
BY IGOR PETCHKIN

Where the sympathies and passions of Nicholay Kuzmin lay is obvious: he loves old Moscow.

 Not the opulent city of the middle­class merchants, but the quiet and understated, in a word, Orthodox, city.

Many artists have painted Moscow: the great, the outstanding, the well-known, the famous. And so astonishingly changeable is its essence that each time the City of Golden Domes looked different. Nicholay Vasilievich Kuzmin dedicated many years to painting «portraits» of the capital.

And Moscow, with the remains of her «forty times forty» churches, responded to the artistic poesy of the painter with wordless lyricism and with touching warmth. Do not look for exact architectural representations of shapes and dimensions on his canvases: they are formulated not by lines, but by impressionistic and expressionistic bursts of color. And still the sites are remarkably recognizable.

The artist genuinely believes in the wonders of a humble Moscow landscape, and in the indestructibility of church architecture.

This is why Kuzmin's Moscow is never gloomy, it is always gay and optimistic.

Just one of his albums contains dozens of landscapes in which the dominant features are churches and monasteries (yet so many were not included in the present edition, though they exist in paintings signed by the artist). The Kremlin, Kolomenskoe, the Novodevichiy Convent, Troitse-Lykovo all were honored with the artist's attention. Perhaps in time these buildings will be eternalized in special editions composed solely of the works of Nicolay Kuzmin.

The artist did not seek high places with spectacular vistas. He looked at the city from ground level, as an ordinary observer would.

But of course he saw it differently, through the eyes of an analytical and romantic painter.

Every so often, an ancient or a contemporary apartment house or a commercial building would catch the artist's eye. Even a glance out his apartment win­dow could inspire feelings of love for Moscow. But his main subjects remains cathedrals and churches, belfries and bell towers, monastery walls and towers, all crowned by treetops of every color of the rainbow. For the artist, they have a special spirit, a cathartic feeling of venerable old age, they are an inspiration.

Kuzmin's canvases are remarkable for their range of joyous colors. Black is almost entirely absent from his palette.

«Nature has no bad weather», goes the Russian saying. Nor for the artist: in snow and sleet, in hot, dry, and cold weather, he is at work. He has walked hundreds of miles, both in the historic center and in the outskirts. The artist continues to celebrate an eternal theme - Moscow.

I. Petchkin
Editor of the « Moscovite Artist » journal.

 

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