Artibus et Historiae no. 11 (VI)

1985, ISSN 0391-9064

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S. M. EISENSTEIN - SERGEI M. EISENSTEIN. Writings on Art (with an Introduction by PIETRO MONTANI)

In 1937 S. M. Eisenstein was working on one of his comprehensive and most systematic theoretical works on the subject of montage. In this book, unfinished and in part unpublished, Eisenstein asserted that montage occurs in various artistical fields other than cinema (literature, poetry, architecture, sculpture, painting, music), in order to show that in all of them there are certain principles at work, that cinema was bound to accept and adapt to. The essay we have extracted from this book is an analysis of the Portrait of Ermolova by V. Serov (1905, Tretiakovskaya Gallery), and shows that its composition is based on a sequence of 4 "shots" as it were of the figure from 4 angles. Depending on which of these angles the observer is looking at, his emotional reaction will be different. eisenstein then compares Serov's kind of composition with that of other painters (Repin, Surikov, Ivanov, Delaunay).

In his introduction Pietro Montani, editor of the Italian translation of S. M. Eisenstein's Works (Marsilio, Venice), has reconstructed the main theoretical themes of the book the text is taken from, and illustrates the importance that this essay on Serov should have for a definition of the principles of montage.

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