An ideal example of a typical manor interior of S. Zhukovsky’s “golden age” can be one of the most harmonious among his works – interior “Personal apartment of Nikolai II in Lazenkivsky palace at Warsaw”. This is much more than a regular retrospective description of the noble life of those times. This picture recreates the atmosphere of emotional life of environment in which flows the life of the owners of apartments, moreover, Tzar’s properties in the artist’s native Poland.
Zhukovsky Stanislav Yulianovich
(1873, village Endrihovtsy, Volkovyskskiy district, Grodno region – 1944, Prushkovo, close to Warsaw, Poland)
Stanislav Yulianovich Zhukovsky was one of the most famous and popular landscape painter in Russia at the beginning of XX century.
Upon receipt of the original home education, S. Zhukovsky entered the Warsaw classical gymnasium of Lagowski, then in Bialostok real School. Moved to Moscow beggaring artist entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. His first Moscow tutor was Sergei Korovin, and then S. Zhukovsky moved to the class of figure that was laded by Leonid Pasternak. His tutor in the next class of nature was Abram Arkhipov. S. Zhukovsky was the most talented pupil in the college, and the direct painting heir of I. Levitan. S. Zhukovsky formally was not a student of Levitan, but on his own admission, used advises of the master who has had a strong influence on the young artist’s creativity. Indeed, the great landscape painter with a special interest looked works of quite a young student. In 1895, S. Zhukovsky participated in exhibitions of the Association of traveling art exhibitions, and later he became one of the founding members of the Union of Russian Artists. Upon receipt of all academic awards, even before S. Zhukovsky graduating in 1899, his painting “Moon Night” was acquired in the collection of the Tretyakov Gallery. In 1901 S. Zhukovsky finished his studies at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, with the first silver medal and the title of class artist. In 1906 the artist opened his own school of painting and drawing.
S. Zhukovsky throughout all his life continued line of Russian lyrical landscape, he tried to perpetuate a short moment and the mood of nature. The artist worked fast, he wrote great landscapes directly from nature, often in the one or two sessions. Fresh direct perception, much appreciated in the late XIX – early XX century was very important for S. Zhukovsky. One of the best examples of his “clean” landscape creativity can be safely described as the work presented in the collection. The manner of the artist is rather free, thick colors, smear is expressive and energetic. Such a style characterized by paintings “March Evening” (1904), “Under the Evening” (1910), “Autumn. Porch” (1911), “Fresh Snow” (1912), “Lake” (1912-1914), “Spring” (1913), “Blue Water” (1914).
When it comes to the Russian landscape painting of the XlX – early XX century, be sure that among the masters, to decide on its face, Stanislav Yulianovich Zhukovsky will be mentioned – the outstanding master continuing the traditions of Russian lyrical landscape painting, has attained true perfection in one of its branches, which may be called the Manor-landscape genre.
S. Zhukovsky is Russian artist, a prominent painter, representative of the historical and retrospective branch of Modernism. In his paintings, at first muted in tone, and then increasingly impressionistic and colorful, dominated lyrical landscapes. Particularly familiar with his manor – landscape and interior motifs, peacock-life color, and at the same time imbued with elegiac sorrow (Autumn Manor, 1906; Joyful May, 1912; room in Brasov estate of Grand Duke Mikhail Aleksandrovich, 1916; all these paintings are in the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow). In his manor interiors S. Zhukovsky is still landscape painter. His “luxurious houses” are always open to the world.
However, the interest to this subject was evident not only at his works. The total retrospective character of the early XX century art, the desire of many artists, from Borisov-Musatov to the representatives of the “World of Art”, was to find out the positive ideals despite of “the tragic picture of Russian reality” of the first Russian revolution in 1905-1907. However, for S. Zhukovsky it was not just fashion. He spent his childhood in his father’s family estate Staraya Volya in Western Belarus. He knew the charm of the manor life, and a sense of loss of the usual cozy world. The artist’s father was deprived of the nobility and the property rights for participation in the Polish uprising in 1863 and lived with his family in his own estate as the lessee. In 1892 the artist went to Moscow to study art against the wishes of his father. This step was not only condemning to very heavy existing (in the material sense), but it was loosing a possibility to return to native landscapes for many years.
Since the early 1910s the art of S. Zhukovsky developed under the influence of Impressionism. However, perceived impressionism techniques are subject to the system of open-air painting, which is organizing and unifying beginning of his works. By 1910 in the works of S. Zhukovsky we can see favorite theme cycles; architecture, more precisely the estate landscape and interior. However, sometimes one painting has intertwined elements of all these genres – architecture is included in landscape, and through open windows and to open door the interior connects to landscape. Designer inspired wrote estates at different times of the year, giving preference to the spring and autumn, opening in them beauty that kept the age-old parks with shady avenues, historic mansions – the stone, with a portico, decorated with columns, or a simple, wooden – rooms with mahogany furniture of the last century and old paintings on the walls. Subject of the manor had its irresistible power to S. Zhukovsky.
In 1910 in the works of S. Zhukovsky dominated interiors. The subjects the artist most often found in old houses and mansions with their libraries, living rooms, antique furniture and portraits, which are perceived as preserved traces of the Russian culture of the past and cause a sense of respect. However, the interior of S. Zhukovsky – this is not the museum halls, it is a familiar environment in which people live and act. The artist liked rooms, furnished with mahogany furniture in the Empire style, decorated with portraits of the first half of XIX century. The interiors appear not merely as a place of dwelling people among beautiful things, but as monuments of art history.
S. Zhukovsky was still intensively worked after the October Revolution. He was the member of the Commission for the Protection of Monuments of art and antiquities, by the order of the department of the College of Fine Arts of the People’s Commissariat of Education. The artist surveyed private collections in Moscow and Moscow region. For some time he lived in Vyatka. After returning to Moscow in 1921, the artist organized personal exhibition. But then he had to face sharp attacks from the Soviet government. The exhibition was a success with viewers, but the fact that the art critic in Soviet Russia has become a politically committed Zhukovsky’s art was declared as ideologically harmful, “glorified mansion nest”, and nostalgic for past life. And although the works of masters were demanded, when there was talk of the need to provide all facets of contemporary Russian art abroad, work of some of them are no longer allowed to the domestic exhibitions. In modern Russia art of S. Zhukovsky become unnecessary. The scope of his exhibitions and creative activities was increasingly shrinking. In September 1923, S. Zhukovsky decided to leave Soviet Russia for Poland.
The artist has told to himself: “I am a great lover of antiquities, especially time of Pushkin”. The terms of themes and images in his art has remained unchanged until the last years of his life. In the years of European economic crisis (late 1920’s – early 1930) fellow artists, including influential I.I. Brodsky, strongly urged S. Zhukovsky to go back to the USSR. However the artist limited only sales of several of his works to Soviet collections. The artist died in the concentration camp for exiled by Nazis citizens of the Polish capital after the Warsaw uprising. During the war many of his paintings have died.