Classical Figures Plunge into Contemporary Life in Alexey Kondakov’s Era-Blurring Paintings

Classical Figures Plunge into Contemporary Life in Alexey Kondakovs Era Blurring | RetinaComics

All images © Alexey Kondakov, shared with permission

Alexey Kondakov stretches the notion that art is timeless. In his uncanny Art History in Contemporary Life series (previously), Kondakov plucks figures from neoclassical and romantic paintings and places them into modern settings, blurring era, style, and medium.

Kondakov primarily works with backgrounds he’s photographed throughout his native Kyiv and other European cities including Berlin, Milan, and Naples. Often laden with graffiti and modern conveniences like electric stovetops and vehicles, the harsh, urban settings counter the soft, angelic characteristics of the Old Masters. In one work, the spirited trio in Ferdinand Leeke’s “Fleeing Nymphs” dashes across a misty street, while another depicts Alexandre Cabanel’s “Desdemona” sitting unamused with two empty cocktails on the table in front of her.

Given Russia’s ongoing war within his home country, the artist has been working more slowly the last few years, although he released a book collecting his pieces titled An Imaginary Adventure in 2021. “After the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, it took about half of the year to bring myself back to work, and it took about a year to return to a normal working flow. Now I am full of hopes and ideas,” he says.

Prints and a few copies of An Imaginary Adventure are available in Kondakov’s shop. Find more of his art historical juxtapositions on Instagram.

 

a woman painted in a classical style sits at a table with empty wine glasses containing ice, fruit remnants, and straws

a woman painted in a classical style looks longing out of glass doors covered with graffiti and dirt

a small angel painted in a classical style sits on a dirty countertop with an embedded stove and dirty dishes surrounding him

left: a a woman painted in a classical style rides the subway with modern passengers. right: two people painted in a classical style embrace int he street in front of a motorbike and sheets dangling from a balcony

a man with a flowing red garment shoots a basketball at a hoop with graffiti and infrastructure in the background

left: three classical women dance in the nighttime street. right: an angelic woman walks through an ill-lit building with orange tiles on columns

an angle holding flowers floats in the air near classical architecture

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