B.M.Nemensky’s “Berlin Sketches” and the Traditions of Russian Fine Art

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The work of B.M. Nemensky is inextricably linked to the events of the Great Patriotic War. This theme unites his works of different genres not so much by the choice of a plot associated with specific military actions, but by a special type of heroes – people with whom Boris Mikhailovich traveled along the front roads from Velikiye Luki in 1942 to Berlin 1945.

Nemensky went to the front as an artist of M.B.Grekov’ studio. Using a pencil and a brush, he made dozens of sketches of the battlefields, of soldiers, of people from the cities and villages ravaged by the war, of burnt houses and streets covered with crushed brick.

In Berlin in the spring of 1945, the artist created a series of drawings and sketches, which later became known as “the Berlin sketches”. Their authenticity and expressiveness in conveying the smallest details stem from his work on the battlefield, and the rejection of false theatrics allowed them to reach a high level of understanding of the “calamities of war”.

The article offers an artistic analysis of the paint sheets of “The Berlin Sketches”, it points to the connection between their artistic language and the traditions of Russian art and its technique. Particular attention is given to B.M.Nemensky’s work with light, which defines the atmosphere of the sketches, becoming the main means of transmitting the emotional state. This role of light characterizes the national fine arts all the way from ancient Russian icon painting to the present day. In almost all works of Russian painting, you can discern this approach to light, which is the expression of the spiritual energy of the world.

Adherence to national traditions largely determined the emotional strength and depth of meaning of the “Berlin sketches”, which became one of the most expressive artistic documents of the Great Patriotic War, upholding humanistic values characteristic of the best works of Russian culture. 

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Kleymenova Olga

Доктор философских наук, кандидат искусствоведения, профессор, заведующая кафедрой истории и теории изобразительных искусств ВГИК

S.A.Gerasimov Russian State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK)
, 3, Wilhelm Pik street, 129226 Moscow, Russia

Author for correspondence.
Email: o-giraffe@yandex.ru


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