본문 바로가기
  • Home

“World of Art” and Decadent Art of Late Czarist Russia

LEE, JOO EUN 1

1성신여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study will look into World of Art of the early 20th century in the context of its unique location, Saint-Petersburg, and with it the characteristics of Russian decadence art that hasn’t gained much attention thus far. World of Art was directed by the upper class, who rebelled against realistic aesthetics based on the sincere and simple description of peasant life, and emphasized social action. For World of Art artists, beauty itself was more important than social reality. A beautiful and rich style was more important than the content. In Russia, aesthetic value of artistic forms became an issue on a full scale. The freedom of expression, artists’ personalities and their interest in the subjective world are the fundamental elements that characterize World of Art. Looking at art as an expression of an individual’s self-consciousness was also the most important characteristic of decadence art. From its beginnings, World of Art believed Russian art should be global and aimed at vitalizing the beauty and grandeur of Saint-Petersburg of the 18th century. World of Art studied the culturally blossomed art of the past, especially neo-baroque art, and made it a model for a new experiment. Retrospectivism of World of Art functioned as neither a past-oriented nor a present-escaping resort. Rather, it functioned as progressive thinking with a dream of a society of unbreakable togetherness. World of Art tried to expand its goals from individual and subjective experience to collective experience and furthermore,to global tastes. Russians didn’t experience the shock of the end of the century and the ensuing psychological uneasiness to its core until the early 20th century. When the revolution first broke out in 1904 the country was going through extreme social change. On top of that,corruption of the upper class, big and small political scandals and incidents, unreasonable rebellious youths and fearfully speedy mechanization pushed that period into a decadent atmosphere. With this as a background, World of Art tried to stir up a renaissance of Russian art by infusing creative energy into the psychologically deteriorating period through an overall artistic ideal. World of Art didn’t suggest a completely new style. However, it can’t simply be understood as at ransitional trend between realistic and avant-garde art. World of Art shall be seen in a new light in modern art history as an active art movement that created an inclusive environment wherein artists with various styles could coexist. World of Art tried to bring Russian art onto the world stage.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.