My Old and Young TownMai Dantsig
- Belarusian art of the 20th - the beggining of 21st cent.
- Canvas, oil
Every city has its own artist! For Minsk, such a master, who depicted the breath of the capital and the rhythm of city life, was Mai Dantsig, the People’s Artist of Belarus. The monumental canvas ‘My Old and Young Town’ is not only a bright and ‘smart’ portrait of the city, but it is an ‘artistic document’ of the era, depicting the spirit of the times.
The view of Minsk is shown as if from a high hill. It was typical for Mai Volfovich to portray his hometown from the most ‘unexpected’ places which are inaccessible to a pedestrian. ‘You can’t go in there!’ – builders shouted to the brave artist, who climbed to the very top of the Belpromproekt building, which was still under construction. The artist wanted to see grand panoramic views of Minsk presented on the canvas. The composition of the canvas includes almost the entire historical center of the city: a view of the Trinity Hill and the Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Upper Town and the Holy Spirit Cathedral, a view of Communist Street with a TV tower and objects under construction in the city. The painting by Mai Dantsig also has the oldest Minsk Cold Synagogue, which has not survived to the present. It was built in the late 16th century. It is in the lower right corner. In the context of the reconstruction of the city in 1965, the synagogue was demolished. Mai Dantsig painted it from memory. The artist recalled how he was impressed in his youth with the strong walls of the building looking like a medieval fortress.
On the other side, the artist presents Minsk in the 1970s. It is dynamic and changing. The construction equipment, piles and cranes, trucks carrying blocks of prefabs, billboards with posters and photos of famous actors and sportsmen, cut out of newspapers and magazines of that time and pasted directly onto the paint layer. All this is a poetic image of modernity and a symbol of new life.
The artist seems to involve us in the past, present and future. He tries to show the development of the image in time and space, in deep layers of history.