Ev­ery­thing old IS NEW AGAIN

GUENNADI KALININE RECRE­ATES ITAL­IAN RE­NAIS­SANCE PAINT­INGS

The Hamilton Spectator - - Arts & Life - Regina Haggo, art his­to­rian, pub­lic speaker, cu­ra­tor, YouTube video maker and former pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of Can­ter­bury in New Zealand, teaches at the Dun­das Val­ley School of Art. dhaggo@the spec.com Spe­cial to The Hamil­ton Spec­ta­tor REGINA HAGGO

In fo­cus­ing only on the head and shoul­ders, Kalinine has painted what might easily pass for a Re­nais­sance type of por­trait, even if Lippi’s is not.

A CUS­TOMER asked Guennadi Kalinine, a Dun­das artist, to recre­ate some 15th-cen­tury paint­ings for him. Kalinine, al­ways ready for a paint­ing ad­ven­ture, took the plunge.

“I just tried to re­con­struct and re­build the se­quence of ac­tions of the orig­i­nal painter, and it brought a magic con­nec­tion and recre­ated the feel­ing of past times,” he tells me.

Kalinine, 60, painter and print­maker, im­mi­grated to Canada about 15 years ago. Trained as an artist in his na­tive Rus­sia, where he learned the art of icon paint­ing, he has re­stored and cre­ated im­ages for churches in Burling­ton and else­where.

He is prob­a­bly best known for his land­scapes and har­bour scenes. And he’s cre­ated some whim­si­cal nar­ra­tives in­hab­ited by an­gels and humans.

His lat­est se­ries is in­spired by the paint­ings of Ital­ian Re­nais­sance artists such as Bot­ti­celli, Filippo Lippi and Piero Pol­laiuolo.

In the past, an artist who faith­fully copied an older work was praised pro­fusely. Con­tem­po­rary post-mod­ernism says copy, but be faith­ful to your­self, not the orig­i­nal.

So Kalinine made mod­i­fi­ca­tions. In some paint­ings they are more ob­vi­ous than in oth­ers. The process was a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“First of all, I have to watch and learn the orig­i­nal art­work for hours and days while paint­ing a copy,” he says. “Most of the time, we don’t spend more than sev­eral min­utes in front of a paint­ing in a mu­seum. Some­times sec­onds. The process of copy­ing al­lows me to study the tech­nique of each mas­ter — lay­ers, brush strokes and colour.”

Kalinine’s “Af­ter Filippo Lippi”

comes close to a fe­male sit­ter in a head-and-shoul­ders pose. She is al­most in pro­file, ex­cept that a bit of her left eye and eye­brow is vis­i­ble. She sports an elab­o­rate hairdo and wears a fash­ion­able blue and white dress. She is placed in front of a blue win­dow-like frame that re­cedes to re­veal a land­scape that in­cludes a walled town on the right and a tiny red-roofed house and wa­ter on the left.

In the Lippi orig­i­nal, the woman is al­most a full-length fig­ure, hands clasped in prayer, seated on a cush­ioned chair. Kalinine has kept her halo and blue and white dress, which iden­tify her as the Vir­gin Mary. But Lippi makes her iden­tity clearer since she ap­pears in the com­pany of the Christ child flanked by two an­gels.

Kalinine has mod­i­fied the rocky land­scape to the right of Mary and cropped out a craggy moun­tain by mov­ing Lippi’s painted frame to­ward her.

More­over, Kalinine’s style is looser than Lippi’s, which looks more sculp­tural, more hard-edged. And Kalinine paints with acrylics, not tem­pera.

In fo­cus­ing only on the head and shoul­ders, Kalinine has painted what might easily pass for a Re­nais­sance type of por­trait, even if Lippi’s is not.

For “Af­ter Piero Pol­laiuolo,”

Kalinine turns to a Re­nais­sance por­trait. Pol­laiuolo painted the head and shoul­ders of an aris­to­cratic woman in a pro­file pose. Kalinine placed his sit­ter against a plain blue back­ground.

Pol­laiuolo set his sit­ters against skies with sub­tle clouds.

In this se­ries, Kalinine is work­ing on some­thing new — for him — bor­rowed from old. But that also ap­plies to the artists Kalinine works with.

In the Re­nais­sance, artists sought to recre­ate the art of an­cient Rome. The pro­file pose was one ex­am­ple of how they be­lieved — wrongly it turns out — they were re­viv­ing the style of old Ro­man painted por­traits.

As for Kalinine’s elab­o­rate frames, he made his own — in the mood of the Re­nais­sance.

For more in­for­ma­tion, go to gk­stu­dio.ca.

“Most of the time, we don't spend more than sev­eral min­utes in front of a paint­ing in a mu­seum. Some­times sec­onds. The process of copy­ing al­lows me to study the tech­nique of each mas­ter — lay­ers, brush strokes and colour.”

GUENNADI KALININE Fine artist

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF GUENNADI KALININE

Left, Guennadi Kalinine, Af­ter Filippo Lippi, acrylic on board. Pri­vate col­lec­tion.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF GUENNADI KALININE

Be­low,Guennadi Kalinine, Af­ter Piero Pol­laiuolo, acrylic on board. Pri­vate col­lec­tion.

PHOTO: GOOGLE ARTS & CUL­TURE

Filippo Lippi, Mary with Christ Child and Two An­gels, tem­pera on panel, circa 1465. Uf­fizi, Florence.

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