Tag Archives: Kharkov

New home page image: Zinaida Serebryakova’s portrait of husband Boris

16 Jan

I recently discovered the painting of 20th-century Russian realist Zinaida Serebryakova (Зинаида Серебрякова). She was born into a part-French family of artists and lower gentry in eastern Ukraine, and lived a totally charmed life there and and in St. Petersburg, till the Revolution upended it all as it did for hundreds of millions others. Read about it.

I’ve totally fallen in love with her work, and that will probably convince many of what a hopeless sentimental philistine I am, plus a shameless idealizer of pre-Revolutionary Russia, plus a sexist. No problem. I’ll be posting one painting weekly on the Jadde home page till I’m through with my favorites.

First is her beautiful portrait of what must have been her very handsome husband Boris Serebryakov, who died of typhus in 1919, leaving her, at the worst of all political economic times, destitute and with four children.

Boris Serebryakov – Борис Серебряков – 1909


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Fixing the “mistake…” Joining Europe… Doesn’t this sound familiar?

16 Sep

“We are fixing the 350-year old mistake — Ukraine is Europe,” Arseniy Yatsenuk, the prime minister, told the Parliament, known as the Rada.

From a Times article today — Ukraine Moves to Strengthen Ties With Europe, and Bolster Truce — about the Ukrainian parliament passing “a series of laws…meant to cement the country’s Western orientation while strengthening its truce with pro-Russian separatists in the southeast.”

Being considered on the inside of the bounds of European civilization is not just what every civilized nation should aspire to, but being in a position external to Europe was always a “mistake” — a misconception, we really are and always were Europeans — and now we’re righting that misconception.  Nationalism is always creating new fictions that it passes off as the restoration of a pre-Fall condition.  And everybody buys it.

Go to Donetsk or Luhansk, go to Dnepropetrovsk…or Khar’kov or Poltava even, and tell me you feel like you’re in a place that even remotely resembles what you call or think of as Europe!



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