The Jack of Diamonds was an association of artists glorifying subject and objectivity. In their interpretation, painting became not art, but a craft, which also, like any craft, has its own craftsmen, its mediocrity, its geniuses. Just as talent is needed for a carpenter, it is also needed for an artist, and just as an artist can create a masterpiece, so can a carpenter. Mashkov, being a devoted member of the association, always adhered to its basic principles - in portraiture, in landscape, in still life.
Blue Plums is a work in which he deliberately departs from realism. The orange towering on a dish surrounded by plums seems flat. Peaches and apples, laid out around, shimmer in different colors, but not one of them is truly natural. The grotesque and deliberate negligence of execution represent the fruits depicted in the picture only with objects, crude crafts and fakes for real life.
Not trying to transfer them to the canvas in all its beauty, Mashkov shows the failure of the painting, in any case, unable to copy reality as accurately as possible. The picture in its interpretation is just an object that was made by a master craftsman, and there is nothing sublime and divine in it. Glorifying the craft, glorifying industriousness instead of inspiration, in deliberate simplicity Mashkov finds expression of his own convictions.
His painting is a manifesto of simplicity and firmness of hand, and this is his difference from artists who consider their gift different from the gift of a shoemaker or carpenter. Singing themselves, their inspiration, their exaltation over people of simple labor, the artists are unfair, because what they do is also done with their hands and is also just a pale copy of reality. There is nothing divine and worthy of exaltation in this.
Ostroukhov First Greens