Music critic, Author
1824 – 1906
Who was Vladimir Stasov?
Vladimir Vasilievich Stasov, son of Russian architect Vasily Petrovich Stasov, was probably the most respected Russian critic during his lifetime. He graduated from the School of Jurisprudence in 1843, was admitted to the Imperial Academy of Arts in 1859, and was made honorary fellow of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1900, together with his friend Leo Tolstoy.
Stasov became a huge figure—and, some critics argue, a tyrant—in mid-19th-century Russian culture. He discovered a large number of its greatest talents, inspired many of their works and fought their battles in numerous articles and letters to the press. As such, he carried on a lifelong debate with Russian novelist and playwright Ivan Turgenev, who considered Stasov "our great all-Russian critic.". He wanted Russian art to liberate itself what he saw as Europe's hold. By copying the west, he felt, the Russians could be at best second-rate. However, by borrowing from their own native traditions, they might create a truly national art that could match Europe's with its high artistic standards and originality. By "national," Stasov felt, art should not only portray people's lives but also be meaningful to them and show them how to live.
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