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Ethnography of Central Asian peoples in watercolors by A. Pomerantsev
Ethnography of Central Asian peoples in watercolors by A. Pomerantsev
Ethnography of Central Asian peoples in watercolors by A. Pomerantsev
In 1947, Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography bought an album of watercolor drawings in the Leningrad branch of the Akademkniga bookstore for 800 rubles. The author’s name and year of creation of the drawings were indicated on the first page as “A. Pomerantsev. 1851.” Unfortunately, the name A. Pomerantsev is missing in reference books dedicated to alumni of the Academy of Sciences and to the history of Russian pictorial art. The watercolor portraits of Kazakh and Kirghiz nobility contained in the album prompted suggesting that Pomerantsev was a contemporary of the famous Kazakh scientist and humanist Chokan Valikhanov. Mentions of artist Pomerantsev can be seen in a more detailed study of the biographic data of Valikhanov. The educated society of Omsk noticed the artistic talent of Pomerantsev, and portraits and pictures were commissioned to him. He was a colonel of the General Staff, a very educated man – and passionate about art, which was of special importance for the development of artistic abilities of young Valikhanov. Pomerantsev taught drawing in the Cadet Corps of Omsk in 1847–1853, when Valikhanov studied there. Three watercolor portraits from the Pomerantsev album, “Manap Bainazar Turumtaev of the Dikokamenni [Wild Mountain] Horde,” “Biy Sartai of the Dikokamenni Horde (embassy of 1849),” and “Sultan Mamyr-khan Rustemov of the Great Horde” coincide, even in details, with pencil sketches by his student Chokan Valikhanov. Later, probably influenced by Valikhanov who was his friend, Pomerantsev got into Kazakh ethnography; he started to study traditional dwellings, and published a series of articles on the subject. Pomerantsev’s 1851 album became one of the Museum’s earliest collection materials on the Kazakhs and Kirghizes. The artist’s watercolors may be regarded as one of the first visual sources on the history of clothing, showing in detail traditional costumes and decorations of the mid-19th century. Pomerantsev was among the first professional artists enthusiastic about Kazakh and Kirghiz ethnic costume, and did much for the development of Russian pictorial art.
Valeria Prischepova, Cand.Sc., Senior Researcher
Ethnographic collections of naturalist Peter Simon Pallas
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