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Timoshenko Lidia
"Youth of the Epoch"
27 June – 10 September, 2023
27 June – 10 September, 2023
Girl in Yellow Blouse. 1934
Girl in Yellow Blouse. 1934

On 27 June, the Museum of St. Petersburg 20th and 21st Century Art opens a retrospective exhibition of the outstanding Soviet artist Lidia Timoshenko.

The exhibition, dedicated to 120th anniversary of the master's birth, presents more than 200 works, including paintings, graphic works and prints, representing different periods of the artist's art from the mid 1920s to the late 1960s and revealing to us a bright and open personality possessing an uncommon talent.

The main theme of Timoshenko’s art of the 1930s was childhood and adolescence, representing  idea of Soviet romanticism. The captivating series of paintings glorifying youth belong to Lidia Timoshenko's highest achievements. With tender maternal attention she observes children and teenagers having a carefree time, bathing, playing and dancing, or working enthusiastically. Timoshenko's children images are truthful and natural; they are radiant and bright. They are in perfect harmony with nature, amicably living together. Simple mundane motifs in Timoshenko’s works turn into poetic odes to joy.

The dramatic events of her personal life, the tragedy of war, the hardest years spent in evacuation in Siberia and the Central Asia could not but affect the worldview and, as a consequence, the art of Lidia Timoshenko. It seems that the feeling of lightness of life, sounding so brightly and sonorously in her art of the 1930s, completely escapes from her art of the postwar years, fraught with intensified dramatism and tension. The former unrestrained exultation of the soul became replaced with a thoughtful, melancholic contemplation. The repertoire of motifs and themes changed decisively. During the 1940s-60s one of the main genres of Lidia Timoshenko was  portraiture. She has created a whole series of portraits of her contemporaries, near and dear to her, all of these characterized amazing psychological profundity.

A special place in the work of Lidia Timoshenko belongs to landscape. Even in her early paintings, quiet and desolate, one can see her fascination with nature.  More and more often, the motif of a vast plain and a road going into the far distance appears in the works of the late 1950s. There is something majestic and infinite, something very philosophical in these generalized pictorial views of nature

In the 1950s, Lidia Timoshenko turned to the theme of labor and produced a number of images that embody the ideal  creative personality. The artist depicted the interior of a factory shop, with women workers, close-up, with their typical, unpretentious movements. In that triumph of simplicity and artlessness, one can feel the the beating of the pulse of life itself.

The ink drawings of the 1930s astonish one with the artist's ability, with one stroke of the pen, sometimes with just a few cursory lines, to convey precisely and clearly the character of her models and capture the most important features of them, be it their childhood spontaneity and restlessness, their romantic youth or quiet wisdom acquired over the years.

During twenty years (1951-1958, 1960-1967), Timoshenko was working on a large-scale project, a cycle of illustrations for Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin. The work, in which she invested her whole soul, became another peak of the master’s carrier. Characterized by an expert knowledge of the  period and deep penetration into the material, Timoshenko's illustrations are perhaps the best artistic interpretation of Pushkin's text.

The exhibition discloses to the full extent the creative pursuits of Lidia Timoshenko, from the very first steps in art to the works of later years, all of these being a very wise and eloquent story of life.