Krasnaya Niva and MKhT -Московский Художественный Tеатр - Moscow Art Theatre
MKhT was founded in 1898 by two giants of Russian performing arts – Constantin Sergeevich Stanislavski, whose innovations in acting and the preparation and training of actors revolutionised the profession the world over, and the impresario, playwright and director, Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko.
Both men had long experience in the upper reaches of the Russian stage, which they were to use to great advantage in determining the direction of their new theatre and company. This meant a more accessible and natural approach to the staging of plays. Ticket prices would be affordable for a far greater proportion of the potential audience. Individualism among the actors was to be subordinate to a team ethos.
The theatre enjoyed a highly fortuitous partnership with Anton Chekhov, who was at the height of his dramatic powers during the early years of its establishment. The premiers of his ‘great’ plays (they remain world-wide theatrical standards to this day), ‘The Seagull’, (1898), ‘Uncle Vanya, (1899), ‘Three Sisters’ (1901) and ‘The Cherry Orchard’ (1904) were all directed (or, in the case of ‘The Seagull’, co-directed) by Stanislavski. They were very well received by the ticket-buying public.
The theatre still exists in Moscow to this day, renewed and reformed. Its in its 117th. season of performance, and its website is here. I was wandering past the theatre recently – it seems they are installing a sculpture of Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko nearby. Recently they were part of an installation in GUM for the Moscow Spring Festival, about which I wrote here.
The great Russian artist, Yuri Ivanovich Pimenov, contributed the graphics for an article about Ypres and the aftermath of the massive battles there in the First World War.
The full-page drawing to the right (above) is worthy of special note. It uses simple monochromatic effects to portray the burst of shells, perspective and engagement with the scene. The marching soldiers in the foreground walk by, heads bent, disregarding the shelling, the wounded, and the forest of crosses in the graveyard behind. There are more original graphics and reproductions of Pimenov paintings in further editions of Krasnaya Niva, here and here.