A Little Bromance

I gave myself two options for this week’s Music Monday. The choice was between a Christmas music video or a weird Russian painting. Since it’s not even December yet, I thought I might be pushing the Christmas music a bit early, even though the department stores are already decked out in holiday decorations! Woo hoo! Anyway, I’m going with the weird Russian painting.

I don’t like to post artwork for the purposes of mocking it, although I have done it in the past. This 1910 painting by Ilya Mashkov is just a really strange scene. It’s the artist’s self-portrait with fellow artist Pyotr Konchalovsky. Can anyone tell me what’s going on here? What I see is two buff guys in Speedos and black socks having a violin lesson in a piano room. I guess that’s it, right? Is there meant to be a homoerotic element to this or have I just walked through Chelsea too many times? Also what are those things on the floor, weights? So they took a break from weightlifting to have music practice?

Well hey, it’s certainly an original and unusual painting by a free-thinking avant-garde artist. Compositionally it’s unclear what we’re supposed to focus on. My eyes go back and forth between the sheet music and the deltoids. And the two men staring directly at the viewer is a little unnerving. But I guess a couple of artists/bodybuilders in speedos can do whatever the hell they want πŸ˜‰

11 thoughts on “A Little Bromance

  1. Bill says:

    Are the speedos red and green? That’s kind of Christmas-y. πŸ™‚

  2. Bob Hicks says:

    Those things on the floor are kettlebells, which are used for weight training. Look them up.

  3. That’s a very funny picture. I don’t know much about those artists, but the combination of the gym and the genteel – the tea, the sheet music – is charmingly incongruous. To my contemporary eye it does suggest a gay sensibility, but I don’t know how it would have been seen in 1910 Russia. I am drawn to the oval pictures in the background – they look like Arcimboldo-esque portraits of women in the form of vases of flowers and fruit.

    • artmodel says:


      Yes, those oval paintings are bizarre, and the placement of them is weird. Like I said in the post, the composition has no focal point which makes the painting hard to read visually. But it is interesting in an odd way.

      Thanks for your comments!


  4. Sigh, atop all the other ambiguity , I got hung up looking up info on Bombita II in the bull fighter poster on the piano music holder. He’s Emilio Torres “Bombita”, the little brother of Ricardo Torres “Bombita,” -if you’re interested. -grin-

  5. LK says:

    I understand why it’s there, but I guess I’ve never actually seen a sconce on a piano before.


    HAPPY (upcoming) HOLIDAYS!

  6. Jennifer says:

    Good grief! That painting is a real find …

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