Site of the Project

"Mineral Drawings"




Some words on graphics : Victor Slyotov and Vladimir Makarenko
(On "Mineral Drawings", Issue I, 2002)



Margarita I. Novgorodova

Dr. Sci.(Geology and Mineralogy). Dir.of the Fersman Mineralogical Museum

      Our eyes and minds are not always practical when looking at a stone. An emotional response feeds and sharpens an aesthetical perception of harmonious shapes, play of color, and transparency of crystals, druses, and mineral aggregates. A professional eye sees details, which skip an amateurís sight, and, provided a mineralogist has an artistic gift, his inner vision inevitably portrays both academic and artistic elements of the mineral world. These are the works by Victor Slyotov and Vladimir Makarenko: they revive the best mineralogical traditions of the past. Having masterfully combined scholarly and poetical approaches, the authors saved spirituality in their drawings, what is of a special value in our difficult time.
      In the project "Mineral Drawings" Victor Slyotov has developed essentially new approach: authors leave the photographic alikeness putting the problem comprehension of an essence of the phenomenon through creation of the generalized artistic image of this phenomenon. Many of their works are perceived as an enthusiastic hymn to beauty of the nature, beauty of its laws released from casual details, false patches of light, external damages. A profound knowledge by a mineralogist and an artist Victor Slyotov of a subject and his scientific intuition allow him to notice and clearly emphasize in the drawings a lot of genetically important details of crystal surfaces and the structure of mineral aggregates.

      It is necessary to note a high professional and art level of the presented works, and also a deep degree of understanding by Victor Slyotov of some the most complicated natural phenomena. Many of the images he created the stone is much deeper than just the subject of the picture, they call the viewer to meditation, concentration, without them you can not pass indifferently. Source spirituality works of Viktor Slyotov - rich inner world of the author and the viewer, looking at his drawings, is under the influence of positive energy of their creator. Being able to see that for others remains not noticed, the authors of drawings are aspire to inform up to the spectator a certain internal essence of a stone, to its "life". They manage to see the nature of a stone vividly, non-standardly, deeply and to transfer this vision to the spectator through the figures clever, beautiful, refined and each time unexpected.



Yuri M. Dymkov


Drawings and paintings presented by Victor Slyotov, a mineralogist and an artist, and Vladimir Makarenko, his young assistant, amazingly combine a scholarly structural and genetic approach to minerals with fine feeling of beauty encountered in individuals and aggregates of the mineral world. Every work here may illustrate genetic features of minerals (their history, or ontogenesis, and formative processes), which portray birth and growth of crystals, spherolites and fancy intergrowings from solutions or gel in geodes and on the walls of fissures or caves.

       The book offers wonderful forms and patterns of the quartz and chalcedony-quartzine concretions displaying elaborate imprints of slow diffusion in solid calcareous rock. An ultra-fine sculpture of a mosaic pyrite crystal splintering along spiral dislocations, these nuclei of a future spherical crystal, is quite impressive. Gypsum antholiths give an excellent example of the fiber crystalsí growth and their plastic deformations due to increasing basal parts, not the faceted vortices. Splintering and plastic deformation caused by the crystallization pressure of growing fine-grained quartz aggregate and fragile stibnite crystals from Kadamzhai* are equally amazing. Here splintering and replacement processes regenerated stibnite and promoted formation of new and cementing of old crystals simultaneously with growth of a fine quarts encrustation. Genetic relationships of the quartz crystals differing in age (i.e., of different generations) are quite interesting.

       Genetically indicative, academically eloquent drawings demonstrate that V.A. Slyotov as a mineralogist deeply understands an importance of precise portraying of the fine crystalline sculpture, structural patterns of druses and polished sections. Artists are keen to aesthetical aspect of mineralogical objects when choosing wonderful and attractive plots for their works. This is a decent contribution to aesthetical and genetic mineralogy.



Vladimir A. Malítsev

Geologist, mathematician, speleologist, photoartist.

