2023 Author: Leah Sherlock | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:26
After a long abstinence during the strict Christmas Lent, after the noisy New Year's feasts and the bright joy of the Nativity of Christ itself, after the Epiphany holidays following it, the daring Maslenitsa comes. Having come to us through the centuries, it is now perceived not only as a tribute to ancient traditions, but also as an introduction to certain sacred actions.
Echoes of paganism
No matter how they call this amazing period of time in late February - early March, on the verge of winter and spring, merry and hearty treats before the long Easter fast, the Slavic peoples! And Cheese Week in the church calendar, and Pancake-Obyedukha among the people! Remote winter fun, folk festivals, sleigh rides and fist fights, a solemn procession with a stuffed Maslenitsa and burning it in honor of the farewell to the snow and frost that had already bothered ordinary people - all these colorful, emotional actions attracted the attention of many representatives of art. A particularly lively and vivid embodiment was reflected in the holiday in painting. Studying artistic canvases, we come across a rarephenomenon: various Russian artists have a painting called “Maslenitsa”. Why they gave their works the same names, what is the difference between each - we will talk about this in this article.
History and traditions
In the pre-Christian period of the life of the Eastern Slavs, today's Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians, the onset of the new year was associated with the spring equinox, the awakening of nature, the beginning of a new cycle of life, the cult of fertility and the memory of ancestors. The farmers, who, in their way of life, were basically the ancient Slavs, were fully dependent on the harvests on their fields. The painting "Maslenitsa" by Semyon Shemyakin (2001) reflects one of the most important elements of the holiday - the burning of a straw effigy, the ashes of which were scattered over all peasant plots. It was believed that in this way people increase the fertility of the earth, stimulate its fertile beginning.
Second meaning of the rite
Another painting "Maslenitsa" by another contemporary artist Anatoly Nikolaevich Shelyakin (2005) draws our attention to another semantic moment of the holiday. The creation of a family and the birth of children, the continuation of the family - this, according to the ancients, is the main purpose of man. Therefore, various amusements were encouraged on Maslenitsa, during which young people could more freely express their feelings. The traditions of honoring boys and girls, young men and women capable of giving birth are closely connected with the same cult of fertility and the rebirth of life. From here let's goand Shrovetide bride of the newlyweds, and sleigh rides of young people of both sexes, and even comic persecution of bachelors.
Connection with one's family
And, finally, the painting "Maslenitsa" is also our contemporary - Anna Cherkashina (2002). She addresses the viewer to the third semantic aspect of the holiday - the commemoration of the ancestors who have gone to another world, the forgiveness of insults that family members, relatives and friends, neighbors voluntarily or involuntarily inflicted on each other during the year. Pancakes as the main element of the Shrovetide table in the painting by Cherkashina especially accurately reflect the ancient Slavic funeral essence of the holiday.
Master of the genre
A whole series of paintings under the general name was painted by a wonderful artist Boris Kustodiev. Shrove Tuesday is presented in different versions, but with the same degree of talent and the exact transmission of the peculiar color of the festival. The cycle of works was created over a relatively short period of 4 years - from 1916 to 1920. 5 full-fledged canvases and 2 versions of the same painting, executed in different colors, emphasize the artist's special interest in the chosen topic. How does Kustodiev approach its implementation? "Maslenitsa" of 1916 (one of the paintings of this time) is a typical Russian winter landscape. The sky is colored by the sunset and blazes with crimson and gold. Its rays shine on snow-covered roofs and pavements, ignite iridescent lights on trees wrapped in furry fur coats. The domes and spiers of churches rise up, aspiring to the heavenly heights. And on the streets it hums and has funpeople, the fair is noisy, not wanting to disperse, carousels flash by, painted sleighs rush by. The broad Russian soul, valiant prowess and love of life - such is the emotional background of the picture. It charges with optimism and cheerfulness, excites the imagination of the audience and awakens the desire to study the life, history and traditions of its people. Of course, our description of the painting "Shrovetide" is far from complete. But we hope it will arouse the curiosity of the readers of the article, and they will also want to learn more about Russian antiquity and Russian art.
Instead of afterword
As you can see, the paintings of the artists "Maslenitsa" are diverse in genre and performance. Landscapes and still lifes, portrait sketches, stylization of folk popular prints in the works of masters of Russian painting not only reveal to us certain aspects of the culture, life and beliefs of ancestors, but also bring the past closer, making it understandable and native. Art, like a time machine, takes us from one era to another, not allowing us to lose touch with our roots and making us once again feel our blood connection with all of humanity.
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