What is “Revolt of fourteen“? From history of the Russian painting
the 19th century. In the Russian Imperial Academy of Arts academism - the direction based on following to canons of classical art dominates: chanting of forms of antique beauty, the Italian prospect (composition of the central event in the remote point), theatrical poses and gestures, mythological and biblical scenes.
About any realism there could not be also a speech: barefoot “Varka“ and emaciated “Barge haulers“ did not correspond to beauty standard recognized by Academy. Moreover, the educational institution submitted to the Ministry of the yard which could interfere freely with activity of the temple of arts, beginning with subjects of occupations and finishing creation of composition of a still life. Of course, the Ministry considered that it is much more favorable to the government if the artist writes some ephemeral to Psikhey, than a socially oriented cloth. So there passed time, the art directions and styles changed, and the Academy, according to I. Repin, continued to eat “the Roman art canned food“.
In 1863, by century of Academy, it was declared holding a competition on a prestigious award - the big gold medal granting to the winner the right on six-year-old a pensionerstvo in Italy and monetary encouragement. Only the most talented academists who are already awarded with a small gold medal were allowed to a competition. In total of applicants was fourteen : Bogdan Venig, Alexander Grigoriev, Nikolay Dmitriyev, Firs Zhuravlyov, Pyotr Zabolotsky, Ivan Kramskoy, Alexey Korzukhin, Karl Lemokh, Alexander Litovchenko, Konstantin Makovsky, Alexander Morozov, Mikhail Peskov, Nikolay Petrov and Nikolay Shustov. But the Academic Council it was decided to change traditional rules: the winner will be one, but not a little as earlier, both genre and historical painters will participate in competition together.
Chances of contestants were unequal - historical painting was held in respect among professors, and to genre treated with obvious contempt. Having felt accruing tension, the management of Academy made concessions: instead of a mythological or biblical theme artists - historians could represent any feeling, “for example: war, grief, melancholy for fatherland, pleasure and so forth“ (attempt of association of historical and genre painting). But such change did not satisfy participants.
On November 8, 1863 led by I. Kramsky artists submitted to members of council of Academy the derzostny application on the right of the independent choice of a plot. The management angered by such unprecedented liberty appointed to genre painters and historians a uniform plot from the Scandinavian saga - “A feast in Valgalle“. The subject was chosen not incidentally: after the publication of the trilogy “Hero of the North“ in Europe the Scandinavian mythology wins great popularity. So the Academy does not change the principles and follows the European cultural tendencies. Amendments to contestants it was not declared.
Without having received the answer, academists submitted the new application addressed to the prince Gagarin, vice-the president of Academy and the rector. And again there is no answer. At night before a competition meeting of fourteen artists - participants on which it was decided that in case of a rejection of petitions each of them will refuse participation in a competition took place and will submit the application for release from Academy and issue of diplomas about the end of study (“on house, or there to other reasons, I, such - that, cannot continue a course in Academy, and I ask Council to issue me the diploma corresponding to those medals by which I am awarded (signature)“). Statements were made by 13 artists - Pyotr Zabolotsky refused, instead of him the sculptor Vasily Kreytan acted.
At ten o`clock mornings on November 9, 1863, in a conference - the Academy hall the prince Gagarin declared a competition plot. Whether it is worth mentioning unpleasant surprise of artists? As a result all fourteen applications on refusal of participation in competition and the requirement of obtaining certificates laid down on a table of professors. Only one Zabolotsky expressed desire to participate in a competition on what received the sarcastic answer, “that a competition from one participant will take place cannot. You have a kind feeling to wait till next year“. In a year Pyotr participated in a competition, but “failed and then disappeared completely, having divided an unenviable share, prepared to people of unsteady beliefs“. (I. Kramskoy).
From Alma - the mater over which main entrance the inscription to “Free arts“ flaunted and where art was held down by rusty chains of the past, artists and the sculptor left with diplomas of the second degree and new courageous plans. This “cultural revolution“ was a fatal event for the Russian art: the critical realism arose, creativity was released.