This work was executed in 1912.
A gifted musician as well as a painter, Alexander Bogomazov believed that rhythm was the basic structural element of the universe, controlling colour, line, word and sound. The artist explores these musical analogies in Shoemaker’s Shop where large patches of colour work as major chords, the fence is reminiscent of piano keys and the tree serves as a gigantic treble clef, orchestrating the whole picture.
While at first glance Shoemaker’s Shop seems rather still and uneventful, the contrasting planes of colour and intersecting lines create an inner rhythm that brings the scene to life. Stripped of all superfluous detail the picture becomes at once more powerful. In reducing his composition almost to a pictogram, Bogomazov explores the relationship between shape, colour and line and by these relatively limited means is able to create space, movement and narrative.
As he explained in 1914 in the analytical work Art and its Elements, “A picture is the sum total of signs that hide in themselves the aesthetic emotions of the artist.”
The reduction of objects to simple geometrical forms as seen in Shoemaker Shop is a definite step towards such renowned works as Tram from 1914 (fig.1) where these forms are juxtaposed against each other, to create vitality and speed.
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