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Kozicharow, Nicola: "Dmitrii Stelletskii’s Chastushki and Russian émigré book illustration. Between tradition and the avant-garde." In: Word & Image 31.3 (2015), S. 374–385.
|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Kozicharow2015
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Keywords: Illustration, Randformen des Comics, Russland, Schrift
Collection: Word & Image
In 1937 the Russian émigré artist Dmitrii Stelletskii (1875–1947) published a book of Russian national folk songs, or chastushki, in Riga, Latvia. In addition to writing the introduction and selecting the 22 chastushki, he handwrote the publication’s unusual Cyrillic script and created lively monochrome illustrations to accompany the text. In his introduction, Stelletskii made the book’s purpose clear: the chastushka was a dying art form that deserved to be remembered in emigration, before it faded away from Russian cultural discourse. The preservation of pre-Revolutionary Russian culture was a key mission for many émigrés, giving the book acute relevance among Stelletskii’s contemporaries abroad. More crucially, the collection of chastushki—and Stelletskii’s graphic art more generally—raises wider issues with regard to Russian book illustration. His concern with the physical nature of the book, especially the idea of handwriting as an expressive art form in itself, and his playful engagement with folk culture shifted his approach to book production closer to that of the more radical Russian avant-garde. This article thus uses the publication as a means to challenge the seemingly polarized relationship between the World of Art group, with which Stelletskii was associated, and the avant-garde. It will propose that such divisions became less significant in emigration, where changed circumstances opened up the possibility of new artistic pathways.
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