Kuzma Petrov – Vodkin – Earthquake in the Crimea (1927 – 1928)

He studied art in Russia’s St. Petersburg and Moscow, but also in Munich and Paris, and traveled extensively through Europe, Northern Africa and the Soviet Republic. His paintings were inspired by Russia’s folklore, 19th century painters and religious icons, but also by European artists like Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse and Giovanni Bellini. He was Kuzma Petrov – Vodkin (1878 – 1939), a Russian painter and writer.

Earthquake in the Crimea (1927-1928) depicts the residents’ reactions to one of the biggest earthquakes that took place in 1927 near the Crimea  Peninsula. A large group of people are either getting out of the building or finding refuge under its most stable structures. We can see how they’re getting out with what they had on themselves, some dressed very lightly or even lacking shoes, as if just woken up from their sleep. A woman in the background is covering her body with a bed sheet.

The light clothes also suggest that most likely this painting depicts the June 26th earthquake, as opposed to the one that took place on September 11th.  Both earthquakes triggered tsunamis, but the June one was considered to have been more moderate.  A great dynamic effect is achieved with the tilted perspective and the people who are displayed diagonally, reinforcing the idea that the earth is shaking.

Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin - Earthquake in the Crimea
Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin – Earthquake in the Crimea (1927 – 1928)

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