Vyacheslav I. Loktev
V.I.Loktev, a well-known architect, artist, author of many theoretical research works on architecture and fine arts. His works dealing with artistic-composition problems of the Italian Renaissance and the Baroque have brought a lot of new ideas into the architectural science. Simultaneously with his theoretical activities V.I. Loktev is known as the author of a whole series of futuristic projects of cities and as a pioneer of a new architectural direction –Metamorphic architecture of cosmical space.
Now in the Moscow Architectural Institute V.I.Loktev delivers lectures on the course worked out by him «Compositions and problems of artistic craftsmanship”
Solid contributions into the architectural theory.
In 2005 the book by the well-known architect, the historian and the theorist of arts, professor V.I.Loktev “Baroque from Michalangelo up to Guarini. Problem of style” was published in Russia by “Architecture – S” publishing house.
This work is a result of the author’s long-term studying and conceptualizing the creativity of outstanding masters of the Baroque, theoretical and art problems connected with it, and also purposeful search of compositional laws of this bright style, which is however hardly perceptible for the science.
As a matter of fact it is a historic and theoretical monograph of the great style remaining during several centuries a chronic problem of the art science.
V.Loktev gives an incomplete list of researchers of Michelangelo creativity, however including names of the greatest scientists: beginning from apologistical and extremely critical works by biographers and historians of the early period and finishing with comprehensive and detailed researches by representatives of the new and newest art criticism science (Ja.Burkhardt, A.Riegl, H.Wölfflin, A.Hildebrand, K.Tolnay, H.Thode, E.Panofsky, J.Ackerman, L.Dussler, G.Argan, R.Wittkower, C.Gurlitt, H.Geymϋller, G.Zimmel, A.Popp, A.Chastel, R.Sobotta, A.Venturi, A.Schmarsow, B.Berenson, W.Friedländer, V.Lazarev, B.Vipper, M.Alpatov, A.Dzhivelegov, Ye.Rotenberg, A.Guber, V.Grashchenkov …)
Against this background, taking into consideration many obvious achievements and insight of his predecessors, the author's concept of the style is being developed consistently and argumentatively, later becoming a theoretical system extending to many arts and history itself.
As a rule, the majority of researches of the Baroque had particularly artistic or interpretational character, i.e. their purpose was not a professional analysis of the Baroque masters' creative process. The Baroque was explained either by subjective impressions, or was imposed on it from outside of ideological, social, political, and other paradigmatic ideas of the epoch. And thus the style turned into their artistic illustration
In contrast to his predecessors the author seeks to understand the style from within and to understand its cause, sense, rule, without imposing anything on it beforehand. He analyses each Baroque work thoroughly, trying to read in its compositional structure a manner of perception concordant with it. Then the Baroque method of analysis is subjected to an original psychoanalysis and to theoretical analysis. Judging by results, this method has quite justified the most courageous expectations.
It is usually believed, that an architectural and figurative (picturial) Baroque-style is a style without a theory. The research made by the author contradicts this opinion. The invisible theory is found by the author from the works themselves by an unusual composition analysis which is extremely close to the real creative process
This research represents an original new discovery or new comprehension of Michelangelo’s creativity, in connection with the reform of compositional thinking carried out by him, with the introduction of new figurativeness, and compositional techniques, which have become the base of the Baroque style.
What the author has found out, investigated and comprehended theoretically in the works by Michelangelo, overturns habitual ideas about him. Michelangelo appears in a new role, as a founder and initiator of polyphony in figurative picturial and spatial arts. Polyphony and in particular a compositional principle of contrapost, whose true sense and importance remained for a long time not clear to researchers, now have explained clearly and appropriately all characteristic features of his art language, usually exciting bewilderment and criticism of many scholars.
Moreover, on the basis of numerous compositional analyses of the greatest masters of the Baroque the author proves convincingly, that it is exactly the polyphonic principle that underlies all Baroque expressiveness of the 17th century. In this connection it is necessary to note, that in art criticism existence of polyphony in spatial and fine arts was not recognized.
The discovery and detailed analysis of polyphony unforeseen by science in architecture, painting, sculpture and scenography … has explained appropriately many already known and repeatedly described formal attributes of the Baroque, as well as its special psychological influence/
Disclosing the polyphonic nature and compositional principle of the Baroque, whose existence was only predicted by science (A.Riegl, H.Sedlmayr ….), was a key to the comprehension of semantic expressiveness of the style and of the special Baroque attitude arising during certain periods of art history.
The nonconventional method of the compositional analysis has allowed V.Loktev not only to explain appropriately formal features of the Baroque language, but also to define more exactly the chronological borders and stages of the style evolution.
In his conclusions the author is guided exclusively by the compositional facts and by their professional comprehension demonstrated graphically in the work, and by making the theoretical idea of the author clear and demonstrative.
An important feature of the research is a simultaneous and parallel consideration of polyphony (polyphonic thinking, language, figurativeness) in architecture, painting, sculpture, theatre, music, poetry …) till now it almost has not been practised in science. In any case the task of a comprehensive explanation of a style (in all arts) was not assigned before.
Besides Michelangelo many outstanding masters and theorists appear in a new light, those who were involved directly or indirectly in the Baroque – Bernini, Borromini, Giacomo della Porta, Guarnini, Tintoretto, Veronese, Titian, Monteverdi, Tesauro, Marino, Vico ….)
According to the author polyphony presupposes also a little bit of other treatment of philosophical, moral and religious, ethical and aesthetic meanings of the Baroque, that in its turn intensifies and specifies understanding of the art history.
At the present time it is difficult to imagine, that an unknown law could be discovered in the theory and history of art, whose meaning and importance are essential not only for one style (that in itself is already an event), but also for the general historical picture of art. Nevertheless V.Loktev's research, due to its contents, quantity of material, the nonconventional approach and its theoretical result, is just of this character.
Such revision is quite lawful, as a fundamental principle is introduced into science convincingly representing artistic attitude of some historical styles - Gothic, Baroque, Art-Nouveau (Russian Modern) … And one more characteristic feature - the book contains not only a retrospective review of graphic polyphony, but also its interrelation with the simultaneous art phenomena (mannerism, classificizing academism, naturalism…). The author shows their mutual influences and original manifestations in many kinds of art.
A finishing figure of the retrospective - Guarino Guarini. But the author’s ideas are a phase of philosophical self-judgement of the style and its expressive opportunities. The final part examines the scenographic embodiment of the Baroque polyphony; predetermining features of its subsequent development (the so-called “second wave of the European Baroque”).