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Russian “National Revival” Art Journal

Baian: khudozhestvenno-istoricheskii zhurnal [Baian: an art-historical journal]. Ten issues in six volumes (all published).

Moscow: Tov. “Obrazovanie”, 1914. Octavo (27 × 18 cm). Original decorative card wrappers; ca. 70 pp. per issue. About very good; wrappers somewhat fragile; one issue with recent professional repair to spine.

Complete set of a “National Revival” art history journal, which aimed to bring Russian artistic and architectural heritage to a broader audience of “art practitioners” as well as “art lovers”. The journal is richly illustrated with photographs of a variety of art objects and architectural monuments with special attention to architectural detail. The wrapper design reflects the publication’s interest in Russian “native primitivism” as well as decorative arts. The mood of “national revival” began to spread in Russia in the mid 1830s, with a growing interest in art and architecture going back to a time before the modernizing efforts of Peter the Great (1672-1725). “Baian” in the title of this journal references the national bard figure mentioned in the twelfth-century national epic “The Lay of Igor’s Campaign,” which became a symbol of Russian cultural heritage.

The articles in the publication focus on monuments of Russian antiquity and early modern period, archeology, religious architecture such a detailed discussion of the Solovetsky monastery (subsequently infamous as a GULAG outpost) and a variety of the holdings of the Moscow Kremlin. Contributions to the issues came from members of the Moscow Society of the Study of Antiquity at the Moscow Archeological Institute. The brother and sister team of art historians Zinaida Shumarina and Iurii Shumarin (who was also the head editor of the publication) were especially active contributors to the publication. In addition to their publications in Baian, Shumarins published monographs on the artistic heritage of Moscow, Novgorod, Kaluga, Tver, Tula etc. The journal ceased publication with the outbreak of the First World War when Iurii Shumarin volunteered for service. (See Hanna Chuchvasha, “Art Periodical Culture in Late Imperial Russia 1898-1917”, pp. 51-66).

As of January 2021 KVK and OCLC show complete sets only at Harvard, NYPL, MOMA, Frick, Wisconsin, and Stanford.

Book ID: 51207

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