Sunday, April 25, 2010

Russian Culture Overview - from Art to Cuisine

The Russian culture is recognized as one of the world’s richest cultures, and it is popular to learn Russian today. Not only can you learn Russian online – you can learn Russian online free. In this article, we will elaborate on the Russian history, culture, art, cuisine, and more.

The Russian culture is recognized as one of the world’s richest cultures, and it is popular to learn Russian today. Not only can you learn Russian online – you can learn Russian online free. In this article, we will elaborate on the Russian history, culture, art, cuisine, and more.

It all started in the 9th century - the time of the Kievan Rus (882-1240). Back then, the Russians were faithful to traditions, and had a dual religion – the blend of Christianity and paganism. The next major period was the Tatar-Mongol Yoke (1223-1480). In that period, the Orthodox Church was on the rise and dual religion started to cease. Following were the rulings of Ivan the Terrible, Alexei Romanov, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, and Alexander I. The following periods were marked by famous writers and poets: Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, and Tolstoy.

The next major period was the USSR (1922-1991). The USSR culture combined the cultures of all peoples living on its territory (Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Georgians, etc.).

Today, Russia is restoring the culture of the Russian Empire and integrating it into modern life. The modern culture has accepted the values of the western and eastern civilizations. Russia is a multinational state – in addition to Russians (80%), the Russian Federation is home to over 180 other nationalities.

Russian Culture Overview:

Folk Culture: Russian epics tell the folk wisdom from the depth of centuries. The main characters in the epics were mighty peasant-warriors. Russian folk music is rhymes that are usually passed on verbally.

Folk Crafts: Russia has numerous folk crafts. For instance, A Khokhloma painting is a decorative painting in black and red on gold-tinted wood. Traditional ornaments are rowan berries, strawberries, flowers, twigs, birds and fish. A Gorodetskaya painting depicts life scenes, animals, and floral patterns, in black and white strokes. Filigree is a delicate patterning of fine wire (gold, silver), with the addition of silver or gold beads and enamel. Kasli casting is sculpture and grilles of cast iron and bronze.

Matryoshka (nesting doll): This is a Russian wooden toy - a painted hollow doll, inside of which are smaller dolls. Traditional nesting dolls depict peasant girls.

Icons: Russian icons inherited traditions of Byzantine masters, and obtained their own style also.

Painting: Famous Russian artists include Levitsky, Kiprensky, Bryullov, Ivanov, Vasnetsov, Kramskoy, Shishkin, Kuindzhi, Surikov, Repin, Savrasov, Vrubel, Petrov-Vodkin, Roerich, Levitan, Kandinsky, Malevich, Chagall, and Filonov.

Art Museums: The most famous art museums and galleries in Russia are: The State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow), the State Hermitage and Russian Museum (St. Petersburg).

Literature: Russian literature reflects the moral and spiritual values of the Russians. The most famous writers are: Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Bunin, Nabokov, Turgenev, and Chekhov. The most famous poets are: Pushkin, Lermontov, Blok, Yesenin, Akhmatova, and Mayakovski. The most famous modern authors are Akunin and Pelevin.

Theater: Russia’s theaters are famous worldwide; the most famous are the Mariinsky Theatre, the Bolshoi Theatre and Maly Theatre.

Circus: Among the famous circus artists are clowns Yuri Nikulin and Oleg Popov, illusionists Emil Kio and Igor Kio, and animal trainers Vladimir Durov and brothers Zapashnye.

Cinema: The first cinematic apparatus appeared in Russia in April 1896. Russia conducts dozens of film festivals, such as the Moscow International Film Festival.

Cartoons: The first Soviet cartoon dates to 1906. The Russian cartoon “Hedgehog in the Fog” was named the best animated film of all time in 2003 in Tokyo, in the survey of 140 critics and animators from different countries.

Music: Russian classical music is represented by Tchaikovsky, Glinka, Rachmaninoff, and Stravinsky. The prominent Soviet composers include Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Khachaturian, and Schnittke. The USSR “pop” music was represented by Magomaev, Pugacheva, and Leontiev. The modern band that became popular abroad is “t.A.T.u.”

Architecture: The Russian architecture interacts with the architectures of other countries. It includes religious buildings, the Kremlins, and civil architecture.

Religion: Russia is a multi-confessional state, which is traditionally dominated by Orthodox Christianity. Others religions are: Paganism, Christianity, Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism.

Russian cuisine: The cuisine is a blend of Slavic traditions, western and eastern cuisines, and the cuisines of all the nationalities living in Russia. Among the most famous dishes are: borscht, vinaigrette, pancakes, kvass, and fruit drinks.

Alcohol: In Russia, drinking alcohol started during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. Prior to that, the sale of alcohol was prohibited. By the level of alcohol consumption per capita, Russia is 18th in the world. The most popular beverages are vodka and beer.

We hope that our article has sparkled or intensified your desire to learn Russian. As we have already mentioned, it’s easy to learn Russian online, and one can even learn Russian online free. Learning the Russian language will immerse the student into the rich Russian culture.

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