"Beautifully illustrated, full of incisive new readings of familiar paintings, Picturing Russia's Men excavates the innumerable ways in which the institutions of academy, army, and family shaped the male artist’s identity and output. With its blend of close reading, theoretical sophistication, and wide-ranging research, this fine study brilliantly dispels the common misperception that there is little more to be said about Russian painting of the nineteenth century."
Wendy Salmond, Professor of Art History, Chapman University, USA
"Engaging with a remarkable spectrum of behaviours, expectations, violations, and stereotypes, this book generates new understanding of masculinity and modernity by considering paintings as revelatory, questioning, and even constitutive of what it meant to be a man during a turbulent half-century of imperial rule."
Rosalind P. Blakesley, Professor of Russian and European Art, University of Cambridge, UK
"An important and eye-opening contribution to the Slavic field and our studies of modernism in Russia. Through an examination of male portraiture, it traces the breakdown, between 1825 and 1881, of various myths surrounding masculinity—from the solid heroic code of virtuous, courageous manhood to the ambiguities of doubt-ridden individualism."
Elizabeth Valkenier, Adjunct Associate Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia
There was a discontent among Russian men in the nineteenth century that sometimes did not stem from poverty, loss, or the threat of war, but instead arose from trying to negotiate the paradoxical prescriptions for masculinity which characterized the era. This book takes a vital new approach to this topic within masculinity and art historical studies by investigating the dissatisfaction that developed from the breakdown in prevailing conceptions of manhood outside of the usual Western European and American contexts. Drawing on a wide variety of source material, including previously untranslated letters, journals, and contemporary criticism, the book explores the deep structures of masculinity to reveal the conflicting desires and aspirations of men in the period.