Natalia Goncharova’s Mystical Images of War (1914)

October 26, 2012 - January 6, 2013

Drawing of angels

In 2012-13, a university-wide series of concerts, performances, courses, symposia, and other events will mark the centenary of the tumultuous premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s revolutionary ballet The Rite of Spring, presented in Paris in April 1913 by Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. For its contribution to the celebration, the Ackland Art Museum will exhibit Natalia Goncharova’s Mystical Images of War, a powerful portfolio of 14 lithographs published in Moscow the year after Stravinsky’s bombshell.

With their fascinating combination of primitivism and modernity, violence and redemption, Goncharova’s hybrid images, published just after the outbreak of the First World War, bring together many of the features that characterized the radicality of Stravinsky’s piece. Goncharova, one of the seminal figures in the Russian avant-garde, herself achieved great renown for her 1914 designs for the Ballets Russes’ Paris production of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Le Coq d’Or.

Image: Natalia Goncharova, Russian, 1881 – 1962; Mystical Images of War: Angels and Aeroplanes, 1914; lithograph, 12-13/16 x 9-3/8 in. Lent by Peter Nisbet.