Romanticism originated in Europe during the end of the 18th century, but it's still well and alive today. Contemporary Russian artist Anna Razumovskaya manages to capture the romantic style of Renaissance portraiture in her own, modern way. As an artistic movement with emphasis on expressing emotion, the subject matter in paintings from Romanticism varied to include landscapes, religion, and portraiture, but the brushstrokes remained loose and expressive. Similarly, Razumovskaya's vibrant paintings beautifully depict the graceful elegance of the female form, and celebrate modern freedom.
The artist, who grew up during the height of the Cold War, experienced an eclectic mix between a strict, communist regime and the femininity of her fashion-conscious mother. Her stunning figurative paintings not only visualize powerful femininity, but also a love of creativity and expression—both in art and music. Many of her female subjects are depicted in motion, dancing, or with a string instrument in hand.
Having been classically trained at the Russian State University For Arts, Razumovskaya was able to develop her own style and perfect her painting techniques. Her large body of oil paintings combine subdued tones with bright pigments, and classic Renaissance techniques with abstract elements. This juxtaposition of classic and modern has allowed Razumovskaya to stand out as a successful contemporary artist and exhibit her work around the world—she even displayed her paintings at Artexpo New York earlier this year, and will do so again at the end of April 2020.
We recently caught up with Razumovskaya to ask more about her inspiration and processes. Read on for My Modern Met’s exclusive interview.
When did you first start painting?
I find this question quite amusing because during childhood it's almost impossible not to paint. I then took painting seriously back in Russia, during the high school years.
Your work is both classical yet modern. How did you come to develop your signature style?
The classical style came from the traditional Russian school of painting, while modern came from western values and freedom.
Femininity is obviously a huge theme throughout your work. Are there any women from your life who have inspired you?
The idea of modern women has always inspired me. Somehow life has allowed me to meet these incredible women who happen to be ordinary, everyday people—my friends, collectors, and strangers. I can't fully name these specific individuals who have inspired me on the subject of femininity, but I know that I simply had looked within myself.
Music is another prominent theme. Is music an important part of your life?
Back in my childhood, I used to play music, mostly piano. It carried through my art career. Music is just another one of the senses that I try to evoke in my art, and it creates a celebration of vivid colors, movement, and texture. I always have music playing in the background; it helps me fall into the mood where the painting paints itself.
Can you describe your process for making a painting? Do you reference life models?
Back to the femininity question, I use my friends or people I ask randomly to model for my work. I'm not trying to paint their portraits—I'm merely trying to capture the essence of a woman. My process starts from an idea first and trying to bring it into reality by staging my models in action poses. The reference photos are then edited, and the easiest and fun part begins, which is painting. I start first with a charcoal drawing which leads to color washed with oil and I end it by refining the details. The key here is to stop at the right time, where the painting looks almost undone.
Are you influenced by any other artists, past or present?
I'm influenced by Singer Sargent, Rubens, Rembrandt, Chagall, Boldini. At the same time, I don't want to be over-influenced by these artists, I want to keep my own voice.
Do you ever get creative block? If so, how do you move past it?
I never have a problem of what to paint, and if I ever feel like not painting, I pick up the brush and paint regardless.
Do you have any upcoming shows or projects you'd like to share?
We are continually participating in art exhibitions around the world. I just finished a very successful solo exhibition in Gallery D'May (Cape May, NJ). The next project is a series of 7 solo exhibitions in the United Kingdom, which will happen on October 15-20 this year . Then we are planning to participate in Art Miami Context this December. Next is our annual New York Artexpo at the end of April 2020. During Fall 2020 I have another solo exhibition in LaMantia Gallery (Northport, NY).
You may see Upcoming Exhibition schedules on the homepage of our website.