Natalia Budanova - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Natalia Budanova

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Natalia Budanova

PhD student

Thesis: ‘Representers and Respresented:Women in Russia’s War Art and Imagery, 1914-1917’

Supervised by John Milner and Shulamith Behr

This research project explores how the condition of the total war influenced work of women artists and employment of female imagery in Russia during the First World War. By tackling these two major themes the thesis aims to provide focus for discussion of a distinct and so far neglected area of study, heavy with gender-connected issues. The main purpose of the work is the appraisal of the role Russian women artists had in producing wartime art with special emphasis on factors that fashioned their prominent standing and influence in shaping art in the last years of the Russian Empire. The ongoing research also entails investigation and analysis of the gender related attitudes pertinent to creation of war art and its vocabulary of images in the specific historical context. Case studies investigate cultural and artistic activities of Russian women artists, selected from a rich array of various artistic styles and aesthetic approaches, that characterised Russian art during wartime.


  • 2009-present: PhD candidate, the Courtauld Institute of Art, London.
  • 2008-2009: MA History of Art (Distinction): Contacts and Contexts in Russian Art 1905 – 1945.
    Dissertation title: Hearts opened to the ‘scarlet seeds of war’: graphic works of Natalia Goncharova and Olga Rozanova. The Courtauld Institute of Art, London.
  • 2005-2008: BA (Hons) in History of Art, University of Cambridge, Lucy Cavendish College.
  • 1981-1986: BA, MA (Distinction), Modern European Languages (Italian & German). Moscow State University, Russia.


Research interests

  • War in art
  • Women artists, patrons and dealers in late Imperial Russia
  • Self-portraits in Russian art
  • History of collecting Russian art in UK

Conference papers and lectures

  • Utopian Sex: Metamorphosis of Androgenous Imagery in pre- and post-Revolutionary Russian Art, conference “Utopia I: Russian Art and Culture in 1900-1930”, The Courtauld Institute of Art, 21 May 2011
  • Searching for Ideal: Androgenous Motives in the Early 20th c Russian art, Science Fiction Study Day, the British Library, 16 September 2011
  • War Seen Through the Eyes of a ‘Real Amazon’: Natalia Goncharova’s lithographic album Mystical Images of War, 1914, Postgraduate and researchers’ seminar, The Oxford University, 3 November 2011
  • Studies of Russian Women Artists: the Historical Perspective, round table “Women in Russian Art: New Prospects for Feminist Practice”, the EBRD Headquarters, City of London, 21 February 2012
  • Invisible Presence: a Portrait by Boris Kustodiev in the Fitzwilliam Museum, the BASEES Annual conference, the Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, 3 April 2012
  • Russian avant-garde art through eyes of the modern British audience: two recent exhibitions of Russian art in London, the First International conference CCRAC-Department of Art History, Faculty of History, the State Moscow Lomonosov University, Moscow, 22-23 March 2013
  • Penetrating the men’s territory: works of Russian avant-garde women inspired by the First World War, the CAA Annual conference, Chicago, USA, 12-15 February 2014.
  • Women depicting the war, International conference ‘Russia in the First World War’, Moscow School of Economics, Moscow, 3-5 June 2014
  • Russian War Lubok from the Collection of British Library, Seminar “Britain and Russia in the Great War”, British Library, London, 19 September 2014
  • “Who Needs the Art Now?”: Russian Women Artists Representing the Great War, Interdisciplinary conference “A Game in Hell: The Great War in Russia”, 27 September, 2014, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London
  • Managing, Coordinating, Promoting: Women as Art Patrons, School Owners and Dealers in Late Imperial Russia, conference “The End of Empire: Women Artists in Britain and Russia, 1880-1917”, the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 9 January 2015

Recent publications

Catalogue articles

  • “Women at Work”, exhibition catalogue Rodchenko and his circle: Constructing the Future through photography, ed. J. Milner, Art: Census, London, 2011
  • “Russian Amazonki and the First World War”, exhibition catalogue A Game in Hell: the Great War in Russia. Graphic Art and Photography from the Collection of Segey Shestakov, eds. John E. Bowlt, Nicoletta Misler and Elena Sudakova, GRAD Publishing, 2014


  • “Utopian Sex: Metamorphosis of Androgynous Imagery in Russian Art in the Pre- and Post-revolutionary Period”, Utopia: Russian Art and Culture 1900-1989, eds. C. Lodder, M. Kokkori, M. Mileeva, Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden-Boston, 2013
  • “Penetrating Men’s Territory: Russian avant-garde women, Futurism and the First World War”, International Yearbook of Futurism Studies, vol. 5, ed. Günter Berghaus, Walter De Gruyter& Co, Berlin and Boston, 2015

On-line publications

Russian Art in the collections of the major British Museums.

Other academic activity

  • Translation of Russian constructivists’ articles for the exhibition Lissitzky+Kabakov; Vanabbemuseum, Eindhoven, Holland, September 2009 – Sept 2010
  • Transcription and translation (Russian to English) of the Ekstrom Collection documents, Blythe House Archive, for the exhibition Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 25 September 2010 – 9 January 2011
  • Consultant of the exhibition A Game in Hell: the Great War in Russia. Graphic Art and Photography from the Collection of Segey Shestakov (curators J. Bowlt, N. Misler and E. Sudakova). GRAD (Centre of Russian Art and Culture), London (25 September- 27 November 2014).
  • Organiser of Russian avant-garde in European Cultural Context, the First International conference between CCRAC and Department of Art History of the State Moscow Lomonosov University. Faculty of History, the State Lomonosov University , Moscow, Russia, 22-23 March 2013
  • Organiser (with J. Brewin, Cambridge University) of Exhibit A. Russian Art: Collections, Exhibitions and Archives, The Second International conference between CCRAC and Department of Art History of the State Moscow Lomonosov University. Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 21-22 March 2014.
  • Organiser (with Prof. John Milner and A. Ceriak) of the interdisciplinary conference A Game in Hell: the Great War in Russia, the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 27 September 2014
  • Member of CCRAC (Cambridge-Courtauld Russian Art Centre) advisory board, 2011 till now

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