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    Vassar College
  Feb 22, 2018
Catalogue 2017-2018
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RUSS 165 - Arts and Music in Imperial Russia (in English)

1 unit(s)
Our main focus is on the dazzling artistic explosion that took place in the Russian Empire in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This includes the visual arts, architecture, music, and performing arts. In the introductory part we go over the highlights of Old Russian art, primarily icon painting and ecclesiastic architecture, and proceed to the imperial period paying special attention to the interaction and interpenetration of the arts in a historical context. Prominent examples include the following. Borodin’s opera Prince Igor is viewed against its literary source, a medieval epic, and linked to historiosophic debates about Russia and the East and also to orientalism in Russian and European imagination. In conjunction with Musorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov we read the eponymous drama by Pushkin, and discuss its historical background and related archetypal images projected on Russian history. Diaghilev’s legendary Ballets Russes are presented in the epoch’s drive for artistic syncretism and also a peculiar mix of Russian and cosmopolitan elements characteristic of the World of Art movement. We conclude with the radical revolutionary aesthetics of the Russian Avant-Garde that upends accepted notions of art in such spectacles as the notorious Futurist opera Victory over the Sun. Dan Ungurianu.

Open to all classes. All readings and discussion in English.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods, plus occasional film screenings.

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