Literature and pictorial art in A.N. maikov's artistic criticism. Article one: The ground for oral lore and pictorial art rapprochement in A.N. Maikov's critical legacy

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In the aesthetic context of the 1840s and centuries-long interest of literature to the plastic arts Maikov's reference to the pictorial art is a natural phenomenon. During his aesthetic selfdetermination, the poet consciously fulfilled himself as a critic of art. Herewith, for his historic and theoretical reflection, he chose the sort of art which is, due to its constitutive properties, very close to literature. Maikov's approach to works of visual arts founds on his experience of literary oeuvre, considers the accounts and requests the readers and critics made towards the works of modern literature, including his own poems. He looks at the works of visual art from the standpoint of the aesthetic goals offered by modern Russian literature and literary criticism. Here the major quality of Maikov's articles about the Academy of Arts exhibitions is manifested: The apprehension of literature and painting as the two arts, using different approaches and techniques, but meeting the same eternal requirements and requirements of the time, solving the same tasks and serving the same cause. This approach is determined by the fact that in the mind of Maikov-critic different sorts of art obey the same laws and meet the same requirements specified by the level of moral, spiritual and intellectual development of the modern man. That is why interpretation of different problems of visual arts is always connected with thoughts about literature, and works of modern writers turn into a mirror for reading the content of pictures of different genres. Pictorial art and literature in the critic's articles form an indivisible unity. It is clearly demonstrated in his opinion on the truth to the nature issue and its relation to inspiration and the author's compassion, which are important qualities of the genuine work of art. Using the principle of analogy to analyze The Little Tavern by Rizzoni, he appeals to the experience of Gogol, who masterfully combines realistic accuracy of depiction and deep compassion for the depicted. In all Maikov's articles about the Emperor's Academy of Arts exhibitions, connection of literature and pictorial art becomes a fruitful ground, which helps them overcome the boundaries of traditional exhibition reviews and turn into a significant phenomenon in the development of Russian artistic and literary criticism of the time. That is why the fact that literature always stands behind visual arts is very natural. For Maikov, painting becomes the material which helps easier, clearer and more expressively understand the topical problems of modern literature development and discovers new opportunities for the lore itself, enriching it with formerly unavailable things, in particular, teaches it to use the semantic potential of visible images.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-169
Number of pages14
JournalVestnik Tomskogo Gosudarstvennogo Universiteta, Filologiya
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • A.N. Maikov
  • Artistic criticism
  • Emperor's Academy of Arts exhibitions
  • Literature
  • Pictorial art

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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