Mikhail Shvartsman - BRIC Theme Sale London Friday, April 23, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist; Private Collection, Europe

  • Literature

    J.Kiblitsky, Mikhail Shvartsman, St Petersburg: Palace Editions, 2005, p. 373 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Mikhail Shvartsman is a Russian metaphysical painter who has been described as a 'muralist, mystic and philosopher... [whose] creative oeuvre was the landmark on a way to a new art language'. He referred to his artworks as 'hieraturas', a name derived from 'Hieratism', a term used by the artist to describe his overall concept. It echoes the English word 'hieratic', literally meaning 'of or concerning priests', but also used to describe certain traditional styles of Egyptian and Greek religious art. Its ultimate root is the ancient Greek term hieros-meaning the sacred, the spiritual, the sacred-significant or the innermost significant.
    "All my early works were linked to the hieratic concept. The relationship with the experience of man in life and his experience of man in life and his experience in death. In life man creates an icon of himself; in the face of death, he leaves an iconic trace of himself entombed. This is like a spiritual birth in death, which also creaters its own countenance, its own icon... Besides professional mastery and free historical orientation, I believed it very important to achieve a high degree of spiritual concentration." (Mikhail Shvartsman, quoted in J. Kiblitsky, Mikhail Shvartsman, St Petersbourg, 2005, p.9)
    After completing military service, Shvartsman studied at the Higher School of Art and industry (the former Straganov School) in Moscow and later became a founder and teacher of the well known Moscow graphic design school. Reacting against the popular taste of his times, he became interested in Byzantine and old Russian art, particulary icons and frescoes. He was also influenced by cubism and surrealism, and as his work developed, complex philosophical and religious ideas became central to his oeuvre.
    "Sometime around the mid 1960, I crossed over to my current emblematic-architectonic hieratures. Work processed not mechanically, but organically-metamorphically, first surging forwards, then going backwards. These symbols appeared at the same time as the countenances. While the stylistic links were clearly visible in the early hieratures, the sign gradually acquired independent and theological meaning." (Mikhail Shvartsman, quoted in J. Kiblitsky, Michael Shvartsman, St Petersbourg, 2005, p. 9)



Gesso and tempera on linen mounted on wooden panel.
77.1 x 51.4 cm (30 3/8 x 20 1/4 in).
Signed in Cyrillic 'SHVARTSMAN' lower left. Signed, titled in Cyrillic and dated 'MIKHAIL SHVARTSMAN 1982 ENVOY' on the reverse.

£50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for £49,250

BRIC Theme Sale

23-24 April 2010