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Three anniversary exhibitions at the Lending Department of the Library

Date: 21.07.2014

July 12th was the 130th anniversary of the legendary Italian painter Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920). Amedeo Modigliani was born in a prosperous Italian family but left his family and his country to spend life of an artist in poverty in Paris in the beginning of the 20th century where his friends and foes were Matisse and Picasso, Soutine and Brancusi. The young Italian managed to form his own unique style working among those masters of art, the style full of restrained energy and uncovered sensuality. His creative take-off was interrupted by his death caused by meningitis at the age of 35 and only after his death he became recognized and the works that he had not been able to sell for a penny adorned the best museums of the world. The focus of the attention of our exhibition was the romantic story of relations between Modigliani and Anna Akhmatova, the book “Akhmatova. Modigliani. Faces” and also the documentary novel by B. Nosik “Anna and Amedeo. A Secret Love Story of Akhmatova and Modigliani, or a Picture in the Interior”.

An outstanding writer Isaac Babel (1894-1940), whose 120th anniversary was celebrated on July 13th, is a figure that is still being surrounded by many controversial and sometimes mutually exclusive evaluations and opinions. The character of the author of “Red Cavalry”, “Odessa Tales” and the play “Sunset” often seems to be out of focus as old photographers would say. The victim of a terrible carnage of the 1930s he died in 1940, the manuscripts of a number of his novels were destroyed and his name was deleted from the literature for a very long time. So who was Isaac Babel? We proposed to look for the answer to the question together with the world-known Russian-speaking Israeli writer David Markish who presented in his novel “Stat Lyutovym” a mythological version of Isaac Babel’s life. This novel is a brilliant example of a novel written in a genre of a so called Romanized biography. “Lyutov” already became a sensation in literature even as a magazine publication.

On July 25th an outstanding actor, film director and writer Vasily Shukshin (1929-1974) would be 85. Vasily Shukshin brought to the world literature a new character – a strange wise man, a loser in an everyday life, a dreamer and an unusual philosopher from the upcountry. It was Shukshin that became a true and visible personification of the Russian national character mostly, of course, through his films – “They Fought for Their Country”, “Osvobozhdeniye”, “The Snowball Berry Red”, “Pechki-Lavochki”, “By the Lake”, “Dauria” and many more. Unfortunately, his novel “I Have Come to Give You Freedom” about Stepan Razin was not adapted for the screen because of his death. The work on that novel is described in the book “The Heart’s Chronicles” by Shukshin’s close friend, the actor Georgy Burkov. For him as well as for the writer Vasily Belov and the film cameraman Anatoly Zabolotsky, who were the authors of the book “The Heaviness of the Cross. Shukshin in Shot and Behind the Scenes”, Vasily Shukshin was a cultural phenomenon that did not fit into the usual frames of memoirs. Shukshin is a phenomenon of Russia’s spiritual future.