A Conservative Russian Lion With Real Mass Influence – The Painter Ilya Glazunov | Russian Insider

 

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Source: A Conservative Russian Lion With Real Mass Influence – The Painter Ilya Glazunov

While I’m on Russian Insider: an interesting article on an interesting individual!

“In contrast to the values of the marketplace, [Glazunov] calls for placing spiritual and political ideals in first place. He believes that patriotism, service to society and its head, a monarch, are far more important than filthy lucre.”

Two examples of his paintings will illuminate the point. The first is this, The Market of Our Democracy (1999, oil on canvas):

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It shows, in hyper-realistic but classical Russian style, the marketplace society of the late 20th – 21st centuries: the society we are all familiar with, in which production, consumption, and hedonism / sexuality are the ruling forces. In contrast, there is this:

It represents, in obviously stylized form but also in marked contrast, an orderly, ordered, holistic society under the Kingship of Christ, reigning from the Cross, in which both Saints of ages past and contemporary persons are marching together – issuing forth, as I see this, from the Heavenly Jerusalem (again, rendered in Russian style) as one Body of Christ, with the forces of chaos, degeneration, and dissolution banished to the periphery.

It is true that some of us, familiar with and conditioned by the former society, might find the latter rather rigid, even stultifying! Yet it is worth asking the question of why that should be so. Is it really so important to us to heedlessly and selfishly pursue the hedonistic pleasures of the flesh and the desires of the moment – whether carnal, materialistic, or simply selfish – that it is impossible to consider subsuming even some of those desires to a higher purpose, to a Divinely-instituted order?

I do not have a clear and definitive answer to that question. Obviously, human freedom is important. I do not think God made us to be the Borg. Human individuality, distinctiveness, creativity, and expression is part of the image of God in which we were made. Yet human freedom – improperly directed – also led to the Fall, and has led to many a lesser fall, on both personal and societal levels, ever since.

Is there a way to balance freedom, creativity, and initiative with avoiding the extreme forms of the “Marketplace”? I think our Founders thought so, though with caveats:

Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams

But we have, as a society, seemingly fallen as far away from their ideals as from the ideals of classical Christianity… and the two falls are not, I think, unrelated.

Our Founders were rightly suspicious of democracy, which we seem to almost idolize. But does even a representative, constitutional Republic such as they envisioned (and bequeathed to us – “if you can keep it“) leave too much scope for “avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness”? How can we reign in such tendencies, without totally stifling freedom of action and expression in the process? Can we even do so?

But note the description of Glazunov’s approach, quoted above:

“In contrast to the values of the marketplace, [Glazunov] calls for placing spiritual and political ideals in first place. He believes that patriotism, service to society and its head, a monarch, are far more important than filthy lucre.”

Note what that says, and what it does not say: first the spiritual! That is key. As our Lord said, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

Then the political: but not, I suspect, in precisely the way we have come to think of that term today, as a contest between individuals and/or parties for dominance in a public popularity contest, but in the older Greek sense of the polis, the human community – or the Roman res publica (root of our word “republic”), the “public things”: things that concern the community at large.

The marketplace – and everything it stands for – is not excluded. But it takes its properly ordered place, behind / below the first two. When the marketplace is primary, the tail is wagging the dog!

Something to ponder.

Author: The Anglophilic Anglican

I am an ordained Anglican clergyman, published writer, former op-ed columnist, and experienced outdoor and informal educator. I am also a traditionalist: religiously, philosophically, politically, and socially. I seek to do my bit to promote and restore the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, in a world which has too-often lost touch with all three, and to help re-weave the connections between God, Nature, and humankind which our techno-industrial civilization has strained and broken.

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