Anna Akhmatova was a Russian modernist poet who rose to prominence and thrived during the The Silver Age of Russian Poetry.
Her early work occurred between 1912 and 1925, bounded by her 1912 publication of Evenings, her first small collection of poetry, and the 1925 execution of her husband Nikolay Gumilev at the hands of the Bolsheviks (the group that would eventually become the Communist Party of the Soviet Union).
Akhmatova never labored in obscurity. She was well known from her very first publication and demand for her work never fell out of favor with the literary public, even later in her career when her poetry was condemned, censored and suppressed by the Stalinists. Relying on an economy of words and emotional restraint, her style set her apart from her contemporaries, and she became a leading female voice in Russian literature. Later in life, she cast a self-critical look at the success of her early work and wondered how [some] "...naïve poems by a frivolous girl for some reason were reprinted thirteen times..."
Her work was never naïve and frivolous, but maybe certain pieces reflected the times, and it was easier to take up lighter subjects before the revolution. Here is a poem, ‘He loved three things, alive:’, from her 1912 collection Evening
He loved three things, alive: White peacocks, songs at eve, And antique maps of America. Hated when children cried, And raspberry jam with tea, And feminine hysteria. …And he had married me.
About the artist
Michaela Gall studied at Chelsea School of Art and L’Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris. She works on paper and in ceramic. Her work is produced under the umbrella of Majolica, a form of ceramics originated in Renaissance Italy which uses tin-glazes painted over an opaque white background glaze, with an earthenware body. Michaela creates pieces that are painted within the tradition of Folk Art, documenting various subjects such as historical events, patterns, symbols and people from different cultures. Her celebrated Painted Portrait series explores various cultural figures throughout history from Queen Elizabeth I to Jimi Hendrix.