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Art is one of the ways people communicate with one another. Every work of art brings the viewer to into a special kind of relationship, both with whoever has created or is creating the art and also with everyone else who—together with him, or before or afterwards—is subject to that
artistic impression.
—Leo Tolstoy

It would be a mistake to ascribe this creative power
to an inborn talent.
In art, the genius creator is not just a gifted being, but a person who has succeeded in arranging for their appointed end, a complex of activities, of which the work is the outcome, requiring an effort.
—Henri Matisse

Art is so varied that to reduce it to any single purpose, be it even the salvation of mankind, is an abomination before the Lord.
—Nikolai Gumilev

Conception, my boy, fundamental brain work,
is what makes all the difference in art.
—Dante Gabriel Rosetti

Art is art.
Everything else is everything else.
—Ad Reinhardt

It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance…
and I know of no substitute whatever
for the force and beauty of its process.
—Henry James

It's not what you look at that matters,
it's what you see.
—Henry David Thoreau

Archaist or and Innovator

The Multifaceted Mr. Griboedov

A Renaissance man and one of the most interesting and contradictory figures of the Romantic period, Alexander Griboedov became an emblem of his time, a hero of novels written by later generations.

The sheer number of his occupations and talents is astounding: diplomat, composer, orientalist scholar, world traveler, gifted polyglot, and the author one very special play, Woe from Wit—the most famous, beloved, and without a doubt the most quoted literary work Russia’s history.

The program for this special event features:

  • Catherine O’Neil charts an outline of Griboedov’s biography, focusing on his life in the society, the political arena, and the diplomacy of his era.
  • Deborah Bradley-Kramer performs the two surviving pieces of Griboedov’s work as a composer—and illuminates just what this music meant to its original audience.
  • Alan Shaw is currently at work on a revised and improved version of his published translation of The Woes of Wit. He speaks to the challenges he faces as he takes on this nearly impossible task.
  • John William Narins delves into the play itself, breaking down its intriguing structure and casting light on a host of clever devices it employs to achieve its remarkable ends.
  • A cast of talented New York actors—Shelley Farmer, Imran Sheikh, Gabrielle Beans, Robert Siverls and Philip Callen—perform a lively and perfectly choreographed “condensed staged reading,” in English, of Griboedov’s immortal Woe from Wit.

Date: Tuesday, 1 December 2015
Time: 6:00pm—and not a moment later!
Location: Union Theological Seminar at Columbia University
Entrance on Broadway at 121st Street
Event is in the Social Hall


We at Causa Artium would like to express our profound thanks to the Harriman Institute, co-sponsor of this event, and to Rossotrudnichestvo for its generous support.

This event is FREE.