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"Cow and Violin" (1913)
By 1913, Malevich was experimenting with cubist compositions clearly inspired by Picasso, whose early cubist work was well known to Russian artists through the impressive holdings of the Moscow collector Sergei Shchukin as well as through numerous reproductions in the leading Russian journals. As always, however, the Russian avant-garde artists did not merely imitate their French contemporaries. The Russian avant-garde painters of this inclination called themselves cubo-futurists, to signify their synthesis of cubist technique and futurist ideology. Malevich's composition in "Cow and Violin" (1913) differs sharply from Picasso's work both in its more colorful palate and in its playful use of an entire miniature cow superimposed on the fragmented instrument. The latter lends Malevich's painting a humorously grotesque note absent in Picasso's more analytic canvases. In this same year, Malevich designed his pathbreaking sets and costumes for the futurist opera Victory Over the Sun.

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