My 2019 Art Calendar is ready to take its place on the bookcase in our entryway hall. That way, it is the last thing that I see when I leave home and the first thing that welcomes me back. My 2018 Art Calendar has been a trusty companion these past 365 days, so it is only fitting that I finish with the last painting of 2018.
Actress on Stage (aka La Petite Langue de Colombine) came into being in 1915 by the Russian artist, Konstantin Andreyevich Somov. It is a watercolour, gouache on cardboard. You may be wondering – as I was – what is gouache? In my search, I found that gouache is a type of water-media that has a history dating back over 600 years. It is a paint consisting of natural pigment, water, and a binding agent such as dextrin. Like watercolour, it can re-wetted but has been modified to be opaque, which is brilliantly displayed in this vibrant scene full of festivities.
The fireworks against a sapphire blue background, harlequin colours and fancy mask reminiscent of Venice’s carnival invite us to enter the celebrations. The young woman is moving forward with a smile and eyes fixed on us, her arm outstretched to balance herself. Behind her are other revellers and beside her a lamp to light the path surrounded by flowers. It is a perfect ending to 2018.
Konstatin Somov was one of the artists who, in 1899, founded Mir iskusstva (World of Art), a Russian magazine that would inspire and influence an artistic movement within Russia.
One painting leads to many stories and avenues of exploration.
Welcome to 2019! We are on a grand adventure.