This article is about Stass, a Fulbright Scholar who came to Russia to do various painting projects concerning Russia. He was at the Fulbright midyear conference in January, at which point I was struck by two things:

1. He’s incredibly prolific, having created dozens of paintings just in his first few months in Russia

2. He was actually nice (something you learn to be surprised at after dealing with some of the high-fallootin’ (sp?) Fulbright Scholars who know how exactly cool they are.)

This article will serve as my translation homework for today.

“The royal family through the eyes of an American artist

On the 27th of June  as part of the seventh Moscow Interational Arts Festival at the Central House of Artists, a reception will take place for Stass Spanin, an American painter of Russian heritage. The organizer of the festival is the Moscow Social Fund for the Support of Culture and the Development of Modern Art.

Stass started painting at four years old, although it was on the refrigerator with clay. At seven he gave his first personal exhibition, and when he was 12 the Guinness Book of World Records named Stass the “youngest professional artist on the planet.” At 13 his painting “Madonna 11”, dedicated to the September 11th terror attack, was hung in the home of George Bush Jr [sic].

In the exhibition, which is dedicated to the 400-year home of the Romanovs, Stass tells about the hostages of this time: Nikolaj II, Georgij V and Wilhelm II, about the visual paradoxes of prerevolutionary Russia and the historical parallels that he demonstrates in his work. One of his paintings depicts the children of Nikolaj II. In the Romanov family there was a tradition of giving the children diamonds every year. These diamonds helped identify the bodies of the royal family after the massacre. In memory of these historical details that have since become shaded with gloom, Shpanin created a painting in the form of a rhombus, which is named “Diamond.”

“Looking at the history of the 19th and 20th centuries is particularly interesting now. Even just 20 years ago it was under lock and key, and only now can we dive into this fascinating period. I’m trying to conceptualize tow of these times and to tell about them in the language of modern art,” Stass Spanin says about his theme selection.

A recent graduate of Hartford University, Stass Spanin returned to Russia as part of a program of academic exchanges. He’s working in a studio at the Surikov MGAXI under the direction of the outstanding artist and vice president of the Russian Academy of the Arts, Tair Tejmorovich Salaxov.

The newspaper The Washington Post states that “Stass Spanin creates splendid, colorful still lifes and bright  street scenes and skillfully draws sketches and creates dizzying and disturbing abstract images.”

Stass Spanin’s exhibitions have met success in Italy, Israel, Russia, Azerbaijan, France, and the USA. His paintings are displayed in public and private collections, including the US Library of Congress and the Museum of Courage and Glory in Israel, the American Jasper Rand Museum and the private collection of Azerbaijani President Gejdar Aliev.”

If you want to check out some of his work, here’s his official site: