Natalia Nesterova (Russian, born 1944) The Rape of the Sabine Women

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Lot 82*
Natalia Nesterova
(Russian, born 1944)
The Rape of the Sabine Women

Sold for £ 18,812 (US$ 24,731) inc. premium
Natalia Nesterova (Russian, born 1944)
The Rape of the Sabine Women
signed in Cyrillic (lower left); further inscribed with Cyrillic with artist's name, title and date '1985,' stretcher bearing a label of the USSR Arts Export Salon (verso)
oil on canvas
100 x 100cm (39 3/8 x 39 3/8in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Gallery 'Segodnia' ('Today'), in partnership with E.V. Vutchetich All Union Artistic Production Association, Moscow
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, c. 1990

    Literature
    A. Dekhtyar, Natalia Nesterova, Moscow, 1989, listed pp. 16, 95, illustrated pp. 64-65 (no. 41, 42)
    E. Nikitina, "Nesterova's Town," in Dekorativnoe Iskusstvo, Vol. 1, 2006, listed in text p. 27



    Beginning in the late 1970s, Natalia Nesterova's work becomes dominated by scenes of city life and parks, often complimented by historical, religious, and mythological subjects (Gogol's House, 1978, Summer Garden, 1982, Two-Faced Janus. Summer Garden, 1984, triptych Autumn in the Park, 1985). The Rape of the Sabine Women is a notable example within this spectacular myriad of paintings exploring the relationship between a human being and the city environment, and, perhaps, the relationship between a human and the art itself. The earlier of the known two versions of the same title, the present painting from 1985 conveys a passionate struggle of the mythological characters captured within a sculpture at the Summer Garden in St. Petersburg. The dynamism of the central composition is echoed in the rioting golden palette and movement of the trees in the background. Yet, the lower left corner of the canvas conveys a deeply contrasting sentiment expressed though melancholic movement of dark depersonalized figures. This contraposition is emphasized by the choice of palette which contrasts the worn out white of the marble sculpture to the golden background and the discoloured attire of the human group on the left. Nesterova's distinctive pasty brushwork becomes almost sculptural in the areas of the face of the young Sabine woman, the figure of a young Roman, and the headdress of the passing woman on the left, as if bringing the dramatic mythological scene to life within the frame of a casual rainy Autumn day in the park.

    According to E. Nikitina, Nesterova's 'city' cycles strive to examine the problem of interchanging values of being: "The theme, which may be defined as "humans vs. statues" and "living vs. dead" is being developed by the artist during the course of many years. The idea of inverted values, where the 'living' becomes the 'dead,' and the artificial, created by the 'living' exists in its own unique, mysterious world, clearly worries Nesterova.' (Dekorativnoe Iskusstvo, Vol. 1, 2006, p. 27). At the same time, The Rape of the Sabine Women ironically explores the relationship between a human and an artistic creation, - a classic sculpture, which may often go unnoticed by indifferent passers burdened by the lonely heaviness of everyday life.
Contacts
Natalia Nesterova (Russian, born 1944) The Rape of the Sabine Women
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