Saint Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions, Russia
Two artistic movements that are called today School of Sidlin and Temple Wall School represent a consistent line in the development of visual art in the 20th century — beginning of the 21st century. Its origin is the oeuvre of Osip Abramovich Sidlin (1909–1972). Sidlin was a remarkable pedagogue and philosopher who not only taught his students the craftsmanship but also introduced to them painting as plastic art and philosophy of existence. When he was a student of the Academy of Arts Osip Sidlin visited classes of the leading masters of Russian avant-garde: A. Savinov, K. Petrov-Vodkin, A. Os’merkin and K. Malevich. Following this experience Sidlin created his own art school and to a certain degree his own style. Since 1935 Sidlin taught at the graphic studios in the Kapranov House of Culture and at the Ilyich (Lenin) House of Culture in Leningrad. The pre-war period of the School of Sidlin was called “Inspiration from the Old Masters”. 1949 marks the second phase, called “The Dark Period”. The third period lasted from 1960 to 1967, called “Inspiration by Distemper Art”. It is defined by contrasting bright colours. Severity, force and tension were replaced by restraint and tranquility. The works of Sidlin’s students reflect the finesse of wall painting, make apparent the weightless and unearthly beautiful colors and the velvet softness of noble and almost pastel shades. Then comes the time of the fourth period, “A la Fresco”, that lasted up to Sidlin’s death in 1972.
The essence of the School of Sidlin is most precisely set forth in his own words, “Back in the old days there was the wall painting but then bourgeoisie and lower middle class promoted the easel painting. The latter is in fact degradation of art. (The real) Painting is a wall (painting).” After master’s death his student Y. Nashivochnikov brought together the young artists and they set up a new school called Temple Wall School. These artists turn away from the compromise of easel and monumental painting and go back to the monumental painting, considering this the main trend of the School of Sidlin. Artistic and aesthetic principles of the works of School stem from the traditions of Byzantine and ancient Russian wall painting, thus revealing the actual merging of contemporary and eternal.