Maria Lafont Archive


Sandro Botticelli Primavera explained by Paola Volkova

17.08.2018 Posted in Red Art No Comments

A well-known Russian art critic Paola Volkova explains Primavera pâinted by artist a celebrated Italian Sandro Botticelli in 1478 in her Art Program “Bridge Over the Abyss”. Her explanations of who was Sandro Botticelli, why he painted Primavera, how was it like to live in Florence of the second half of the 15th century, why the Medici family invested in art and why this painting is important in the 20th century, totally captures the audience. You will find out about the compositional principle of the patinting, why Bottivelli was called the poet of lines, and which artist may be called his successor in the 20th century. The Art Program “Bridge Over the Abyss”, filmed in Moscow in 2013 for a TV channel “Kultura”, consists of 19 videos each devoted to a famous painting including Las Meninas, Melancholia, Kiss of Judas, The Ship of Fools, The Night Cafe, Guernica and others. Success came overnight. Up to this day Paola Volkova remains the leading artcritic in Russia who books about fine arts continue to be all time bestsellers. To share a video


Why did I spent 4 years writing a biography of Angelica Balabanoff

24.07.2015 Posted in Red Writing No Comments

I first heard about Angelica by coincidence, on the Internet, while following a discussion on a forum about well-known Russian women who lived abroad. Someone mentioned Angelica Balabanoff, the socialist Russian mistress of Mussolini. “Socialist,” “Russian” and “Mussolini” in one sentence sounded intriguing, and so I decided to take a closer look into her story. After a little research, I found three short essays written about Angelica between 1975 and 1983. Such a dearth of information was not surprising. In fact, this is a rather common situation with women in history whose lives are less known  than those of their male counterparts. So most of the information I  found in the essays came from Angelica’s memoirs My Life as a Rebel. It was out of print. I hurriedly ordered the book from the second-hand-book web-site, and read it immediately when it arrived. Dogmatic and monotonous, the book was a disappointment. Ready to brush Angelica aside, I gave a cursory look at the bibliographies and noticed that all three essays provided completely different sources of information. After entering her name into the databases of the biggest archives in Europe and America, to my surprise I discovered a wealth of information about the life and secrecies of this incredible person.* *Extract from the book The Strange Comrade Balabanoff: Life of a Communist Rebel scheduled for publication at McFarland Publishers, October 2015.