Lot 8
  • 8

Sergei Aramisovich Essaian, b.1939

7,000 - 10,000 GBP
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  • Sergei Essaian
  • the pope's dinner
  • signed in Cyrillic l.r.
  • distemper on board
  • 60 by 80cm., 23¾ by 31½ in.


Moscow, P.L. Kapitsa Institute for Physical Problems, Solo Exhibition, 1965

Moscow Art Salon, Group Show, 1975

Catalogue Note

Executed in Moscow, 1964

Serge Essaian's works of the sixties and seventies are extremely rare. Loïc Chotard wrote of them that ''it is not the subject matter by which one immediately recognizes Essaian's work, it is the treatment of the pictorial space''.

His ironic protagonists, be they dressed as priests as in the present lot, or completely naked as in Cythera, presently on display in the State Russian museum, have invariably nothing in common with Soviet reality. In The Pope's Dinner space is strangely shifted. The objects depicted in the foreground appear as if they are removed from the horizon, while the background figures are much bigger than they ought to be. The normal perspective of post-renaissance space begins to break down Essaian's intensive theatrical work of the early eighties crystallised his sensitivity to spatial problems. These works contain high reliefs, where part of the image is seen as if 'through a looking glass', and part enters the space of the observer.

''I am enchanted by 'empty space', says the artist, ''and I am still purifying it. But I am not going to pollute it with sickles, hammers, black squares, and other props of an ethnic village.