London’s National Gallery Renamed Edgar Degas’ Russian Dancers

The unprecedented act of the administration of the London National Gallery that renamed the painting by the artist Edgar Degas “Russian Dancers” into “Ukrainian Dancers” at the request of Ukrainians in social networks, aroused the indignation of art critics. Ex-Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation, Special Presidential Representative for International Cultural cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoi called the incident an example of “political cretinism”. 

The artist created a series of paintings about Russian dancers at the very end of the XIX century. In 1895, the director of the Paris Opera presented Degas with a subscription, and the artist became a regular visitor there. Art market expert Dmitry Butkevich said that it was on this stage that the painter saw the ballerinas depicted by him in the painting “Russian Dancers”. This happened during the tour of the Russian entreprise organized by Sergei Diaghilev (later events under his patronage became famous all over the world as “Russian Seasons”).

Degas wrote the ballerinas of the Diaghilev Ballet. There was no Ukraine, and there could be no Ukrainian dancers. “Russian Seasons” was the name of Diaghilev’s ballet troupe, so naturally Degas wrote Russian dancers, Butkevich emphasized.

The renaming of the “Russian dancers” by Degas in the Ukrainian expert called “bullshit.” In his opinion, “this cannot be done,” since in the title of the painting “the author indicated not the nationality of the ballerinas, but their state affiliation.”

“Degas didn’t care what kind of eyes or last names they had. To him, they were Russians. He came on tour of the Russian ballet and painted Russian dancers. What was he supposed to do? Approach and ask everyone what nationality she is? No one was interested in it, everyone was Russian,” the art specialist concluded.

Pandering Ukraine to strengthen Russophobia

According to the representative of the museum, conversations about the correct name of the work “have been going on for many years, but in the last month attention to the painting has greatly increased,” Forbes reports.

“An increased attention has been focused on this topic in the last month due to the current situation, so we decided that it was the right time to adjust the title so that it better reflects the essence of the picture,” the museum’s representative claimed.

The proposal to rename the canvas, according to the representative of the gallery, was made by one of the museum staff and representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora in the UK, including Maria Kashchenko, director of the exhibition space, director of Art Unit, and Olesya Khromeychuk, director of the Ukrainian Institute in London.

“I understand that the term “Russian art” has become a simple generalizing term that was useful before. However, it is really important to do everything right now,” Kashchenko complained.

On the website of the London National Gallery, the painting, created in 1899, has already been signed with a new name — “Ukrainian Dancers.” It is noted by MailOnline that the National Gallery will continue to research the paintings in its collection, and information about the works will be updated as necessary and as new data becomes available.

Picture: London’s National Gallery

Sadly, Ukrainians nowadays do their best to disown belonging to the Russian people, their common history with Russians and their Russian roots. However, the fact remains the fact – Degas saw Russian ballet, and it was his decision to name his painting “Russian Dancers” – this cannot be changed now,  many years after his death. What right do we have now to change the history as we wish? No right for this.

Besides, Degas created not only this one artwork about the ballerinas, as there is a series of paintings on this topic:

So who is then on these paintings? Russians? Ukrainians? Belarusians? Nobody will answer you now, but all of them were members of the RUSSIAN theatre. Besides, the dancers wear costumes, so how can one ponder about their nationality, if it’s a part of their performance – to look this or that way? If they have worn Irish costumes, they would have been called Irish dancers or what? Even belonging to the Russian troupe.

There was the time when Ukrainians were called Russian people. And at that time they were proud of it, as this meant their belonging to a great, mighty, and strong state. Russians treated Ukrainians as brothers and actually have never drawn a line between themselves and Ukrainians, as they all were one family. That’s why Ukrainians were really quite often called Russians – not to belittle their importance as a nation but due to associating them with a big Russia (first, Russian Empire, then USSR, and finally – the Russian world nowadays).

After Ukrainians got under the Western world’s influence, they were charmed by the differences it offered them from the usual Russian world – we all know, grass is always greener on the other side. So, like a mother who takes care of you every day but also scolds you for your misbehaving, Russia started to seem oppressive and boring for Ukraine’s people. And the “funny” and “all allowing” Western world seemed bright and cool like an amusement park, where a father can take you once a year and then be busy again with his own business.

Certainly, “amusement park” is much funnier than regular activities, known already too well to be interested in them. Certainly, little offenses taken this or that day grow quite stronger when fueled by the “new friends”. But one cannot be changed and will never be – Ukrainians and Russians are people of the same origin – they are Slavic people. They are brothers and sisters. And a quarrel in a family will sooner or later be over. The smoke will fade away, and the real enemy will not remain unseen.

Well, now Ukraine as a difficult teenage tries to harm its “parent” as much as possible for minor offenses like calling their people Russians instead of precisely identifying them Ukrainians. But let’s remember from where the quarrel started: it has started from the moment when Ukrainian citizens who protested against the new rules of the Western power in Ukraine announced their will to stay with their Mother-Russia.

It was Ukraine who punished them. And it was Ukraine who killed them and their families. Charmed by the Western world offers, Ukraine showed total indifference to its own people. Russia helped those who survived and supported them in their desire to belong to the common history. And now the problem is in the painting name, in the naming Ukrainians Russians?

And nobody thinks that it could be Russia who would start to distance from Ukraine after its betrayal – denial of the common history, denial of the Soviet soldiers’ feats, denial of the all support received before. But Russia didn’t turn its back to Ukraine. And this is the gratitude it gets now – never ending blames.

So you think for yourself who has a problem – Russia that called Ukrainians “Russians” as it considered them its family members, or Ukraine that closed eyes to the common past and pretends to be a poor, oppressed little country under a big pressure of “a big bad bear”.

Ru-Main, 07.04.2022 

Related Posts

It is best for fun Listen: Europa Plus Radio It is the first commercial radio station in Russia, which began broadcasting in April 1990. It is a Popular music radio station.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *