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This year's iconic photos were compared to works of art: which Ukrainian photo made the list?

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This year's iconic photos were compared to works of art: which Ukrainian photo made the list?

British art critic Kelly Grovier has identified six photos that, in his opinion, were the most spectacular in 2023. Find out what iconic works of art they were compared to and how Ukraine was recognized in this list

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Every year, the famous art critic and BBC Culture contributor Kelly Grovier traditionally selects the photos that he believes to be the most powerful of the year. Thus, in 2022, the list included a photo of Ukrainian soldiers playing chess with Molotov cocktails. 



Photo: Getty Images


This year, the British art critic decided to compare the most powerful photographs with iconic works of art. His attention was not spared to Ukraine.


Marjorie Taylor Green and the call to Trump in Congress


Kellyanne Conway called the iconic photo of Republican congresswoman and former Trump ally Marjorie Taylor Greene trying to persuade Matt Rosendale to talk to the former president a "conspiracy of darkness and light," comparing it to Caravaggio's paintings. 




"The glow of the gadget, Greene's outstretched arm, Rosendale's hand in refusal, and the folds of dark fabric framing the scene echo the contours and contrasts of Caravaggio's chiaroscuro paintings," the author notes.


Trump's prison photo


The photo of Donald Trump in a Georgia prison, which was taken on August 24, 2023, during registration and fingerprinting, became the first prison photo of the US president in the history of the United States.




At the same time, the former president not only stirred up society with his piercing look in the photo, but also maximized his personal benefits. After all, the sale of T-shirts and other souvenirs with the prison photo brought Trump's campaign more than $7 million.


Kelly Grovier notes that this photo has a special mystique and appeal, which Andy Warhol aptly used about 60 years ago when he created the Thirteen Most Wanted Men exhibition, which consisted of 13 photographs of the most dangerous criminals of 1962.


Then the world saw these photos during the 1964 World's Fair in New York, but within 3 days the posters were painted over because the authorities concluded that it was inappropriate to display photos of criminals in a public place.


Rubiales' kiss


It's hardly a secret that the president of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, kissed national team player Jenny Hermoso on the lips, costing him his career. But, as Kelly Grovier aptly notes, based on a quote by Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman, the belief that the conversation would stop and the "words" would become "superfluous" after the team won the Women's World Cup final was a cruel mistake.


Thus, the art critic has a question: how many kisses have been skillfully depicted in the history of culture? Gustav Klimt's painting "The Kiss" from 1907/8 comes to mind.






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Robot demonstration at the Ettrong exhibition center


The 2023 World Robotics Conference at the Beijing International Expo Center managed to surprise and sometimes stun by presenting the latest but very strange projects.


For example, creepy female robots imitating the movements of a male robot (the owner) dressed in a red suit made Kelly Grovier think about how deeply rooted gender roles are, even when the concept itself loses all meaning.




"How can you not think of the painting by the nineteenth-century Danish artist Constantine Hansen, Prometheus Creating a Man in Clay. In this painting, a clay figure sculpted by the Greek god of fire Prometheus remains inert until the red-clad goddess Athena gives it life. An intriguing contrast at the crossroads of centuries," he notes.


Traffic jam at the Burning Man festival


This year, thousands of visitors to the festival in the United States were literally stuck in the desert due to heavy rains, and when the organizers opened the roads for departure, people were forced to stand in terrible traffic jams.


Kelly Grovier called the traffic jam "a huge sculpture in the sand" and compared it to the Cadillac Ranch, an unusual art object in the United States consisting of ten Cadillacs buried in the ground, which was created in 1974.




Rocket attack on the Transfiguration Cathedral in Odesa


The collection of photos concludes with a photo from Ukraine showing parishioners clearing the rubble from the Transfiguration Cathedral in the center of Odesa after a russian missile attack.


Kelly Grovier notes that despite the horrific destruction, the photo radiates an eerie calm, the same as that seen in the painting "Explosion in the Church" (King Asa Destroying Idols) by François de Nome.




"The brutal destruction of the building (on the right) and the appearance of its unassailable calm (on the left) seem to be cut from the same unmoved cloth as the recent photo from Odesa," he adds.


We remind you! In recent years, Ukraine has become known around the world not only for its culture and history, but also for events that put it at the forefront of the global community. Read about how much the Ukraine brand is worth now and how current realities affect its popularity in our previous article.


Photos by Getty Images and Reuters were used




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