Lectures with Dr. Gábor Tamás Rittersporn
Director for Research and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris
What is a Samovar? The Russian Crisis, the Soviet Adventure, and the Post-Soviet Enterprise in Paintings Featuring an Innocuous Water-Boiling Device
Russian, Soviet and post-Soviet painters have been busy painting samovars since the early 1840s. At first sight, no occupation could seem more innocent. Yet a closer look reveals that the object of such paintings was and is not a simple water-boiling utensil for most artists—so much so that they have often neglected and continue to neglect the forms and materiality of the samovar and the singular light effects it may produce. Indeed, many a painter has had the intention of conveying a message through placing a samovar or two in pictures. Thus even samovars, which have not really been intended to speak, tell volumes about Russian, Soviet and post-Soviet history, culture, society, and politics.
Sponsored by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies; co-sponsored by the program in Russian and East European Studies, College of Arts and Letters, and Department of History.