   There is an old Chinese saying: One picture is equal to ten thousand words. Well, how did they know that much about informatics in those dust-covered times?
Contrasting science against art is a threadbare. Why? On the contrary, if God (or Nature) created Man as a creator, one cannot expect that he will turn to his Creative Act at once, skipping preparations, training, and learning. To approach the Creative Act for human beings today just two feasible ways exist, with the results comparable to creation of new worlds. One leads through scientific studies, which discover new parts or levels of the existing world. Another way is to build a world of oneís own through artistic creation. It is not in vain instincts are combined with attraction both to Beauty and Unknown, whatever old Freud stated. For the time being a thin wall occurs between these ways, these approaches. This wall gradually thins out washed away by the accelerating flood of life and a permanent process of acquiring more and more precise notions on the nature of things. This wall is called Artistic Search.

        Masters of the Artistic Search were always highly praised, be it the search in Word or Visual Arts. Genre photographs done early in the 20th century saved much evidence, which disappeared from history during the everlasting re-writing of the latter or omitted by those who kept the records as insignificant. Leonardoís paintings developed anatomy as much as efforts of hundreds of scholars. Books by Vladimir Arseníev, Oleg Kuvaev, Thor Heyerdahl, Jerald Durrell, Haroun Tazieff, and many others attracted to Science versatile brains in much greater quantities than strains of the pure science popularizers for centuries. It is always more important to generate a sparkle and initiate flames than to feed active campfire.

        Graphics (and not exclusively graphics) of Victor Slyotov was born as illustrations to scientific papers when we were students. That was a good time for Soviet science, and the papers were in demand. Units and dozens read scientific papers instead of thousands after perestroika. Probably, this is the reason why Victor disappeared from my sight for many years. A scientific research may be presented to a small audience, but not an Artistic Study. It is valuable mainly due to awaken associations in those who are, maybe in part, outside their narrow cells. This kind of readers of mineralogical papers is extinct.

        Years passed, and once upon a time I got a phone call. An invitation to a joint exhibition of Victor and some co-author unknown to me. Honestly, I felt proud for the science where the illustrative graphics presented at Victorís level became an absolute rarity by the end of the 19th century. But no more than that. I was not ready to know that a new duet of authors left a solid ground of Scientific Study for a narrow and swampy soil of the Artistic One. Naturally, I went to the exhibition. And got a bang on my head. Been so impressed that when asked to comment in public managed to mumble a couple of phrases. Writing these lines with pleasure I compensate my failed speech. Maybe it is better this way: the auditorium is much wider.

         Victor and Vladimir are dealing with a very complex problem. Ontogeny of minerals, i.e., studies of the Ilife cycl & of minor mineral bodies and modes these interact, deal with self-organization of inorganic matter. Scientific disciplines, which representatives tried to jump over this hurdle with no sweat (e.g., inequilibrium thermodynamics, synergetic) got swamped in huge equation systems indigestible even by modern computers. A totally different mathematical approach is needed here, and its development will take time. What is the worst, these disciplines never worked out a term base sufficient to manage the information flow outside conventional narrow limits of available inadequate mathematical models. The environment, which is the best capacitor of Knowledge is the Artistic Study. Naturally, the Art of Word included. However, let us recall the quotation that opens these pages and try to compare the amount of accumulated Knowledge at least with the number of living Masters of the Word. Well, visual images. Pictures. Photographs, naturally, the artistic ones. These may jump into eyes of some future specialist dealing with totally different area and give him a hint, and he will find a Clue. Documentary images will be buried in narrow specialized archives dug exceptionally by those whose sight is narrow by nature or due to position occupied.

        The technique the masters took up, i.e., painting and not photography, may be disputable. Yes, painting like mathematics slightly binds an artist with his notions and models, and this may lead to errors. However, a complete naturalism of a photograph is but an illusion. A good photographer displays an image he sees, not a reality. In return, painting opens a possibility to put on view nuances undistinguishable to any optical devices. As for mistakes and errors, these are assigned to those whom this visual message is addressed to, and the addressees will not be confused, they would note them, and turn to the faultless works.

