ABILKHAN KASTEEV’S WATERCOLORS AS A HISTORICAL AND ETHNOGRAPHIC SOURCE (CENTRAL STATE MUSEUM OF THE REPUBLIC OF KAZAKHSTAN COLLECTION AS A CASE STUDY)
People’s Artist of Kazakhstan Abylkhan Kasteev was a subtle connoisseur of history, culture, customs and traditions, which was clearly reflected in his work. Therefore, the numerous works of the artist today cause not only artistic and aesthetic interest, but also scientific, as they represent a huge layer of pictorial material on the history, traditional culture and way of life of Kazakhs in a wide chronological range. This article gives a brief analysis of the historiography of A. Kasteev’s works, especially scientific publications and publications of the Soviet period, when art, including visual art, was viewed from the standpoint of socialist realism in accordance with universal Soviet internationalization. Nevertheless, it is shown that A. Kasteev’s watercolors represent historical and ethnographic sources in the knowledge of cultural and historical reality in the life of the Kazakh people, the specific features of traditional culture preserved in the conditions of radical changes in the social system in the 20th century. The study was based on the works of Abylkhan Kasteev, performed by him during the scientific ethnographic expedition of the Central Museum of Kazakhstan (1947-1948) in several regions of Kazakhstan as a photographer and artist. In the study, the methods of historicism were used, that is, the analysis of the artist’s creation of watercolor works in connection with specific historical conditions, as well as hermeneutics - the interpretation of watercolors as visual texts, in order to understand the ethnosocial life of the Kazakh society of the mid-20th century.
Keywords: artist, watercolor, expedition, history, ethnography, museum collection, traditional culture, sources.
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