Those Who Have Nothing to Lose

Artist: Pavel Filonov
Date: 1911–12
Media: Oil on paper
Dimensions: 96.5 x 76.2 cm
Ownership: Russian Museum, St Petersburg
Property of the artist’s sister, Yevdokia Glebova, Leningrad (until 1977)
Those Who Have Nothing to Lose


In 1912, when Cubism was making headlines across Europe, Pavel Filonov began developing the principles of Analytical Art. He rejected the geometric representational scholastics of Cubism, preferring the creation of organic forms.

The forms in this particular example seem to be hewn from wood by a crude axe. The characters are like idols – immobile, morose and prehistoric on a background of strange and blank houses. This feeling is compounded by the gloomy tones.

This work is an excellent example of Filonov subjectively applying the analytical component of Cubism. It was painted in the early 1910s, when the artist was close to the Futurists, contributing to the Union of Youth and Donkey’s Tail exhibitions.

Although the painting contains such Futurist features as deformation and multiple forms, they are resolved in a highly individual manner. Filonov also independently interprets the Futurist themes of urbanism and the mechanical-technical future.

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