ㅤThe work of Alexandra Nedzvetskaya seems to be a significant phenomenon in the art space of modern St. Petersburg. This definition does not seem to be an exaggeration, since her paintings focus on the reasons for the relevance and relevance of the classical tradition in the conditions of a diverse and extremely complex culture of the third millennium that has already come. Here Alexandra Nedzvetskaya largely continues the approach to the form of a traditional thematic painting, where a large-scale holistic tradition, dating back to the art of the old masters, and the diversity of its perception in the artist's view of the time of the global "revaluation of values" seem to intersect. Her canvases somewhat paradoxically combine the principles of the academic school with its cult of a clear, strict drawing and a complete, honed plastic form, and the trust that is characteristic of our days in a reliable and aesthetically meaningful testimony about the world and man. In the foreign and domestic art of the 1970s and 80s, this line could be embodied in the external dispassion and protocol accuracy of hyperrealism or in the liberated play element of "holidays", "carnivals" and "performances", which became the leitmotif of the canvases of Tatiana Nazarenko, Olga Bulgakova and a number of other Moscow and Leningrad authors of the 1970s. While remaining faithful to the principles of the academic school, Alexandra Nedzvetskaya seems to be trying to return the tradition to its original harmonious integrity, but at the same time strives to make it consonant with the expectations, aesthetic preferences of a person of the twenty-first century. It is not by chance that in her subject works and nude images, in still lifes and landscapes, and, of course, in portraits, this harmony does not exclude disturbing intonations or light irony, in which the uniqueness of the vision of the modern author, his own assessment of a phenomenon, event, image is manifested. And, most importantly, these canvases always imply the need for co-creation, active participation of the viewer in comprehending the idea.
ㅤThe heroes and heroines of Nedzvetskaya are often presented at the moment of movement, only planned or stopped, when the plot is not fully disclosed, not described in detail. Similarly, the movement of a figure or a gesture of a musician or ballet dancer does not seem to belong to a specific moment, but rather to the space of eternity, where masterpieces of musical, scenic or pictorial art are born and will continue to live for centuries. So, we see the soloist of the Mariinsky Theater Alexandra Iosifidi at the moment of anticipating the ballet image that will still be created in the process of performing the dance. And in "Nocturne", playing a musical instrument seems to be addressed to the spiritual experience of mankind, where it is performing skills, coupled with the uniqueness of talent and genuine artistry, that bring to life immortal melodies of the distant and recent past again and again. The elegant golden decoration of autumn, slowly falling leaves appear as a memorable decorative accompaniment to the music of the "seasons" or a symbol, a metaphor of inspiration, its incomprehensible essence ... Here, by the way, another important aspect of Alexandra Nedzvetskaya's creativity reveals itself – the strong connection of her works with a significant and great tradition of Italian and Northern Renaissance art and the European tradition that inherited this tradition painting of the XVII century.
ㅤThe iconography of evangelical and ancient subjects, the carefully developed language of symbols, which retained its significance in the still lifes of Dutch or Spanish masters – all this serves as a source of inspiration for the St. Petersburg artist. However, we are not talking about borrowing certain recognizable figurative moves, but about the ability to make both the spatial and compositional ensemble of the picture as a whole, and a carefully executed detail that attracts the viewer's attention, a kind of key to understanding the author's idea. Here, again, the role of a hint is important, when the main thing remains outside the picture and is more implied, guessed. Together with the young heroes and heroines of Nedzvetskaya, we experience a significant event or give ourselves into the power of a fleeting, but vivid and memorable emotion.