        All in all, having started this text I conscientiously did not ask Victor and Vladimir to demonstrate me the new pieces, which you, the Spectator see now in front of you. I am interested to see it for myself, whether I failed in my extrapolation from the issue I to the future. I do believe Victor and Vladimir will not join the rat race of the current period trying to copy the tactics once successful. I expect something new, disputable, beautiful, and interesting.




Yuri M. Dymkov

All-Russian SRI of Chemical Technology, Moscow.

      In eightieth years of the last century I had friendly contacts with a small group of active and talented young men, amateurs of minerals, friends of Victor Arnolídovich Slyotov. I has "grandiloquently" addressed to one of them:

        Be a Person in great and small,
        While the fire in soul burns.
        And my advice: grow as crystal!
        Donít split in spherulite!

      Life tectonic faults, "vpuki and vypuki" (Russian substitutions of terms "synclines" and "anticlinese"; it is attributed to Vera A. Varsanofíeva) of long-awaited democracy dispersed this interesting group. One of them, philosopher by nature, has got this degree in the area of Mineralogy and flew away to London, where he had a job at a petrol station. Another guy deals with the physics of minerals. The third guy gifted geologist and mathematician is unfortunately far from mineralogy now. Life of Victor Slyotov developed otherwise. After graduating from the Geological department of the Lomonosov MSU, as early as "perestroika" began, he was crippled by bandits for refusal to sign a self-slander. Bandits were just punished, but Victor obtained physical inability for all remained life. But love to stones and habit to work were stronger than circumstances, and he began to fulfil his old idea: to draw minerals. In 2004 V. A. Slyotov was awarded to honorary title of laureate of the international premium "Philanthropist" for prominent achievements of invalids in culture and art (special premium "For novelty and originality in creation"). Project "Mineral Drawings" obtained its first recognition! Originality of ideas and quality of their artistic performance in albums "Mineral Drawings" have amazed the jury. In 2001-2004 three such albums were published, two later with subheading "Ontogeny of minerals in drawings".
      Drawings are interesting not only for artists but also for mineralogists, however, we shall note that all three albums of drawings by V. Slyotov and V. Makarenko are not a regular scientific work: they are unsystematic both in selection of mineralogical objects and in order of arrangement of drawings. This is certainly art approach: the object is interested for creator - both as artist with aesthetic point of view and mineralogist with scientific point of view. However one recollects H. Heine: "Nightingales sing without rules, only when desire". But scientific part in drawings is more than essential.
      Science and art have different cognitive potentials, and their unity in obtaining universal general information about environment and world of stones is especially valuable. Artistic image of mineralogical object, which is created by specialist understanding a point of fact, has an extra significance for interpretation of mineral genesis and fist of all for revelation of the way of growth, dissolution, and recrystallization of minerals in druses and concretions, i.e. the questions insignificantly known and in essence raised by V. Slyotov.
      Detailed images of morphology, especially the surface of crystals and spherulites, which are drawn during study of minerals under binocular (stereomicroscope), give the "rich food" for genetic mineralogy and first of all minerals ontogeny, that studies development of mineral individ and aggregates, their "life". Mechanism of formations and development of germs of crystals and spherulites, their further growth and subsequent mineralogical events: dissolution, recrystallization, regeneration, etc. And all that by features recorded on the minerals. Victor Slyotov entirely follows to the ideas of founder of mineral ontogeny, professor D. P. Grigoríev who encouraged mineralogists to study and understand stones as true source of main and different mineralogical information and aesthetic beauty.
      Subtitle "Ontogeny of minerals in drawings" on the second issue clearly determines mineralogical tendency, in which mineralogist and artist Victor Slyotov and his student and coauthor, artist Vladimir Makarenko work. Many graphic (white-black) drawings are made by authors with such accuracy and detailed elaboration (minuteness) that they do not demand explanations of specialists who can estimate novelty and scientific value of good and in many respects unique factual material.
