Wildfire in A. K. Denisov-Uralsky’s Canvases: Destinies of the Paintings
The article focuses on one aspect of the artistic work of Yekaterinburg-born painter, A. K. Denisov-Uralsky: the genesis and evolution of The Forest Fire. The article sheds light on the fate of this famous 1898 painting, including its exhibition history in Russia, its reproduction with the help of S. M. Prokudin-Gorsky (a pioneering specialist in colour photography), its appearance in the St. Louis World’s Fair, and its further reproduction and exhibitions while in the United States between 1904 and 1979. The article also documents the subsequent variations of the same motif, which the painter created for his 1911 exhibition The Urals and Their Treasures. The author further examines interpretations of the same theme by Russian and non-Russian artists who were predecessors and contemporaries of Denisov-Uralsky. The article analyzes the influence of Denisov-Uralsky’s painting on North American artists, by examining similarities in the composition and recurrences of the theme in works both by beginning painters and masters. Resulting from systematic research and analysis, the article makes apparent the significance of the wildfire theme in the work of Denisov-Uralsky. Artworks from the Yekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts are at the basis of such research, along with the works from world museums and private collections, which have yet to be scrutinized for the thematic history of wildfires. The comparison of artwork and approaches to the theme of wildfires allows for conclusions about the appeal of this artistic theme in general and of its interpretation in particular.
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