In one way or another, our perception of the world is influenced by multiple factors that not necessarily need to be defined. Domination of sensuous impressions corrected by meditation, or, at other times, thought dictating the emotions and moods. Art easily brings together both and probably serves to synthesize them. Photography has its own responsibilities: starting at general organization of sensor mechanics (to look) it intends to help see (through lens and viewfinder) exactly what shall become art, is to be art and is in some sense programmed to be art initially, so to speak, by God.

The dawn of the new century brings us to question whether it is the documented couleur local alone that thrills the soul of viewer at recognizing images of the native shore. Let’s not think of the Western artists: their tasks are different. Our aim is to define the metaphysics of the Russian space in its mysterious infinity. A Russian can only vaguely imagine the limits of his existence but reaches the heart of it perfectly well.

It is in the search of the heart of existence that the Russian turns to each meaningful motif, a road disappearing in the rye field, a sunlit birch grove, river flowing between the banks. The soul seeks to find its way into the seen and the selected. Into what reminds us of the 19th century Russian Realism painting, Isaaс Levitan, Ivan Shishkin, Ilya Ostroukhov, Arkhip Kuindzhi, Mikhail Nesterov. And it is anything but pastiche. Painters were the first to discover symbolic meaning of the images they found. Photography neglected them, strange as it may seem. It brought about the abundance of perspective, pictorial possibilities, combined printing etc. An artist now, equipped with all that contemporary technology can offer, examines the volumes of the earth’s surface, character of the flow of one space into another, the balance of hills and groves, the solemnity of skyline. With epicism and vigilance of Old Dutch masters, he searches for ever more proofs. And it seems that, with the faith of the old masters, our artist photographer starts anew.

We do recognize his right for it. Not only his right but also his duty to do so. The world represented is the world of silence. The world of pure contemplation. The artist discovers transcendental in the intrinsic qualities of space. What are the qualities of the observed? It is the grandness of the goddified world. With its immensity. With its silvery light reminiscent of the first days of Creation. Such is the world shown to us by Anatoly Nikolayevich Cherkasov. And we understand, like he does, that certain visual experience can bring about an important spiritual experience.

That is why church ruined by contemporary barbarians (the master could not remain indifferent) signifies human ignorance of the grandness of something conceived by someone else.

V. S. Turchin

Professor, Doctor of Art History, Art historian, art critic,

acting member (academician) of the Russian Academy of Arts,

member of the Academic Council of Faculty of History at Lomonosov Moscow State University,

member of the editorial board of the magazine “Culture and Arts”