The painter, graphic artist and poet Vladimir Yashke (1948 – 2018) is a legendary figure of the St Petersburg underground of 1980-1990s. His experiments with color and form in a Post-Impressionist spirit testify to his eternal search, demonstrating the depth and versatility of his talent. From 1985, Yashke was a member of the Mitki group, but after a while he withdrew from it and continued his own creative “voyage.” Any groups and movements were too narrow for the artist.
The artist lived in a romantic world of the works by the classics who were his teachers, Dürer, Rembrandt, Rivera and Favorsky; for inspiration he turned to the lofty themes of the Renaissance, finding it in the works of Dante, Petrarch and Cervantes. The result was his own “Renaissance” placed in the context of his native culture.
His art is imbued with love and kindness; his works radiate the unbridled, sparkling optimism of the profound enjoyment of life inherent to the artist. Such a life requires inspiration, as well as Muse. Yashke’s muses were not always personified, different female characters existed in the kaleidoscope of passions, love and admiration. From the 1990s on, the “beauty” Zinaida Morkovkina occupied the cenral place in Vladimir Yashke’s gallery of female images.
From childhood, Yashke was captivated by romantic stories of travels and the sea. The Crimea and Sevastopol became the embodiment of his dream of mysterious countries washed by oceans. Crimean landscapes immerse the spectator into a world where reality is intertwined with fantasy, where a southern town "climbing" over mountain slopes appear either as the fantastic Zurbagan created by Alexander Grin, the romantic author of Yashke’s generation, or the scorched steppe as a refuge for nomadic gypsies.
St Petersburg occupies a special place in Yashke’s oeuvre. The city became the abode of his soul. The scenes born by the artist’s imagination, now down-to-earth, now theatrically donned, are a reflection of the wonderful world around the master, inhabited by reckless bohemian vagabonds, beautiful women and lofty artists and poets.
Into this colorful pictorial “feast of life” are woven still-lifes, portraits, genre scenes and fantastic visions of the artist.
The exhibition includes more than sixty paintings by Yashke from the State Russian Museum and several private collections.