The new graphic exhibition of the Tretyakov Gallery is timed to coincide with the upcoming 150th anniversary of Konstantin Somov (1869–1939) — a painter and graphic artist belonging to the pleiad of the brightest figures of the Silver Age.
The peculiarity of this exhibition is that it is composed of three chamber solo exhibitions of famous artists — Konstantin Somov, Nikolai Sapunov, Sergei Sudeikin — united by the theme of Harlequin. It was in their fate and art that the “harlequin” Silver Age found its most consistent and perfect embodiment and it pretty much reached its limits in their art.
For that era, the figure of Harlequin is a metaphor that embodies the spirit of the time, intoxicating and bitter irony of the culture of the fin de siècle (fr. “end of century”). Artists and poets not only created new interpretations of the characters of commedia dell’arte, but also identified themselves with them. Each artist represented at the exhibition has his own image and look for Harlequin. For each of them, the Harlequin mask is important as a special attribute that forms his art, as a certain indicator of his personal and creative position. They often depicted themselves and each other in the image of Harlequin.