Artwork by Nicholas Vasilieff

Nicholas Vasilieff was a Russian artist born in Moscow in 1887. The art of Nicholas Vasilieff is oriented toward expressing gender spaces in culture. Vasilieff’s early life in Moscow was marked by the Russian Modernist Movement and his proclivity towards expressionism. As he moved to the United States in 1923, he abandoned Russian Cubo-futurism in favor of a satirical style.
Nicholas Vasilieff’s paintings depicted cross-racial interaction and served as a source of cultural identity for people of various ethnic backgrounds. The artist has a large body of best artistic work that addresses issues that impact people’s social settings, including women.
Iconology, Iconography, and symbolism
Portrait paintings of women holding dogs

Upper-class woman with excessive makeup

Symbol associations

3. Introduction to the artwork

Space/ shape/ composition

Every shape shows the artistry of Nicholas and how his art portrays culture.

The painting sits foursquare inside the picture surface, filling its space with a powerful painterly image.

Color/ tone

The artist uses Eastern color for the painting which produces an illumination of the image.

The use and effect of the formal elements

4. Interpretation

Dahne Spain in his article “Gendered Spaces and Women’s Status” states that gendering was happening in every aspect of social life including in arts and museums. This statement resonates with the artwork of Nicholas Vasilieff where a woman holds a dog implying his role is restricted to domestication.

5. From the artwork, I would like the public to see the style of painting that Nicholas Vasilieff applies in this art because many of his other works are also the same. I would like to show the public about the strong gendering of roles that was happening in the 19th century. In this artwork, I would like the public to understand that women were assigned to specific functions and space in the society. For instance, in this painting, this woman is at home holding a white dog which shows the domestic roles that women were restrained to.

Work cited

Kramer, Hilton. “Art: Vasilieff Discovered Again.” The New York Times. N.p., 15 July 1977. Web. .

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