signed at the back
oil on canvas
72 x 100 cm
The painting "Still life with a bowl" is a creation of a deeply national artist, a poet of the Russian countryside, Vladimir Stozharov. It is one of the most characteristic motifs for Vladimir Fedorovich, who skillfully portrayed the details of the ordinary peasant life and had an incredible, treasured ability to see beauty in ordinary things and to convey it to the canvas virtuously. Born in Moscow, nevertheless, being associated with the village from early childhood, the artist was fascinated by the old times. Still life attracted the artist throughout his creative career, and this was especially evident after his trips to the towns and villages of the North, where Stozharov has discovered his artistic path finally found his niche and developed his unique features. In the works of Vladimir Fedorovich, in particular in the "Still Life with a bowl", the past turns into something almost tangible and recognisable, but it is done without pompous patriotism, loud statements, and pathetic exclamation, but on the contrary, in a more modest, truthful, natural way. In every detail of the still life, you can feel the comfort and warmth of home. The items of traditionally Russian peasant life, depicted in the still life of Stozharov, acquire a status worthy of admiration, being placed on an imaginary pedestal, because they represent a rich, established practice and culture of people who used to live in the old days. This connection of times is a deeper motive, the subtext that passes through all the art of Stozharov, thereby distinguishing it with astonishing integrity, in other words, inner unity.
"Still life with a bowl" contains a certain monumentality of the composition, its intensity and power, tangible objectivity and underlined rough, authentic texture of peasant household utensils. Still lifes of Stozharov often represent simple, rustical food, as in this case, eggs, and possibly the dough preparing itself in the pail. Generous abundance is one of the qualities that the artist tries to convey through the composition system and the choice of objects as a component of the traditional understanding of rural Russian life, but also the feature of the Russian character or soul. Excitement from and fondness of the Russian antiquity, the national flavour, admiration for household items that are inseparable from the people, expressed even through technique and artistic style of Vladimir Fedorovich. Cultural and material over-abundance is conveyed metaphorically through a dense, thick layer of paint as if burdening the canvas. The breadth of the soul, the breadth of peasant life is transferred to the breadth of the artistic approach of Stozharov, thus, reflecting his own views on the subject matter. The artist's outstanding colouristic gift was also developed by Russian artists of the Moscow school, whose work Vladimir Fedorovich held in great respect. He used to mix colours in a thick, saturated manner, using the effect of impasto extensively in his paintings and creating a buoyant, full-bodied colouring. Warm palette dominates the painting, especially the expressive nuances of freshly chopped wood walls of a country house. Dark browns, bright flashes of red, golden reflections, elements of contrasting ice-blue and white - all the characteristic hallmarks of Stozharov's still lifes are present here, in the "Still life with a bowl".
A constant attribute of the artist's still lifes is an old, shabby, grungy table made from dark wood. A black-flattened vessel made of clay, which had been coloured by smoke in the process of firing, a wooden tub for fermentation of dough, a traditional (lubyanaya) painted wooden spoon, a clay pot - Stozharov has created symphonies of Russian peasant life, collecting objects that most fully express the spirit of the nation. The artist himself, following his heart, as well as for practical reasons, collected such peculiar and unique things, which included, among other things, spinning wheels, wooden buckets, a variety of folk clothing. Detailed acquaintance with the objects of Russian rural life allowed the artist to achieve particular accuracy, authenticity, the right atmosphere in his works. Stozharov has painted many still lifes, varying the items depicted, modifying the combination, however, this composition is special as it exists in two slightly different versions, one of which is presented in the State Russian Museum.