Maliavin grew up in the village of Kazanka in Samara province. The vivid and intricately patterned textiles seen in Maliavin’s work directly reflect the Kazanka peasants’ traditional clothes, while infusing an infectious cheerfulness. In Three Babas, the women are a jumble of rich colours and patterns; they are larger than life, filling the canvas to the edges and dwarfing the monastery and windmill in the distance. Most likely painted after Maliavin’s emigration in 1922, the work offers a nostalgic glance at the artist’s homeland.
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