In Russian literature.

In Russian literature, too, we find very characteristic and vivid examples of such creativity. There are the sophisticated baroque work of Simeon of Polotsk and the political caricatures of Archpriest Avvakum (seventeenth century); the monumental mosaic compositions of Lomonosov (eighteenth century); the romantic landscapes of Zhukovsky and Baratynsky; the elegiac landscapes of Batyushkov; Gogol’s architectural sketches; the portraits, caricatures, sketches and illustrations to their own works left by Krylov, Delvig, Bestuzhev-Marlinsky, Odoyevsky, Venevitinov, Khomyakov, Ogaryov and Pavlova (first half of nineteenth century). Last but not least, there are the widely known drawings of Pushkin and Lermontov. Equally outstanding, though less publicized, are the paintings and graphic works by the authors of the second half of the nineteenth century: Turgenev’s characterological portraits; the realist landscapes and portraits of Grigorovich, Polonsky, Garshin and Korolenko; the unassuming sketches and pictures for children left by Leo Tolstoy; the archetypes of Dostoyevsky embedded in his manuscripts. Most demonstrative are the specimens dat¬ing from the early twentieth century, when drawing came to be regarded as a writer’s conscious and almost obligatory occupation: the artless caricatures of Blok; the symbolic paintings of Andreyev; the grotesque work of Andrei Bely; the visionary graphic work of Remizov; the refined watercolours of Voloshin; the “word-coining drafts” of Khlebnikov; the calligrams and “verse pictures” of Kamcnsky, Zdanevich and Kruchyonykh; the political posters of Mayakovsky, etc., etc.
Let us bear in mind that some authors left just a few drawings, whereas the legacy of others in-cludes hundreds and even thousands of drawings, engravings, paintings and posters. For some of the authors drawing was a rarely pursued amateur pastime; the public learned about it only after their ar-chives had been examined. For others it was a permanent, compulsive activity, sometimes a second vocation; and so their work was well familiar in their own lifetime. These authors liked to design their own books, they took part in art exhibitions. For some of them drawing – at least on the surface of it – was in no way linked with their literary work. In the case of others, it was an essential part of the crea-tive act. Yet, given the diversity of genre and scope, all these pictorial essays have something in com-mon: something that gives us ground to regard them not as elements of literary reality or creative psychology but as an aesthetic phenomenon in its own right.
This phenomenon arises in the borderland where pictures and words come into contact: they inter-sect, intermix, reverberate or at least correspond to each other, however far-fetched it may be. The essence of this phenomenon lies exactly in this interaction; the more dramatic and diverse the relation¬ship of depictions and words, the more spontaneously and vividly its creative nature comes across. As we observe this interaction, we seem to probe the very depths of imaginative thinking, at a level void of both depictions and words, where the imaginative idea is merely charged with the potential of mate-rial incarnation in one or another artistic idiom. At the same time, the mutual correspondence of the two art forms brings us up to their possible synthesis, manifested specifically in calligrams, “verse pic-tures” and ideographic posters: here the words are indeed inseparable from the pictures. The most fascinating thing is their peculiar interchangeability: either the word appears as the inner form of the depiction, or the depiction appears as the inner form of the word (e. g. the graphic essays of Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoyevsky and Khlebnikov).


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