Almost every Sunday I like to watch a news show simply titled, Sunday Morning. It covers a range of topics from news headlines around the world as well as entertainment. It has many fine qualities the first being it's tone. It's hosted by radio personality Charles Osgood whose voice is both informative and soothing.
This week I learned, first time ever, an exhibit displaying Russian art is making the rounds; it's currently at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. The collection spans 800 years of religion, politics and growth. It includes such names as Kandinsky, Kramskoy and Repin. Many other names we've never heard of will be experienced for the first time outside of a Russian Museum.
Sunday Morning talked with a few curators involved with the exhibit and provided a slide show of some of the most beautiful and moving work I've ever seen. I was touched by the fact I wasn't the only one seeing these works for the first time. I was also moved to gratitude for Sunday Morning sharing this piece of beauty I'd never get a chance to see otherwise.
Three pieces moved me so much I had to search them out on the internet (hours later) just so I could look at them again. The first was Ivan Kramskoy's Portrait of Unknown Woman (1883). The anonymous woman with snow covered backdrop has the most captivating eyes. In some circles it is said she is a "lady of ill repute" and later she was it was thought she could have been Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. She's been with me all day.
The second is Ilya Repin's The Boatman on the Volga (1870). This intense image of men hauling a barge leads to many moments of contemplation about the time period. Somehow it was cheaper and productive to use human slaves over work horses.
The third, Catherine the Great. I am very disappointed to say, while there is much history on the net, I could not find the image of her. She appeared captivatingly pale with a slight double chin. There was even a second similar image recurring as a bust in the background in a portrait of one of her lovers.
If you can, you should visit the exhibit to experience the similarities and uniqueness of Russian Culture.
* Read the CBS news piece on Russian Art collection.
* Visit the New York Guggenheim Museum.