Valentin Serov (1865-1911) burst onto the art scene at the age of twenty-two with his portrait Girl with Peaces. In a short time he became the preeminent portraitist of Russia's Silver Age.
Elizabeth Kridl Valkenier weds art criticism to social history in her study of Serov. She casts the artist's work against the Gilden Age of turn-of-the-century Russia, an era when money and consumption abounded and revolutionary change was taking place at all levels of society. Painting prominent people of the day in business, government, the nobility, and the arts, Serov created a gallery of Russia's important figures--figures seen with a sharp eye and painted with subtle irony.
"An elegant monument to one of Russia's most vibrant painters and a model of intellectual inquiry into the cultural effervescence that so characterized the twilight of Imperial Russia." --John E. Bowlt, University of Southern California
"Serov emerges both as a subtle and versatile artist and a perceptive observer of Russian upper-class life and attitudes." --Richard Wortman, Columbia University
"This shrewd and witty book will tell art historians as much about Russian history and society as it will tell historians and sociologists about Russian art." --Richard Taruskin, author of Stravinsky and the Russian Traditions "Valkenier ably and thoughtfully describes the artists and patrons that affected Serov's career as no one has done before in any language. She has a wonderful gift for synthesis." --Choice "Serov is rightly viewed as a figure of immense cultural importance, an assessment which this book will do much to initiate amongst the uninformed, or consolidate amongst Serov's many admirers." --Russian Review
Ilya Vinitsky's Vasily Zhukovsky's Romanticism and the Emotional History of Russia is the first major study in English of Vasily Zhukovsky (1783–1852)—a poet, translator of German romantic verse, and, crucially, mentor of Pushkin. It focuses overdue attention to an important figure in Russian literary and cultural history.
Vinitsky’s "psychological biography" argues that Zhukovsky very consciously set out to create for himself an emotional life that reflected his unique brand of romanticism, different from what we associate with Pushkin or poets such as Byron or Wordsworth. For Zhukovsky, ideal love was harmonious, built on a mystical foundation of spiritual kinship. Vinitsky shows how Zhukovksy played a pivotal role in the evolution of ideas central to Russia’s literary and cultural identity from the end of the eighteenth century into the decades following the Napoleonic Wars.
In one of the most iconic images from World War II, a Russian soldier raises a red flag atop the ruins of the German Reichstag on April 30, 1945. Known as the Victory Banner, this piece of fabric has come to symbolize Russian triumph, glory, and patriotism. Facsimiles are used in public celebrations all over the country, and an exact replica is the centerpiece in the annual Victory Parade in Moscow’s Red Square. The Victory Banner Over the Reichstag examines how and why this symbol was created, the changing media of its expression, and the contested evolution of its message. From association with Stalinism and communism to its acquisition of Russian nationalist meaning, Jeremy Hicks demonstrates how this symbol was used to construct a collective Russian memory of the war. He traces how the Soviets, and then Vladimir Putin, have used this image and the banner itself to build a remarkably powerful mythology of Russian greatness.
Drawing on ethnographic research conducted at Moscow’s wholesale markets from 2013 to 2016, Vietnamese Migrants in Russia: Mobility in Times of Uncertainty provides original insights into how uncertainty shapes social practice, identity and belonging in the context of irregular migration from Vietnam to Russia. The study speaks to various debates in migration and mobility studies -- particularly those focused on brokerage networks, the political economy of sexuality, and social belonging -- deepening our knowledge of how the core social values and cultural logics that underpin Vietnamese personhood are challenged and reconstituted by the ethos of the market economy. This book sheds important light on processes of mobility and social change in post-socialist societies that continue to grapple with yawning chasms between old and new ways of life, the local and the global, policy and practice, and obsolete governance techniques and rapidly changing socio-economic realities.
On the eve of World War I, Russia, not known as a nation of joiners, had thousands of voluntary associations. Joseph Bradley examines the crucial role of voluntary associations in the development of civil society in Russia from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century.