Oleg Tarasov. Framing Russian Art: From Early Icons to Malevich. Transl. by Prof. R. Milner-Gulland and A. Wood. London: “Reaktion Books”, 2011. 415 p., il.
The notion of the frame in art can refer not only to a material frame bordering an image, but also to a conceptual frame. Both meanings are essential to how the work is perceived. In Framing Russian Art, art historian Oleg Tarasov investigates the role of the frame in its literal function of demarcating a work of art and in its conceptual function affectingthe understanding of what is seen. The first part of the book is dedicated to the framework of the Russian icon. Here, Tarasov explores the historical and cultural meanings of the icon's, setting, and of the iconostasis. Tarasov's study then moves through Russian and European art from ancient times to the twentieth century, including abstract art and Suprematism. Along the way, Tarasov pays special attention to the Russian baroque period and the famous nineteenth century Russian battle painter Vasily Vereshchagin. This enlightening account of the cultural phenomenon of the frame and its ever-changing functions will appeal to students and scholars of Russian art history.
Introduction: The Rhetoric of Framing in Russian Art
Part one: Frame and Image
1. Symbolic Unity
Ark and Niche, – In the Mirror of Perspective, – Rhetoric and the New Icon, – Frame as World
2. From the Middle Ages to Romanticism
Abramtsevo: Window into a Russian World, – Idea and Feeling, – The Boundary of Paradise, – Icon Case and Picture Frame, – The Museum
Part two: Playing with Space
3. The Lustre of Power
The Palace: Frame, Picture and History, – The Rhetoric of Title
4. Between Industry and Art
Display, – The Painting as Photographic Exposure, – Artist, Frame-maker and Client, – The Quest for Concord, – The Avant-garde: Overcoming the Frame, – The Antiquary and Dismantlement