“Exlibris” by Konstantin Andreyevich Somov is a striking combination of thin lines and voluminous elements of antique forms that have descended from their pedestals, which, by the wave of an author’s hand, turns into a unique and recognizable design sign, full of symbols and mysteries.
A small digression: the bookplate is a kind of book property sign, saying that this publication belongs to a specific person. Most often, the ex-libris was a font or art form, printed on a paper label, which, in turn, stuck to the inside of the flight.
Somov's Bookplate was created in 1906 and was an artistic version of the initials. In its style and design decision it can be attributed to the symbolist trend. It is a multi-structured and symmetrical closed form, in the center of which the initials of Somov himself are placed.
The lower and side connections are made in the form of small circles-beads adjacent to each other and thus creating dynamic lines. In some places, these lines are as if braided by vines of longitudinal strips, which, thin from below and from the side, passing into the upper part of the bookplate noticeably thicken and gradually develop into bulk pieces of stucco molding. Such forms, also intertwined with each other, create a certain hat of the bookplate resembling an irregularly shaped pediment.
The main feature of this bookplate, characteristic, however, for the rest of Somov's graphic work is magnificent ornamentation, a game with shadows, and also work with the font part.
It cannot be said that this work has any hidden meaning: no, rather, it is only lines and images that flashed in the imagination of the gifted artist, at some point merged into bizarre forms, and then embodied on paper. Although, on the other hand, the form matters, because often the bookplate is one way or another a reflection of the author’s thoughts, nature and internal emotional state.
So it is quite possible, a lot of details and a riot of forms of this bookplate expresses the internal essence of Somov. Eccentricity, multi-structure, splendor, but at the same time, a clearly visible craving for symmetry - these are features that the author has repeatedly shown to the viewer in his works. And if so, then why not his personal and unique aesthetic sign to incorporate such patterns?
Korovin North Idyll