Mental Floss

Living On Through Their Art

Andréa Fernandes
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Today is World Tuberculosis Day, designed to raise public awareness of the disease, which still claims the lives of about 1.6 million people each year. While the disease is most prominent today in third-world countries, it claimed the lives of many prominent artists in the past. Today's "Feel Art Again" features three Russian artists who all succumbed to the disease.

Marie Bashkirtseff

Born into a wealthy family, Marie Bashkirtseff (1858-1884) grew up travelling through Europe with her mother. After an education at the Académie Julian in France (one of the only schools that accepted women), Bashkirtseff became established as a feminist and "intellectual powerhouse." Writing for a feminist newspaper, Bashkirtseff penned her most famous line, "Let us love dogs, let us love only dogs! Men and cats are unworthy creatures." Although many of her paintings were destroyed by the Nazis during World War II, two of Bashkirtseff's most famous paintings have survived: "The Meeting," which depicts Parisian slum children, and "In the Studio" (shown), a portrait of Bashkirtseff and her fellow artists at work. (She's the one in black in the bottom right corner.) Bashkirtseff is most well-known for the journals she maintained from the age of 13, though. I Am the Most Interesting Book of All, her most popular journal, is still in print today. She passed away from tuberculosis at the tender age of 25. Bashkirtseff's burial monument is a full-sized artist's studio in France that the government has declared an historic monument.

Andrei Ryabushkin

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Boris Kustodiev

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Larger versions of Bashkirtseff's "In the Studio," Ryabushkin's "Session of Tsar Mikhail Feodorvich with his boyars in his State Chamber," and Kustodiev's "Country" are available. Fans of Bashkirtseff should check out her artwork (and portraits) on Wikimedia and her journals. Fans of Ryabushkin should check out his artwork on Wikimedia. Fans of Kustodiev should check out his artwork and this Kustodiev coloring page. "Feel Art Again" appears every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. You can e-mail us at feelartagain@gmail.com with details of current exhibitions, for sources or further reading, or to suggest artists.

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