Bekhteev Vladimir

Courtesan 93x153,5 cm, oil on canvas
About work

(Українська) Картина “Куртизантка” є свого роду міркуванням на тему відомого полотна пензля Едуарда Мане “Олімпія”, який в свою чергу звертається до теми Данаї, що зустрічається в картинах великих художників Тиціана і Рембрандта.
Едуард Мане мав на меті в передачі безпосередньо відвертого, спрямованого на глядача погляду оголеної дівчини, сяючою своєю глянцевою білою оголеністю. В. Бехтеев мав абсолютно інші наміри: на картині куртизанка зображена зухвалою і самовпевненою. У той же час художник уникнув контакту з поглядом оголеної фігури. На відміну від картини відомого імпресіоніста, на якій оголена білява фігура дівчини контрастує з темним загальним тлом, у В. Бехтеева всі відтінки і світлотінь об’єднані в загальну композиційну взаємодію. Художник майстерно вписує голу фігуру в загальний колорит картини, завдяки якій оголеність не є ключовим сюжетом полотна.

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Volodymyr Georgievich Bekhteev (1878-1971) – a famous Russian painter, graphic artist and stage designer of the 20th century came from a noble family. The artist graduated from the Nikolaev Cavalry School in St. Petersburg and served for several years in the cavalry Mitavsky Regiment in Czestochowa. But in 1901, with the rank of lieutenant, he unexpectedly resigned. At the same time, V. Bekhteev began to systematically engage in painting and drawing, to attend the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg and was engaged in the private studio of Professor Y. Tsionglinsky. The young artist filed a request for admission to the Imperial Academy of Arts, which was refused. Immediately after that, in 1902 V. Bekhteev left for Munich, where he continued his studies in the workshop of Professor H. Knirr, then at the School of F. Cormon in Paris.

In 1906-1908 the artist traveled to France, Italy and Tunisia. In those same years, he became close to A.G. Yavlensky, M.V. Verevkina, V.V. Kandinsky. Since 1909 he became a member and exhibitor of the New Association of Artists in Munich, and in 1910 took part in the first exhibition of the Jack of Diamonds association in Moscow. A year later, the artist became a member of the Blue Horseman Association. The influence of this association in one form or another has gone through the artist’s whole life, but there are few works of this time. For this reason, the presence in this collection of paintings “Courtesan”, dating back to 1910, is especially unique. The works of V. Bekhteev of this period are characterized by energetic colors and luminous shades, in which the strong influence of A. Yavlensky is clearly visible.

The painting “Courtesan” is a kind of reflection on the theme of the famous painting by Edward Manet “Olympia”, which in turn addresses the theme of Danai, which is found in the paintings of the great painters Titian and Rembrandt. Unlike Bekhteyev, Eduard Manet initially aimed at conveying the directly frank, gazed at the viewer gaze of a naked girl, shining with her glossy white nudity. V. Bekhteev had completely different intentions: in the picture the courtesan is depicted as impudent and self-confident. At the same time, the artist evaded eye contact with the gaze of a nude. In contrast to the picture of the famous impressionist, in which the nude whitish figure of the girl contrasts with the dark general background, V. Bekhteev has all the shades and chiaroscuro combined in a common compositional interaction. The artist masterfully inserts a nude figure in the overall color of the picture, thanks to which nudity is not a key plot of the canvas.

At the beginning of World War I, V. Bekhteev returned to Russia and was drafted into the army; with the rank of reserve lieutenant, he served in Borisoglebsk. In 1917, the artist joined the ranks of the Red Army. After the October Revolution, Vladimir Bekhteev first became an employee of the People’s Commissariat of Education, and then, in 1921, he became the main artist of the First State Circus in Moscow. The artist worked a lot as a book and magazine illustrator, worked on the works of M.Yu. Lermontova, L.N. Tolstoy, A.S. Pushkin, stage designer designed circus performances. Since the second half of the 1920s. V. Bekhteev turned to figurative art in line with the artistic trends of that time. In a book illustration in the 1930s-1950s, he proved himself a skilled interpreter, finding for each of the works on which he worked, an individual artistic solution.

The works of V.G. Behteeva are in many private and museum collections, including the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Museum of Fine Arts. A.S. Pushkin and many others.

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