History of the Analytical Art


The beginnings

Pavel Filonov developed the first ideas of his theory of analytical art and his system called Universal Flowering in1914-1915, and wrote the first edition of The Ideology of Analytical Art and the Principle of Madeness, but he was alone for the first few years. The "Collective of Masters of Analytical Art" was initially set up in the mid-1920s within the framework of the Academy of Arts in Leningrad. The very core of the group existed around Pavel Filonov since 1923, his followers, not yet organized, were participating in the exhibitions of that time. In 1925 they united, and from 1927 to 1932 it was run as an independent venture, and became the center for Filonov's exploration of a "Theory of Analytical Art," as well as for his teaching of painting.

At first the members were changing constantly, but by the end of the 1920s the number had stabilized reaching 30-40 people. In the first years of the Collective's existence, practically anyone could join it. Only minimal artistic preparation was needed. After joining the group, the person was taught the main principles of analytical system, and then the process of training started.

The greatest event in the group's history was its exhibition in Leningrad Publishing House in 1927, after which it was to gain its public authority. The system of hanging, piece selection, rythmical structure of the exhibition were precisely thought through by the organizers. None of the pictures was undersigned to suggest that each picture was not the individual effort by a single painter, but the collective effort of the group. Thus, the exhibition represented one big perfect picture.

The second largest exhibition in which the group members shown was at the Academy of Art. Twenty-one pictures were presented, without the painters' names, yet again.

The next exhibition in which all fellows took part was the exhibtion of Leningrad's Art groups, wherein many other collectives participated. A declaration was revealed at this exhibition, which was the third most important document published by this group after the Ideology of Analytical Art and The Group's Constitution. This document explained the method, the roles of intution and intellect. There was strong stong emphasis on the space and time parameters of imagery. The importance of the fusion of inner and outer, and rational with emotional/ intuitive structures was stressed. The conviction and awareness of its own rightousness permeated the whole document.

In 1930, during the preparations to the First Lenigrad's Artists Exhibition, a split took place in the group. This exhibition, which was held at the Academy of Arts, was to be the last one in which they participated, and already, not as a group, but as individuals. The reasons for the breakup were the quarrels among the artists, and doubts as to the universaility of Filonov's method. They had argued about whether their art was understood and wanted. Some members of the group had had to leave due to their need to financially support their families, and their inability to do so within the framework of the group. Formally, the group had broken up in 1930, but in reality, some of the members continued to belong to Filonov's school. Thereafter, they were the very people who were the last to create collectively as Filonov's group. The most well known of their collective efforts were illustrations of Finnish folktales, titled "Kalevala".



Biography of Pavel Filonov

Underground period

The majority of the Collective of Masters of Analytical Art had become respected artists and sculptors of the Soviet Union. Due to political repression, none of them was able to continue working as analytical artists (especially openly), and Filonov's legacy or influence never appeared in their work.

From then on , down to our times, this has been an underground effort, done mainly by two masters; first Pavel Zaltsman, who was Filonov's student, and then Yurii Tumanian , who, in turn, was Zaltsman's student. Yurii Tumanian lived in Kazakhstan, where Zaltsman was forced to exile, and the torch was passed to him. When Zaltsman (by then the only person who knew Filonov personally) had died, Tumanian remained the only artist who was an Analytical Art "bearer". Tumanian was not merely a follower of this art form, but went on to develop it further (e.g., he wrote "manuals" and teaching aids based on Filonov's own manuscripts). He also organized two Analytical Art studios — the first one was in Alma-Ata, Kazakh capital, in the 1960s, and there is no information about it since it was illegal, and the official one, in the 1980s, in Moldova. Exclusively thanks to his efforts there are nowadays followers of this art. Thus, thanks only to Tumanian personally, Analytical Art survived its dark times and exists today.


Biography of Yurii Tumanian

Contemporary Followers

Yurii Tumanian became a famous painter and architect of the former USSR, and when perestroika started and the political repressions were not a threat anymore, he established The Analytical Art Studio in 1987 in Kishinev (Moldova). In the year 1990 the studio was disbanded since Tumanian had left for Russia. During those years, a series of exhibitions was held in Moldova, Romania, and Russia. There are works in private collections in Italy, Germany, Russia and Romania. Currently there are several followers of this art form, who may be considered "4th generation" analytical artists since all of them are Tumanian's students:

Grigorii Basenko
Alexander Zorin - paintings
Victor Syrkov
Yurii Loschevski
Yurii Roshioru - paintings
Vlad Fedorenko - paintings
Valeriu Iapara
After Tumanian's leaving for Russia and his consecutive death, the last three managed to organize a new studio, where they kept working on analytical paintings. At the moment Valeriu Iapara resides in the USA and sells his peers' paintings, some of which may be seen at the Gallery, Today's Artists.

Bibliography available upon request.

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