GUEST BLOG – Travel Deeper: Russia Through Artists’ Eyes

Issac Levitan, Above Eternity
Issac Levitan, Above Eternity

For years Russia remained hidden behind the Iron Curtain. Then with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, we saw the extraordinary culture and natural beauty of this vast country for the first time. Yet one gem remains unknown to the West: the artists of the Golden Age – Repin, Kromskoy, Polonov, Serov, and Levitan – who depict the quintessential Russian people and landscape.

Sean Forester in Paris
Sean Forester in Paris

I’m Sean Forester, classical painter and Classical Pursuits leader and I will help you see Russia through artists’ eyes. I’ll guide you as we visit the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, the Russian State Museum in St. Petersburg, and the homes and museums of the Russian painters. You will see why these artists deserve to be placed along side their friends — the writers Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov — in the Russian pantheon. We will attend performances at the world-renowned Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and the new Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, experiencing Russian music and ballet in the land of their birth.

Ilya Repin, Tolstoy Resting in the Woods
Ilya Repin, Tolstoy Resting in the Woods

Leo Tolstoy will be our guide as we visit the “Old Russia” Moscow and the European influenced St. Petersburg. We’ll read and discuss Anna Karenina, which takes place in both cities – Tolstoy’s gripping and tragic tale that appears on virtually every list of the greatest novels ever written. Readers fall in love with the captivating and flawed Anna as she leaves a cold marriage with a well-to-do Russian bureaucrat for a passionate affair with a young military officer. Contrasted with this triangle is the romance of Kitty and the landowner Levin. The novel leaves us with a riddle. Why was Levin able to find happiness, while Anna was not? Clues are found in the comparisons and contrast of the two capital cities of Russia.

On this Classical Pursuits voyage you will experience Russia in a uniquely deep and rich way. So even if you have travelled to Russia before, this trip will be new and exciting. Two veteran CP travellers described a recent Paris tour I led. We surrounded ourselves with the art of the Belle Epoque:

“Getting to know a place through a Classical Pursuits trip is like getting to know a person. We experience our surroundings with a kind of cultural intimacy, as the walking tours and museums visits infuse our understanding of the literature, and vice versa.”

Ilya Repin, detail of The Zporozhhe Cossacks Writing a Letter to The Turkish Sultan
Ilya Repin, detail of The Zporozhhe Cossacks Writing a Letter to The Turkish Sultan

“Looking at works of art with Sean is a revelation, and I rediscovered the Paris museums in way I never could have without his encouragement and instruction.”

I do hope you will join us in Russia in April 2014. We are going to immerse ourselves in the unequalled literature, painting, music, and ballet of Russia’s Golden Age. If you have any questions, please get in touch. seanforester75@gmail.com

Ivan Kramskoy, Portrait of Ivan Moiseev
Ivan Kramskoy, Portrait of Ivan Moiseev

Here is a link to the trip description and itinerary for Russia’s Golden Age: 19th Century Art, Literature, and Music in Moscow and St. Petersburg. We will be travelling from April 2-13, 2014. Here is why you should not delay: the trip is filling up; it takes several weeks to get a Russian visa (during which you need to surrender your passport); and flights for our travel dates are also filling up.

Ann Kirkland recently hosted a Russian tea at the Worldwide Quest office. She put together a slide show of Russian paintings/” we will see, along with a few photos of an earlier Classical Pursuits trip, set to Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Why don’t you brew yourself a cup of tea or pour a glass of something stronger and sit back and glimpse some of this extraordinary art?

Do svidaniya,

Sean

 

 

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