Unknown masterpiece. Obrazy Włoch as an anti-guide
One could maintain that Obrazy Włoch (Images of Italy), the eminent work by Paweł Muratow, has been perfectly recognized in our country (Polish edition: 1972). But it is not true. In popular reception, this legendary book was perceived primarily as a refined guide to Italian culture and art. To be honest, there were few convincing reasons to do that. Hovewer, I argue that regarding this work as the sort of a sophisticated Baedeker is a total misreading. In fact, the two volumes of Obrazy Włoch remind the reader the literary essay filled with historiosophical content, rather than a popular guide for common readers. The work of a great Russian historian of art is based on three elements: sensuality, generalization, and mythologization. For these reasons the aforementioned book cannot be regarded as a naive realistic work (a kind of report) or reliable “photography” of Italian reality. In the author’s intention this book should function as a kind of spiritual testimony for the coming generations in Europe.