Monday, August 20, 2012

Severe Style


Dmitry Zhilinsky (b. 1927) participated in the so-called Severe Style of painting that evolved in the USSR after Stalin's death in 1953. The Severe painters remained politically subservient to the State, but were allowed to refine what had come to be regarded as the sloppy technique of  Socialist Realism (enforced since the 1930s as virtually the only approved mode of representation). Zhilinsky favored tempera over oils to achieve a crisper vision of orthodox community life. Yet his pictures remain interesting (I think) because the protagonists mostly seem to convey moods of tension or sorrow rather the swaggering collective confidence of Stalinist art.

1. In Memory of the Fallen, 1959
2. At the Sea, 1964
3. Soldiers Bathing, 1959
4. Soldiers Bathing (detail)
5. USSR Gymnasts, 1964
6. Man with Killed Dog (Self-Portrait), 1976
7. Young Family, 1980
8. Good Morning, 2001