Natalia Goncharova: Mystical Images of War with Russia

With sorrow. February 24, 2022


 Cover for Mystical Images of War, 1914, a portfolio of 14 images 

Natalia Goncharova, Russian, 1881-1962.

MOMA, NY in 2021



Natalia Goncharova created 14 lithographs as a response to Russia’s entry into World War I. 


She used the mythical, folkloric, historical, and Orthodox Christian traditions of her civilization


to describe war between Russia and her enemies, conceived as the forces of darkness.  


Russia herself is shown to be under a supernatural protection which preserves the integrity of her state, the force of her faith; and sanctifies the sacrifice of her people.


Below 11 of the 14 images.




The White Eagle from Mystical Images of War




St. George from Mystical Images of War





Archangel Michael from Mystical Images of War




Christian Host from Mystical Images of War




The French Cock from The Mystical Image of War





The British Lion from the Mystical Image of War





Angels and Airplanes from Mystical Images of War




The Doomed City from Mystical Images of War





The Pale Horse from Mystical Images of War


The fourth of four horsemen of the Apocalypse (Revelations chapter 6 of the Christian Bible) is Death (Thanatos).  His horse is a ‘pale’ horse.




A Common Grave from Mystical Images of War




Alexander Nevski from Mystical Images of War


Alexander Nevski, 1221-1263, is a military hero  and saint of early Medieval Russia (Rus).  He preserved the state against Swedish and German invaders; and  confirmed the supremacy of Russian Orthodoxy in Russia.







4 thoughts on “Natalia Goncharova: Mystical Images of War with Russia

  1. Completely fascinating., Sarah. Where did you find these profound images?

    1. Susannah, Thanks for looking!

      This portfolio was gifted some decades ago to the Museum of Modern Art, NY who has a continuing interest in the art of Russia and the Soviet Union because of their history of modernism.

      This exhibition was left up for two years because Covid intervened.

      These images – you might agree – gets to the fact that the Slavs are all European but their civilization differs in marked ways from that of all the rest of Europe.

      It is not merely their recent history (since 1918 and since 1945), but, in the case of Russia,the profound effect on their culture of Russian Orthodoxy. To this day, it seems.


  2. Sarah, Perhaps unconnected but not fully.

    I woke Sunday morning imagining Faure’s
    Requiem rising powerfully out from the
    Ukrainian earth.

    Perhaps this could extend itself into the past as well. -toward victims of the Russian wars that you refer to here; to any war torn area on this earth, your homeland included.

    Grant them eternal rest,O Lord,
    And may perpetual light
    Shine upon them.’

  3. Thanks for looking, Jane.

    People are dying for nothing. Nothing. Sarah

Comments are closed.