Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova has a special place in the history of the Russian art. She is the ‘mother’ of the Russian Avant-garde, a movement which gained international fame and importance for the Russian national school of painting. Goncharova was truly a pioneer; the first Russian female painter to participate in the Paris Salon d’Automne and the first woman to work with Sergei Diaghilev on his Ballets Russes.
In Crucifixion the soft colours and feathered strokes of Goncharova’s impressionist period are combined with the bright colours and uneasy rhythm of the static, contoured figures.
The tragic figure of Jesus Christ with Larionov’s expressive features echoes the catastrophic events of the beginning of the century; the defeat of the Imperial army and navy during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) and ‘Bloody Sunday’ of 1905. The grief of thousands of Russian families is symbolised by a mourner to the right of the cross and Larionov’s features on Christ’s face convey the universality of this loss.
Goncharova seldom exhibited this work, one of the most daring, expressive and, arguably, prophetic works of her early oeuvre. At present, it attracts much interest and has become the focus of attention for specialists, art lovers and collectors more than 100 years after its creation.
The Crucifixion is being auctioned off at Christie’s and is estimated to sell for $2,968,500 – $4,947,500.