Beyond the Canvas
Spring in art part 2: One lilac does make the spring.
Updated: Feb 14, 2022
Expect to see plenty of Russian art on here for it is one major passion of mine. Places like the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow are where every day more I long to go back and lose myself until those rather stern-looking museum supervisors unceremoniously inform me that it's closing time. All in due course.
Until that day comes, let's feast our eyes on this stunning piece by Russian-Soviet symbolist painter Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin. Although the artist is mostly known for his iconic Bathing of a Red Horse, for me this painting truly has it all: vibrant colours, unusual perspective, superb optical illusion (look at how the light shines through that finely-shaped inkwell) and very balanced composition, which is dominated by the lilac flowers Petrov-Vodkin placed at the center of the canvas.
This gem came to market in 2019. The hammer went down after a nearly $12 million bid by a private collector, making this the most expensive painting ever sold at a Russian art auction. It is not often I find myself wishing a painting of this calibre graced the walls of my flat, but this colourful still-life stole my heart the moment I saw it.
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Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin (1878-1939),Still Life with Lilac,1928, Private Collection
Photo credit: Christie's