Art Quiz: The Answer is Mikhail Fyodorovich Larionov

I’d never heard of Rayonism before… which is hardly surprising. I don’t have much background in art history, and what little I have learned has focused on tonalism and impressionism. The more avant-garde art movements have been well beyond the scope of my studies to this point.

In an earlier art quiz feature, the topic was futurism, and while I found it interesting, I realized I wasn’t a huge fan of art that focused on futuristic topics. Now, with today’s question, we’re re-visiting futurism, but in a very different way and in a very different part of the world.

Rayonism, you see, although related to futuristic art, was an abstract art form that developed in Russia. It was named by the “cubo-futurists” Mikhail Larionov and his life-long partner, Natalia Goncharova. Rayonism is consider to be one of the first abstract art movements to originate in Russia.

The idea behind rayonism was to create art from the “interacting linear forms derived from rays of light.” That definition comes from The Tate.

Nocturne c.1913-4 Mikhail Larionov 1881-1964 Presented by Eugene Mollo and the artist 1953

The painting shown above, Nocturne, was described by the artist in this way:

This painting was inspired by the dusk at Odessa. It is a problem of the combination of staircases, interiors and exteriors of houses and represents the pressure of the body of dark colours on the semi-light tones. The problem of this painting is to organise these tones in a certain order. It is the conflict of the semi-light rays with the dark rays.

His partner, Natalia Goncharova painted this work, titled “Rayonist Composition”.


Now, I have to show one of my own “abstract artworks” here. Although I had never heard of rayonism until taking this quiz, I actually seem to have painted several rather “rayonist” abstracts in the past.

Primary Madness” was also based on the idea of using “rays” of color, and I had a lot of fun painting it.

Even earlier was “The Light of Day” painted in August 2018.

Neither photo is very good. You can’t really see the broad brush strokes. I just found it quite interesting to think that I’d been painting in a “Russian abstract” style without even knowing it.

So, today I’ve learned quite a bit about art history, and while I’m not a fan of futuristic art, maybe I do like futuristic abstracts. It’s always fun to learn something new, and I hope you’ve enjoyed this “Art Quiz” feature, too.



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