Mikhail Yu. Evsevyev
(St.Petersburg State University, Russia)

“I Am to Say Something… for the Future”.Nikolay N. Punin at the St.Petersburg University.

Nikolay N. Punin was an eminent Russian art critic, historian, theoretician, art worker and teacher (1888–1953). From 1907 to 1914 he attended St.Petersburg University in the department of literary studies and history. In 1923-1925 he gave a course entitled “Introduction to the study of artistic forms” in the department of Social Science of Leningrad (former St.Petersburg) University. In 1944 -1949, as a professor of art history at Leningrad University, he gave courses on the history of European and Russian art. These years represented the last act of his life’s drama. In August, 1949 he was arrested and died four years later in the Gulag camp of Vorkuta.
This presentation covers: essential characteristics of Punin’s analysis of oil paintings; his understanding of the nature of art; the war, siege of Leningrad, and the icy hell Leningrad became; Punin’s concept of the “paradigm of immortality” and the need to defend it; his hope that what he dreamed for future would come to pass (his term was “affirmation of the future”); Punin’s role as the voice and consciousness of the Leningrad Union of Artists (1944-1947); the August 1946 resolution of the All-union Communist Party Central Committee concerning the journals Zvezda and Leningrad and its effect on Punin’s professional life; Leningrad University as the last site of Punin’s professional career; and his monograph “Alexander Ivanov and the Russian School of Painting”.