Masculinity and Modernity
in 19th-Century Russian Painting
(forthcoming from Bloomsbury in 2019)
The sense of disillusionment that grew among men across Europe and America in the nineteenth century has been called many things – a crisis in masculinity, the mal de siècle, even a psychological disorder called neurasthenia – but as a phenomenon it has gone largely unexplored outside the Western context. Masculinity and Modernity in 19th-Century Russian Painting explores this phenomenon by investigating how artists in the Eastern European centers of Moscow and St. Petersburg represented the lives of men as they underwent the cultural upheavals of the nineteenth century.
Taking a vital new approach to this topic, Masculinity and Modernity explores how Russian painters sought to depict the new psychological struggles associated with contemporary life. Close readings of individual paintings and some of the first translations of selected artists’ writings are interwoven with the environments of class upheaval and political change in which they were produced, forcing a reconsideration of a cultural center long considered peripheral to Western European discourse. In examining the artistic production of Russian artists, this groundbreaking book challenges some of the enduring myths of masculinity and provides a fresh interpretive history of what constitutes modernism in the history of art.