Russian Art

Tatlin, V. E. Sailor. 1911

Sailor. In his self-portrait, "Sailor," Vladimir Tatlin uses the flattened, simple forms of Neoprimitivism to portray his youthful experience as a sailor. The separate, almost architectonic parts of the face foreshadow elements of the revolutionary Constructivist movement, which he led. Like many Neoprimitivist painters, Tatlin also drew upon Russian icon painting. The two figures floating behind Tatlin's head in the "Sailor" refer to the miniature scenes from the life of a saint often found on the frames of portrait icons. (see "St. Nicholas" (1250s) or "St. George and the Dragon" (1300s) in this ImageBase). The circle formed by the sailor's collar, the two figures, and his hat which fits neatly inside of the square frame also recall icon compositions. (00702)
Copyright ©. George Mitrevski. Auburn University.