      Examples of plastic deformations of antimonite crystals by growing in them thin-grained aggregate of partly crystallized quartz grains are wonderful (Fig. 12, 13, N. 1). Many colour drawings (water-colour) made by V. Slyotov together with V. Makarenko are very informative and marvellous too. Here it is enough to mention the picture of simultaneous recrystallization of two different mineral individs, celestine and natural sulphur with features of simultaneous dissolution and growth (Fig. 24, N. 3). All colour drawings are an excellent supplement to graphic materials. Many of them undoubtedly are aniazing for collectors, amateurs, and connoisseurs of minerals. V. Slyotovís graphical images of silica concretions and V. Makarenkoís colour Indian ink drawings of smoky quartz and amethyst in the first issue are gorgeous. Gypsum antholites growing by its basis on porous basement (Fig. 1, N. 2), vivianite in a shell (Fig. 30, N. 2), covellite sheet on chalcopyrite crystal (Fig. 24, N. 2), alexandrite twin (back cover, N. 2) and many other things are excellently drawn. In acolour" image of brightly coloured minerals the complexities in combination of colours appeared. That in small specimen is excellently combined, during magnification on paper can look rather coarse (Fig. 20, N. 3). In that case it would be possible to adeviate from nature and to use to less saturated colours for quartzite. Authors choice of mineral object and technique of image are rather emotional and are not deprived elegancy and refinement. But for the crystallographic purposes, the perspective, shadows, creating and underlining effect of specimen dimension, are not shown and taken into account everywhere. In all that is shown, the drawing is minute, and hardly perceptible thickening of lines or strokes becomes enough for sensation of tridimensionality perception of crystals and druses. The only remark is concerned - Fig. 8, N. 1, where one octahedron looks convex.
      Precise scientific drawings what motive the artist would not be guided by are extremely labour-consuming. Nevertheless, we hope the authors will continue their creative job and the new special art albums on mineral ontogeny will be issued.
      V. Slyotovís attempt of to use mineral forms for creation of abstract artistic images (Fig. 11, N. 2), dendritic art landscapes (Fig. 6, N. 1; Fig. 8 and 9, N. 2), pictures of turned specimen of limonite (Fig. 10, N. 2) is interesting.
      The albums are an excellent present for collectors and amateurs of stones; which extends their ideas about mineral world. For specialists interesting in mineral genesis, it is in many respects the collection of scientific articles in pictures, containing a little known and new information. For teachers of mineralogy, natural sciences or natural history the albums give a possibility to arrange from separate figures different thematic posters for students, for example, "Minerals of silica" (crystals and aggregates of quartz, geods and concretions of chalcedony, agates), using more than 20 lists; a Skeleton crystals and dendrites" (18 drawings); Spherulits and fibrous aggregates" (20 drawings); "Mineral aggregates of caves" (9 drawings); "Twin inter- growths" (10 drawings), etc.
      An unfortunate imperfection of the albums is their price that is relatively high for ordinary scientific employers and students. Unfortunately, the albums were published only at the authorsí expenses, and the price was established in hope though in any measure to compensate their expenses. It is real pleasure to say great thank you to the director of the Fersman Mineralogical Museum RAS, Doctor of Geological-Mineralogical Sciences, Professor Margarita I. Novgorodova and collaborators of this Museum Tatiana M. Pavlova, Alexander A. Evseev, Dmitriy I. Belakovsky who in their best way promoted the publications. Realization of project a Mineral Drawings" hardly would possible without their unselfish help and support.
      It would be desirable to trust that further fruitful collaboration of the authors and the Mineralogical Museum, where was the presentation of the first album "Drawing Minerals" took place and the exhibition of works of V. A. Slyotov and V. S. Makarenko was organized, will be even more successful, and they will please experts and amateurs of minerals with new interesting works. It is also appropriate to mention that there are 192 specimens of different minerals in Museum collection presented by Victor. A. Slyotov.        

(Was Published in "New Data on Minerals", Issue 40, 2005.,
Moscow, Ocean Pictures)



       őŠ ņ‚ÚÓūŗű    "Mineral Drawings". Issue I.    "Mineral Drawings". Issue II     "Mineral Drawings". Issue III.

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