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1. Dreaming of the City: Mikhail Larionov’s Provincial Dandy 1907

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses Mikhail Larionov's painting called Provincial Dandy. The Dandy, according to Charles Baudelaire's celebrated essay of 1863, 'The Painter of Modern Life', is an urban creature of refined sensibility, at the same time an observer of city life as well as an active participant within it. In Provincial Dandy, Larionov deliberately emphasised the crudity of the Russian street, especially when compared with the elegance of the Tuileries Garden in Paris. The gender issue at work in this painting contrasts the femininity of fine clothes for women with the military bearing of men in sharp, smart apparel. Manet has a place in Larionov's painting. Neo-Primitivism is also in there, as are the life of the city and issues of national identity. Artificial light, glamour, entertainment, theatre, and the urban vitality of far-off Paris are recalled and transformed by Larionov into something cruder and rougher.

Keywords: Charles Baudelaire; Mikhail Larionov; Neo-Primitivism; Paris; Provincial Dandy; Russian street; smart apparel; The Painter of Modern Life; Tuileries Garden



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