Mary, p. 81: futurism

February 13, 2010

As they ride to the consulate to obtain Podtyagin’s visa (a quest which will fail because Podtyagin has left his passport on the tram), Podtyagin relates to Ganin a dream of St. Petersburg and the river Neva in which he recalls that the “houses  had sloping angles as in a futurist painting.”  Russian futurism was a literary, artistic, and social movement deeply connected with Italian futurism; both movements celebrated innovation over tradition, speed, movement, and the interplay of angular and fluid forms.  The most important painters in the movement include David Burliuk, Mikhail Larionov, Natalia Goncharova, and Kazimir Malevich.  I haven’t been able to locate a specific painting Podtyagin might be referring to, but perhaps he is thinking of something along the lines of Larionov’s “Chout” (1921), a set design piece.



  1. It reminds me of a Russian documentary that came out in the 1920s: “Man With a Camera” a frenetic, energetic portrayal of urban Soviet life that I think could set within this movement. (Saw it at the San Francisco Film Festival in the late 1990s).

    • I’m going to check this out; thanks for the lead.

  2. Just a little note.”river Nevski” is incorrect. Correct`s “river Neva” and “Nevsky prospect”.

    • Thanks; I will make this correction. Much appreciated.

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