Ruslan Bakhtiyarov
Candidate of Art History, employee of the State Russian Museum, Associate Professor of the A.L. Stiglitz SPGHPA, member of the Union of Artists of Russia, member of the International Association of Art Historians (AIS)
ㅤThe beauty of the naked body in her canvases does not seem to depend on the change of epochs and the trends of fleeting fashion. The changing surroundings, the inclusion of expressive decorative accents in the composition only confirm the inviolability of the canon of this chaste beauty. But even in this canon, the author's intonation is quite noticeable, the desire to find his own perspective of the image of the character of an ancient myth or medieval legend. Probably, here we can talk about the inner connection of the artist's creativity with the impulses that guided the passion for drawing in childhood, when the desire to create a world of her characters, her stories first manifested itself. And this aspiration persists now, in her subtle and multifaceted replicas of plots and images that are perfectly familiar to art lovers from museum masterpieces. So, the image of Danae, putting her palm under the rain of gold coins, seems quite modern just thanks to the subtle play of hidden meanings and meanings, where there is a place for both light irony and sincere sympathy of the author towards his heroine. A close acquaintance of the artist, carrying a plate with ripe strawberries, is seen against the backdrop of high mountains under a veil of fog… And this image, born no longer by a memory of antiquity, but by a direct life impression, is also somewhat allegorical. He implicitly reveals the indissoluble connection of majestic and beautiful nature and man, as if showing the reflection of this primordial greatness. And the heroine of "Bathhouse", a little naive in her spontaneity, or bathers caught on a moonlit night by the mirrored surface of the river, and very young girls who succumbed to the charms of dreams and fantasies, seem to continue another line in demand now, going back to the symbolism and modernism of the turn of the XIX and XX centuries. It is noteworthy that in the 1960s, this line in its close connection with the aesthetics of the quattrocento and the plastic principles of ancient Russian painting was continued by Dmitry Zhilinsky, an artist whose work, along with impressions from visiting Italy, its cities and museums, became a landmark for Nedzvetskaya, an enduring example of a combination of high craftsmanship and the height of a figurative task. And here we must recall the name of one of her mentors, a wonderful painter, teacher Igor Kravtsov, who also freely operated with techniques and styles of previous eras with a genuine deep insight into the essence of each of these large-scale creative phenomena.
ㅤThe most important guarantee of the significance of the figurative result, in my opinion, is the sense of proportion inherent in the St. Petersburg artistic tradition in addressing the trends and styles of past eras. This manifests itself in conscious self-restraint in terms of the selection of the same symbols and allegories that do not seem redundant in the space of Alexandra Nedzvetskaya's canvases, and in the very choice of the canvas scale. This was clearly manifested, again, in her portraits, where the necessary degree of monumentality of the image is always correctly found. The face and figure, taken slightly less than the natural proportions, help to convey to the image of an artist, musician or artist the necessary greatness, which, however, always seems natural, large-scale to the viewer himself. It should be especially emphasized the highest skill in depicting hands, which act as a significant element of revealing the spiritual world of the portrayed, the nature of his profession, interests. Nedzvetskaya is able to make both a gesture and the very position of the figure in the space of the picture an important factor in understanding the world of a person endowed with the gift of the creator. Firmly acquired academic drawing skills (note that Alexandra is a laureate of the All-Russian competition "Modern Academic Drawing") have become a necessary step to the fluency of this most important expressive technique, which opens up ample opportunities to identify what is commonly called the spiritual state of the model without emphasizing purely psychological moments. The drawing in her portraits seems soft, built on a subtle touch of the face or background – usually neutral or devoid of minor details.
ㅤOn the other hand, such canvases as "Allegory of Prosperity", "Margarita on the Patriarch's Ponds", "Weightless Notes" or the triptych "Time" are perceived by the author's reflections on the picture of the world of a modern person living in a vast and not having clear boundaries space of visual culture. The latter, by the way, accepts the genre of historical reconstruction, a kind of response to which Nedzvetskaya's colorful improvisations become. These are costumed fantasies that organically combine the signs of different countries and eras, and impressive staged duets, where the company of refined fragile girls is made up of formidable inhabitants of northern forests or African deserts. Perhaps it is especially important here to stop the Brownian motion of images that are on the border of genuine and virtual reality, to find a kind of freeze frame of hopes, aspirations, expectations and desires, often unconscious, but in need of fixation, including the "high syllable" of a masterfully painted picture.
ㅤThe author tries to listen to these expectations, to find the aesthetics of his time, despite all the bizarre transformations of the artistic consciousness that preserves the "symbol of faith" – a strong professional school. Ultimately, it turns out to be a necessary link between the highest achievements of the past and the aspirations of authors who are already seeking perfection through a difficult, often thorny path to the desired ideal in art and life. Fortunately, Alexandra Nedzvetskaya belongs to this cohort of creators, for whom persistent comprehension of the "letter" of tradition at some point turns into an insightful comprehension of the spirit of the past and present, which finds its foundations in the preservation and multiplication of genuine aesthetic and moral values.
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