Balalaika: Art and Music

Thorvald Hellesen, Balalaika (NOR), 1916, oil on canvas, 61 x 50 cm, Source: Nasjonalmuseet, The Fine Art Collections

Who Is Thorvald Hellesen?

Thorvald Hellesen (25 December 1888 – 22 October 1937) was a Norwegian abstract artist, designer and painter. His art was associated with the Orphic Cubism movement.

Around 1920, Hellesen…was one of few Norwegian artists to be inspired by cubism, but the painting also evinces a keen awareness of the other nascent movements of the time.

Text: Øystein Ustvedt
From “Highlights. Art from Antiquity to 1945”, Nasjonalmuseet 2014, ISBN 978-82-8154-088-0

What is a Balalaika?

Anastasiia Tiurina (age 7 years) “Valenki” balalaika

Although we do not know why Thorvald Hellesen chose to depict a balalaika in this painting, musical instruments in general were a frequent motif in cubist paintings. The balalaika has its origins in Russian folk music and is often used to articulate a quick, repetitive rhythm, and both musicality and rhythm typify Hellesen’s painting.

Text: Øystein Ustvedt
From “Highlights. Art from Antiquity to 1945”, Nasjonalmuseet 2014, ISBN 978-82-8154-088-0

Click for Enlarged View

Slideshow best viewed At Sunnyside

Details: Art

Details: Music

  • Concert variations on the theme of the Russian folk song “Valenki”
  • Artist: Anastasia Tyurina (balalaika)
  • Osipov Russian Folk Orchestra
  • Conductor – Vladimir Andropov
  • Tchaikovsky Concert Hall
  • Moscow, September 13, 2018

Read More

Thorvald Hellesen at wikiwand


Thanks for Visiting! 🙂


17 Comments Add yours

  1. The Eclectic Contrarian says:

    That is one tremendously talented young lady!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Spunky little thing, isn’t she?! Thanks for visiting, EC. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thoroughly enjoyable. Art and music definitley do go hand in hand. I had never seen a Balalaika before, I was attracted to it because I have a passion for stringed instruments.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I decided to post before completing this morning, but have just updated. The instrument is so interesting to me that I wanted to read some more. Knowing you enjoyed this through your love of guitar makes my day, Ally. Thanks for visting! 😊 ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome my friend. Take care and be well 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely 😊. I really liked your idea of putting the video with rhe painting. What a little prodigy!!! Thank you for raising our awareness to new flavor combinations. Happy Sunday!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She is remarkable! 🙂 Thanks for visiting, Jennifer, and Happy Sunday to you also! 🙏


  4. I always learn something here. I cannot say I am a fan of cubist art. Instead, this post drew my attention b/c it featured the balalaika. My mother loved the film “Doctor Zhivago” which, also, featured the balalaika. Thank you for reminding me of her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anna, so sorry for the delay. I’m pleased that you shared your memory of your mother and the balalaika. I haven’t watched “Doctor Zhivago” in many, many years and did not even remember a balalaika. Thank you for posting! ❤️


  5. Joyce Bowen says:

    I recommend you sit back and close your eyes. It is breathtaking that way…


  6. Joyce Bowen says:

    I sent it off to a dastardly scientist. I did it on a whim. Do you think he can be melted towards life with beauty?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tough case, hmmm…..we can hope! lol

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Marlapaige says:

    I know someone on here that would love this video. I am going to send them a link to this post. I do not know if you get a ping-back for comments, so I left a comment to let you know it touched me enough to share. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome, Marlapaige! Thanks for visiting. 🙂


      1. Marlapaige says:

        Thank you, and you’re welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

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