Year of Publication

2011

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Thesis

College

Fine Arts

Department

Art

First Advisor

Dr. Robert Jensen

Abstract

In the contemporary art-historical vision, Mikhail Larionov is renowned as the author and the main figure in the polemical discourse of Neoprimitivism and the inventor of the Rayonism style. These aspects, although crucial to his career, are far from exhausting the artist’s legacy. During his most industrious period, from 1910 to 1915, he was equally, if not more, engaged in the development of new forms of art than in the practice of painting; in fact, the conventional cornerstone of the high art in the era of Modernism – a painting – lost its central position and receded to the status of the peripheral phenomenon in his artistic practice. When considering his position as a central figure in the events of the 1910-1915 in Russia, Larionov’s ambivalence as an artist implies hesitation about the picture of gestalt homogeneity of Modernist discourse (with a painting as the hierarchical apex of high art in the Modernist era) in Russia of the early decades of the twentieth century. While historical evaluation privileges the painting over the non-painting practice of the artist, there is sufficient evidence testifying to the need to consider them as equal and synergetic.

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