lunes, 1 de agosto de 2016


Christa Zaat

Albert Gustaf Aristides Edelfelt (Finnish painter) 1854 - 1905 
Moskovasta (Kreml ja Pyhän Valisin Katedraal) (From Moscow (The Kremlin and the Saint Basil's Cathedral), 1896
32 x 47 cm. (12.6 x 18.5 in.)
signed 20 maj 1896
private collection

Catalogue Note Bukowski's
Albert Edelfelt travelled to Saint Petersburg in spring 1896 to paint a portrait of Tsar Nicholas II at the Winter Palace before continuing to Moscow in order to attend the coronation in May. He also used this opportunity to complete various watercolour commissions – the cover of a volume of coronation greetings from the people of Finland and a painting of the coronation ceremony made from the steps of the Kremlin. These works are now in the collections of the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg and the Kremlin in Moscow. While also painting portraits of his compatriots over a period of four months, Edelfelt was mainly engaged in various preliminary works dealing with the coronation venue in Red Square.

The view of the Kremlin and Saint Basil’s Cathedral was painted on Wednesday 8 May (20 May according to the modern calendar) 1896 from the window of Sapozhnikov, the leading silk merchant. This business was on Ilinka Street, to the immediate northeast of the square. Edelfelt described his work in a letter dated the day before the grand event:

"I’ve been busy painting a view of the Kremlin and Saint Basil’s – from the window of the Sapozhnikov silk merchant’s shop. I met Gervex there yesterday. He took breakfast today at K. Makovsky’s. /.../ I meet Armfelt, Montgomery, Linder, Kurten, Procopé, Spåre, Axel Gadolin and young Bruun on a daily basis, and I often bump into Schura Etter, the Reuterskiölds, Falkenberg, Lövenörn – I haven’t met Spada yet. – There is an unrivalled hustle and bustle about this place ..."

On the left we can see Saint Basil’s (Pokrovsky) Cathedral, built at the time of Ivan the Terrible in 1555–61. Its idiom alludes to the flames of a funeral pyre. To the right are the walls of the Kremlin with the Moscow River in the background. The circular Lobnoye Mesto platform built in the 1530s is visible in the foreground. Contrary to popular opinion, it was never a place of public execution, and nowadays this 13-metre long venue is understood to have served for reading official proclamations of the Tsar and holding religious ceremonies.

Marina Catani

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Together with Helene Sofia Schjerfbeck, Albert Edelfelt is today one of the most well-known Finnish artists.Edelfelt was born into a Swedish-speaking aristocratic family and educated at the Imperial University in Helsinki. He was early on frustrated by the unprogressive atmosphere of the university and left in 1873 to enroll in the Antwerp Academy of Art. He studied history painting there for six months before moving to Paris in 1874. Paris was the premiere destination for artists all over the world due to its position as the most culturally and artistically progressive city at the end of the nineteenth century. Edelfelt was immediately drawn to the Parisian lifestyle and encouraged by the endless opportunities personally and professionally. Not only did the extensive network of museums, galleries and dealers provide constant stimulation for the aspiring artist, but the wealthy, sophisticated Parisians proved a ready clientele. Concurrent with his move from the conservative city of Antwerp to the cosmopolitan French capital, was Edelfelt's turn away from history painting toward painting scenes of contemporary life. Edelfelt went on to become the leading proponent of Finnish Realism and his native country's most important cultural export of the 19th century.

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