Herald of

Art history as a cultural history: Russian art at the turn of the XIX–XX centuries in the context of long periods of historical time

Хренов Н.А.


The article attempts to find a special level of generalization of multiple facts that were collected by the art community from the turn of the 50–60's of the last century to the present day and that are related to the period in the history of Russian art, called the Silver age. The Bolshevik ideology rejected much of what had emerged in Russian art at the turn of the XIX–XX centuries, and this made it much more difficult to clarify the interpretation of Silver age art as a «Slavic Renaissance», inheriting the Western Renaissance tradition with great delay. The specificity of the cultural approach to the study of the spiritual heritage of the Silver age in the article is related to the fundamental concept of sociodynamics of P. Sorokin, who proposed a cyclical approach to history rather than a linear one. In accordance with this approach, long periods of history are carecterised by a change of cicles, and the uniqueness of the Silver age is determined by the transition era, in particular, the change of culture of the sensory type that arose in the Renaissance, what P. Sorokin called the culture of the ideational type. The silver age demonstrates, on the one hand, the decay of a culture of the sensory type, which is perceived and evaluated as the decline of art, and, on the other, the birth of a culture of the ideational type, as evidenced by the displacement of the sensory element in art by the supersensible element. This trend shows not the decline, but the rise of art. A concrete expression of this shift at the turn of the XIX–XX centuries is symbolism – an art direction that is essential for understanding the entire heritage of the Silver age.


the Russian culture; the Silver age; the Slavic Renaissance; the breakdown of civilization; crisis of Empire; Russia-West, Russia-East; transients; decadence; decline of art; the rise of the art; culture sensitive type; the ideational type of culture; symbolism; romanticism; Russian art of a boundary XIX–XX centuries, continuity; linearity; cyclical; retrospectivism; the Byzantine tradition; art approach; cultural approach; passionate rise; massification.

DOI: 10.31249/hoc/2020.02.01

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