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  • Slavic and Eurasian Studies x

Arts and a Nation

The Role of Visual Arts and Artists in the Making of the Latvian Identity, 1905-1940

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Suzanne Pourchier-Plasseraud

Focusing on the role of arts in the construction of national identity, Suzanne Pourchier-Plasseraud has chosen to study the case of a country lacking an ancient state history of its own, Latvia. This book analyses the part played by the visual arts in transmuting the cultural concept of a nation, advocated by a small intelligentsia, into a widespread claim for independence. By the end of the 19th century, fretting under Russian political domination and German economic and cultural supremacy, the Latvians turned back to their own language, culture and folklore, with a special interest for their dainas, their timeless common heritage rooted into a mythical golden age. Latvian artists thus found themselves entrusted with the mission of creating a national iconographic representation and a specifically Latvian art, freed from Russian and German influences. The author shows how the links between the cultural and political spheres evolved between 1905 and 1940, including during the period of authoritarian government preceding WWII. An enlightening contribution to understanding how art and history can be turned into social and political instruments, this book reaches far beyond the Latvian case to a European and even global scope.

The Russian Passion for Dutch Painting of the Golden Age

The Collection of Pyotr Semenov and the Art-Market in St Petersburg, 1860-1910

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Irina Sokolova

In The Russian Passion for Dutch Painting of the Golden Age, Irina Sokolova presents the collection of paintings created by Pyotr Petrovich Semenov-Tyan-Shansky (1827–1914), an outstanding scholar and Russian statesman during the era of liberal reforms in Russia. Not only did this man of great erudition assemble a unique body of more than 700 works by Dutch and Flemish masters, but he pushed hard to ensure that it entered the Imperial Hermitage in 1914. His activities as a collector have until recently remained largely unknown. For the first time in English, this richly illustrated book unfolds the history of Semenov’s gallery against the background of cultural and artistic life in St Petersburg and the close ties between Russian and European connoisseurs of his time.

Byzantium/Modernism

The Byzantine as Method in Modernity

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Edited by Roland Betancourt and Maria Taroutina

Byzantium/Modernism features contributions by fourteen international scholars and brings together a diverse range of interdisciplinary essays on art, architecture, theatre, film, literature, and philosophy, which examine how and why Byzantine art and image theory can contribute to our understanding of modern and contemporary visual culture. Particular attention is given to intercultural dialogues between the former dominions of the Byzantine Empire, with a special focus on Greece, Turkey, and Russia, and the artistic production of Western Europe and America. Together, these essays invite the reader to think critically and theoretically about the dialogic interchange between Byzantium and modernism and to consider this cross-temporal encounter as an ongoing and historically deep narrative, rather than an ephemeral or localized trend.
Contributors are Tulay Atak, Charles Barber, Elena Boeck, Anthony Cutler, Rico Franses, Dimitra Kotoula, Marie-José Mondzain, Myroslava M. Mudrak, Robert S. Nelson, Robert Ousterhout, Stratis Papaioannou, Glenn Peers, Jane A. Sharp and Devin Singh.