The Abramtsevo Artistic Circle and the Search for a National Landscape

In: Experiment

Abstract

The strong national voice at Abramtsevo, based on a sense of harmony among native landscapes, religious and folk life, and estate culture was intrinsic to Slavic revival movements of the late nineteenth century. The estate and its surroundings were settings for Russian-themed paintings and inspired artists to seek and express a Russian “spirit of nature.” The search for a national landscape was connected with literary and intellectual culture fostered at Abramtsevo and neighboring estates, and with the presence of religious centers in the area. Local topography and collaboration among the Abramtsevo artists in the 1880s led to new ideas about a national landscape as artists ranged further afield in the next decade. Landscapes of mood and decorative works based on natural forms shifted the role of landscape from concrete subject to a source for formal experimentation.

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