Writing recently for the journal of of the Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies (SARTS), Maria Fee considers the work of Russian artist Natalia Goncharova:
Goncharova’s engagement with this type of imagery not only pointed to her own Russian spiritual heritage, but throughfaktura, the artist endowed her subject matter with a physicality and weight, much like the presence found in icon paintings. Goncharova understood that the iconoclasm of the West had divested such presence from its art, and this inclination was being adopted in the East. To counter this movement, Goncharova reveled in pictorial symbolism, the figurative, and the physicality of painting, thereby hoping to create the presence usually imparted by icon paintings. In a growing age of disbelief, Goncharova’s works of 1910 to 1914 continually relied on the Russian icon, biblical imagery, and spirited Russian country life. In this vein, Goncharova not only dealt with peasant displacement in Russian modern society, but also looked to defend Russian belief in the mysterious, both in the myths of the land, and the religious expression found in Orthodox Christianity.