Maria Taroutina

Humanities (Art History)



Assistant Professor

Contact No.: + 65 6601-3421

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Assistant Professor Maria Taroutina received her PhD in the History of Art from Yale University in 2013. She was an undergraduate at Yale (Class of 2006) and stayed on to do her graduate work, earning her MA and MPhil degrees in the History of Art in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

As a scholar of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Asst Prof Taroutina has focused her research primarily on the architecture, painting and sculpture of Imperial and early Soviet Russia with the aim of tracing its historical contribution to international modernism. Her first book, The Icon and the Square: Russian Modernism and the Russo-Byzantine Revival (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2018) charts the rediscovery and rigorous reassessment of the medieval Russo-Byzantine artistic tradition in Russia in the years 1860-1920. In particular, it argues that there was an intimate link between Byzantine revivalism and modernist experimentation, which ultimately contributed to the formation of the twentieth-century avant-garde movements.

Asst Prof Taroutina has also published a co-edited volume, titled Byzantium/Modernism (Brill Academic Publishers, 2015). This work features contributions by fourteen international scholars and brings together a diverse range of interdisciplinary essays on art, architecture, theatre, film, literature and philosophy. Together, these essays explore the multiple discursive intersections between Byzantine revivalism and European modernism and articulate how and why Byzantine art and image theory can contribute to our understanding of modern and contemporary visual culture. A second edited volume on the art and architecture of Russia and the former Soviet bloc is forthcoming with Routledge in 2019 under the title New Narratives of Russian and East European Art: Between Traditions and Revolutions.

Asst Prof Taroutina is currently working on a new research project: Looking East: Russian Orientalism in the Visual Arts under the Romanov Dynasty. It examines the various ways in which Russian artists responded to Russia’s historical relationship with Asia, closely analysing their participation in a fraught and multivalent discourse that advanced Russia’s colonial machinery on the one hand and critiqued it on the other. More specifically, the project explores how Russian Orientalism was structured by a complex triadic model involving Europe, Russia, and Asia and considers how “the Orient” became an important discursive site from which Russia’s own political, social and cultural shortcomings could be recognised and critiqued.

The Icon and the Square: Russian Modernism and the Russo-Byzantine Revival. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2018. []

New Narratives of Russian and East European Art: Between Traditions and Revolutions, co-edited with Galina Mardilovich. New York: Routledge, 2019. []

Byzantium/Modernism: The Byzantine as Method in Modernity, co-edited with Roland Betancourt. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2015. []

Experiment: A Journal of Russian Culture, Vol. 25: Abramtsevo and Its Legacies: Neo-National Art, Craft and Design, co-edited with Louise Hardiman and Ludmila Piters-Hofmann, forthcoming in 2019.

“‘A Most Curious Place’: Vasilii Polenov and Ilia Repin’s Trip to London in 1875,” The Tretyakov Gallery Magazine 64 (2019): 44-57

“The Poetics and Aesthetics of Otherness. Orientalism and Identity at Abramtsevo,” Experiment: A Journal of Russian Culture 25 (2019).

“Before and Beyond the Avant-Garde: The Forgotten Art Histories of Nikolai Punin and Nikolai Tarabukin,” Ludmila Piters-Hofmann, Tanja Malycheva and Isabel Wunsche, eds. What is to Be Done? Art Practice, Theory and Criticism in Russia during the Long Nineteenth Century. Berlin: Logos Verlag, 2019.

“From First Rome to Third Rome: Nikodim Kondakov and Late Antique Studies,” Clifford Ando and Marco Formisano, eds. The New Late Antiquity: Intellectual Portraits. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, forthcoming in 2019.

“Between East and West: Reconsidering Mikhail Vrubel’s “Nativist” Aesthetics,” Experiment: A Journal of Russian Culture 23 (2017): 66-79. []

“From Angels to Demons: Mikhail Vrubel and the Search for a Modernist Idiom,” Louise Hardiman and Nicola Kozicharow, eds. Modernism and the Spiritual in Russian Art. Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, 2017. []

“Second Rome or Seat of Savagery: The Case of Byzantium in Nineteenth-Century European Imaginaries,” David O’Brien, ed. Civilization and Nineteenth-Century Art: A European Concept in a Global Context, 150-177. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016.

“Iconic Encounters: Vasily Kandinsky’s and Pavel Florensky’s ‘Mystic Productivism,’” Postmedieval: A Journal of Medieval Cultural Studies, Vol. 7, No. 1 (2016): 55-65. []

“From Church to Harem: Nineteenth-Century Orientalism and the Neo-Byzantine Revival” in Evgeny Steiner, ed. Orientalism/Occidentalism: The Languages of Culture vs. the Languages of Description, 76-86. Moscow: Natalis Publishing House, 2012.

Contributing author to Cathleen Chaffee, ed. Eye on a Century: Modern and Contemporary Art from the Collection of Charles B. Benenson at the Yale University Art Gallery. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012.

Critical Approaches to Art History
Introduction to the Arts: Totalitarianism and its Opponents
Masterpieces of Western Art from the Renaissance to the Present
Art and Politics: From Modernity to Post-Modernity
Historical Immersion: Painting the Orient: Orientalist Representations in Nineteenth-Century European Visual Culture
Historical Immersion: Kazimir Malevich and the Black Square
Literature and Humanities II