The Gift of a Promise
Three summers ago, I made a solemn vow to my Russian-artist friend, and to myself. It was a promise that we both shared silently, somewhat passionately — to fulfill the promise that is art. That promise is, itself, a gift, a form of art.
I would try my best to continue to give “love to my art”, as she stated. This woman was a survivor of many things, Communist Russia being but one of them. She confided to me the truths that so many Americans have yet to learn. She spent her time during our too-brief but oh-so-poignant association teaching me many truths, and I, a much older woman, soaked up every aspect of what she said and did not say.
How she was not able to learn about Dimitri Tiomkin because he was “an enemy of the people.” I immediately set about to school her in not only the music of the man, but the promise he’d fulfilled — the promise of his art — beyond Mother Russia.
And how she gave love to her art in ways that profoundly affected me. As I now observe the sanctioned toppling of works of art in the public square, I ask myself:
Are the paintings next?
My artist friend loved landscape painters, even though she was not able to become one. It was difficult for her to gain the greatest level of satisfaction from her unique talents for ceramic painting, in the way that she wished to: she had always yearned to create large canvases. My essay, “Short Story or Novel”, was one that she read repeatedly. I hope that she, at last, came to appreciate the grandeur of her painting in miniature, an art form that became lost somewhere in the past of her native land.
So many things became lost — or purposely misplaced, or otherwise “memory-holed” in the nation that she loved more passionately than her art. It is true that you can take the artist out of Russia, but you will never take Russia out of the artist. She brought light into the world, especially when that world was filled with darkness.
She told me that when she learned of my childhood, and about my life, that she wept. And I wept — to know of her ability to feel the losses of someone who was born in freedom, and then had to fight to live in that freedom. My friend was not born in freedom. She was, in many ways, born under a star that could not fully shine. The interplay of light and shadow that she exquisitely mastered was her soul speaking with pigments and with shapes and forms.
It was, and is, a sad and savage world for anyone to be gifted with talents that cannot fully bloom because of thugs in government who use art and culture to further their despicable despotic ends, even if it means destroying that art and culture. The ignoble consent of democratically-elected politicians to permit the destruction of works of art — in the very society that granted to them the right to live freely, is nothing short of vulgar. Vengeance is the Lord’s, and, this time, I am more than willing to wait for the Almighty to do His wondrous work.
With great excitement, during the winter of 2016, my Russian-artist friend went to an art exhibit in London — to learn about the Russian art of the era just before the Revolution. That art was cynically and ghoulishly used during post-1918, by Lenin and by Stalin, as propaganda. I realized, at that time, how this young woman was ardently attempting to piece together the history of her beloved country, as she tried to fulfill her artistic genius, before she died. She’d been deprived of so much of the past of her homeland, and that past is a palette from which any true artist works.
Are the paintings in the galleries of London, and America — across the West — the next soundless victims in the purge of civilized history? One of the most sublime purposes of art is to express, through imagery and symbols — worlds that no longer exist. When art is gone, the civilized world is gone. The entire history of the genesis of the Matryoshka doll is a lesson in how a people can sense the political devastation of their world, in moral, artistic and cultural terms.
Many individuals may wonder how the spoiled-brat anarchist came to be in the worlds of Europe and America. The ghetto was historically known to have bred violent males, even females, whose stock-in-trade was the wilding of the world beyond them. The mob of nihilistic coddled rich punks is fairly new in American life and, I daresay, in Europe.
I experienced more than a few of these appallingly ignorant and vile creatures when they were very young, in the obscenely materialistic middle-class suburbs of the 1990s. One of them became, as I put it, “mangled” by his mother, a woman who was covertly anti-social but was too lily-livered to act out on her own against American society. She reared her male child to do the dirty work for her.
Such acting-out has taken on proportions of murder, in the name of faux-virtues peddled by panty-waisted corporate heads who, just within the past week, lost whatever heads they had — in a global panic attack over posturing the Wrong Ad-speak, to peddle merchandise made with Foreign Slave Labor.
That nihilist-in-training tot of the 1990s started out “attending” a “pre-school” that was run like a lunatic asylum. No rules, no boundaries, no limits, no borders to restrain the brain or stifle the creativity of this anxious, agitated, scared and confused little boy. For an hour, he was not merely allowed, but was encouraged, to run wild in the playroom, bouncing off of walls, kicking objects, letting off steam.
Now, it seems to me, if a 4-year-old has that much aggressive steam to let off, the hand that rocks the cradle has just ruined her world.
And that observation was all-too-true. Less than decade later, this suburban snob was shocked when her little darling was kicked out of public school, since, by that point in time, he had become a juvenile delinquent. She had to place her adolescent ruffian son into the County Home Study Program that, seven years earlier, I had joined to home-school my son so that, as she’d spat at me, I could make a misfit, like me, of my child.
Projection is not just for protestors!
When I learned of this desperate measure that was, in any event, too late, I did a very unexpected thing. By that time, I was living in the country, away, far far away from the godless materialism of the Suburbs. I very silently prayed for that adolescent who, for all I know, is currently toppling a statue or two of dead people who can’t fight back.
My Russian friend understood from her own childhood years the true meaning of anarchy and persecution and the betrayal of civil liberties, of any liberties! By the dawning of her adulthood, she’d studiously trained herself as an artist of extraordinary skills, but then suffered one setback after another, after another. She learned to fight, in her own way, to survive, and to live beyond the trauma, but, at heart, this native of Stalingrad was not a fighter. She was an introverted, gentle person, almost shy.
My vow to her, to her memory, to her art, and to the future of art is to honor the artists of her homeland, painters who saw life and painted from that life some of the most glorious works known to mankind.
What is known to mankind is the vast repository of emotions — and the visions woven from those emotions. Those visions produce art, amidst the history of life. No oeuvre is perfect, and neither is history. The faults and foibles and folly of mankind are embedded in history. Art attempts to elevate that history into a sphere of celestial inspiration. Only people bound for hell undertake the ravaging of art, the rape of a civilization. The amoral zealots of today cannot create, only destroy. The future, without them, will yield even greater art, from even more gifted artists.
The anarchists are, themselves, pawns of the banksters-behind-the-scenes, the anti-John Galts who do not hold up Atlas, but crudely and brutishly knock him down. The peon champagne-socialist zealots cause the chaos that the evil master-minds have been banking on for their bottomless pit of profit and diabolical hatred of Western Civilisation. Those wretched beasts will eventually receive their own version of hell. At present, the devil does not want any competition.
Justice is swifter at some times than at others. King Louis XIV’s Versailles had better look out for the modern mob. And that statue of Atlas in Rocky Center — let’s see how fast that one gets torn and torched by those snotty tokens of One-World tyrants. I think the Atlas, indoors, in Naples is safe, for now. Keep the media away and antiquity might be okay.
This gift of a Western artist to a Russian artist is secured, safely, in my heart. The noble spirit of a true Russian artist shall live forever.