March 01, 2014

Terror and Art

Terror and Art

April 12, 1925 – It was twilight when the procession began. Almost 50,000 people were massed inside the solid pink walls of Donskoy Monastery. They stood with candles, crying and singing beneath a clear violet sky. Along the far side of the wall, the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church were walking with the casket of Patriarch Tikhon, the last, great defender of the Church against Bolshevik rule.

The artist Pavel Korin observed the procession from the crowd. Near him a group of beggars were singing “a strange, ancient melody.” An adolescent boy's “wild, piercing alto” howled from his “pointed, wolflike face.” Korin would never forget the words he sang: “We lift our hearts on spears.”

Korin picked up his sketchpad and began to draw.

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