July 17th 2019
The Avant-Garde Icon. Talk by Andrew Spira

The Avant-Garde Icon. Talk by Andrew Spira

Thursday 25 July. 18.30. Free event, RSVP

All Hallows by the Tower, Byward Street, London  EC3R 5BJ

Arch Mich SS

Andrew Spira, author of ‘The Avant-Garde Icon: Russian Avant-garde Art and the Icon Painting Tradition’ will speak about how icons underpin the development of nineteenth and twentieth-century Russian art. In the nineteenth century, the revival of interest in Russian icons was integral to the consolidation of traditional national identity in Russia. However, on account of its moral potential, Christian art was also produced to promote a wide range of social reforms. Towards the end of the century, the mysticism of icons inspired artists to turn inward and explore the depths of the imagination that lie beyond the political and social realms. These various threads came together at the beginning of the twentieth century when, as if anticipating the cataclysm that lay ahead, artists mixed the political, philosophical, visionary and artistic dimensions of icons into an explosive cocktail that became the unique phenomenon of the Russian avant-garde. But while the influence of icons played a key part in all of these developments, what became of the icons themselves? Did they also change?

In conjunction with the exhibition Island of Saints (12 July – 2 August 2019), this talk will explore these fascinating questions.

Featured images: Mikhail Larionov. Soleil de Nuit (c) Victoria&Albert Museum, London; Archangel Michael. Icon by (c) Svetlana Stashkova



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