St. Petersburg Academy of Arts: the history of educational activity beyond the school curriculum. A brief research

Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, and Education — all these words can be read above every of the entrance doors in the main round-shaped courtyard of the Academy of Arts building. These words are seen as the motto of this educational institution, the oldest Russian Art Academy. Every year, tens of students, the future painters, graphic artists, architects, and art critics enter The I.E. Repin St.Petersburg State Academy Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Being within the walls of the Institute, not only students have  the professional training and gain the necessary skills, but interact with their mentors, any of whom are outstanding figures in art and culture, persons of the world reputation. Thereby, the cultural and educational environment so beneficial for students has been created.

At the same time, the educational activity of the Academy of Arts in the past and the I.E. Repin Art Institute now has never confined itself to the school activity only. The importance of this fact can hardly be overestimated. A considerable amount of work in this area has been done since the foundation of the Academy, and nowadays this work is being done to support art-lovers in their desire to acquire basic knowledge and gain the necessary skills in arts.

These days, the educational activity in the I.E. Repin Art Institute is very versatile. Apart from the formal preparatory courses for the future applicants, who are willing to take courses to prepare for the entrance exams, there are other courses such as the Evening Drawing Classes and the Faculty of Professional Development for the teachers of art schools and colleges. These departments of the Academy follow the long-lasting historical tradition which dates back to the 19th century.     As far back as in the years of 1835-1841, Pavel Andreevich Fedotov, an outstanding Russian artist attended the Academical evening drawing classes. He had the ticket number 241, which gave him the right to participate in these training sessions.  Admittedly, P.A. Fedotov didn’t become a professional artist within the days. Serving as a Beefeater at the Finnish Regiment, he drew just for his delight and very often doing a favour for his friends when they asked him to draw the caricatures of their brother officers. He made the crucial decision to be into art when, as he thought, he wasn’t very young, at the age of 26. He couldn’t resign from the military service immediately due to financial reasons; that’s why he attended the Academy’s Evening Drawing Classes in his spare time. Pavel Fedotov used any opportunity to acquire skills during the classes as well as while painting and drawing from life.

Another reason to attend the classes regularly was the proximity to the Academy from the Finnish regiment’s military quarters, which also were located on Vasilievsky Island. Therefore, it was very convenient for Fedotov to set aside the time for art studies. It is also known that Pavel Fedotov was assigned directly to the second form after the entrance exams: students of this year must copy exceptional drawings of famous artists. However,  Pavel Fedotov attended academic classes occasionally, when, in his opinion, it wasnecessary.

The exact meaning of these words, the courses weren’t a professional educational institution; Students needn’t to follow a particular schedule; attendance of the classes was the matter of their choice. Most of the audience consisted of amateurs. Servicemen, merchants, in other words, people of a great variety of ranks and social positions came there. At the beginning of 1830-s Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol also attended these classes.

The close collaboration between the Society of the  Society for the Encouragement of the Arts (which was also called The Society of the Encouragenent of the Artisits until 1875) and the Academy played an important part in the history of the Academy’s educational extra-curricular activity. Later the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts became to be called as the Imperial Society for the Encouragement of the Arts. In 1820, three private individuals P.A. Kikin, the secretary of state, Prince I.A. Gagarin, and lieutenant-colonel A. I. Dmitriev-Mamonov founded the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts. Then two more art-lovers V. I. Keel and F. F. Shubert joined to them. Those five people signed on November 30, 1821, the initial «Basic Rules for the Guidance and Activity of the Society.» The aim of the Society was the popularization of artworks by organizing permanent exhibitions, art lotteries and the commissions on artworks.

.

The 1820-30-s were the years when the Academy experienced significant financial difficulties that affected its educational activity. A.I.Olenin was the President of the Academy of Arts at that time. Many investments were made in the construction of the new buildings, reconstructions of the old facilities and improving living and studying conditions of the students. Therefore, there weren’t extra funds for the incentive payments for the successful students. The Society for the Encouragement of the Arts organized in addition to the Academy medals, three medals for distinguished students: 1 medal of the first rate and two medals of the second. In 1821 Karl and Alexander Brullov were awarded and sent overseas for the additional vocational training. In 1827 Alexander Ivanov, and in 1830 N.G.Tchernestov and A.V. Tyranov were also sent abroad. The Society also allocated means for the trips across Russia. The Society of the Arts Promotion also paid for the tuition of those young artists who took classes from some of the famous artists. N.G. Tchernestov learned from Vorobiov, N.S. Krylov learned from Venetsianov, A.N. Mokritsky, and T. G. Shevchenko studied at the Karl Brullov’s studio.

In 1824, the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts organized a special class where attendants could paint and draw from live models. Everyone could attend this class, even though they were not allowed to do this at the Academy. The Society paid significant sums of money (about 1500 roubles a year) for the attendance tickets for art lovers making them possible to attend the Academy’s painting and drawing classes.

The new stage of the educational extra curriculum activity of the St.Petersburg Academy of Arts had started since the second third of the 19th century. The new drawing school, founded on E.F.Kankrin’s initiative, had appeared in 1839. Children from a lower class could enter that school. It was a purely technical school, which was patronized by the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts. Later, in 1857, this school was taken over by the Society. After the closure of the lower classes of the Arts Academy in 1959, many of former students of the Academy continued to study at that school. Instead of the two classes of drawing as well as the classes of sculpture and design, five classes of general drawing and ten special classes were set up. 1000 students attended that school where 15 teachers worked. It was a single school, which students were prepared for the entrance exams to the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. Later on, the branches of that school were opened in St.Petersburg’s suburbs (on the Peterhof and Shlisselburg roads) In 1870 the Museum of Art and Industry was inaugurated in the school premises, and since 1861the Friday Drawing Classes started functioning. The new curriculum was created in 1868. There were two departments at that school: the department of general drawing and arts and crafts department. The programs of the Drawing Department consisted of the following levels:

Preparatory

  1. The drawing of the 3-D objects and shading
  2. The drawing of the ornaments of different styles from the plaster casts
  3. The drawing of the parts of the human body and plaster masks
  4. Pencil drawing from the plaster cast busts and plaster casts full height sculptures
  5. Sunday class. The pencil drawing of the live model.
  6. Watercolour copying from the classic originals.
  7. Watercolour painting of the real objects.
  8. Arts and Crafts Department The acquaintance with the trades and technical skills of each handicraft.
  9. Draftsmanship
  10. The Composition of the Ornaments
  11. Sculpting the simple ornaments from clay.

44.Woodcut from the plaster casts, wooden models, and drawings

  1. Woodcut and lithography.
  2. Painting on porcelain, highly glazed pottery, glass and copper enamel.

There were a museum and library at school.

I.E.Repin tells us about his school studies in his Memoirs and Reflections.

 At that time the School was located in the building of the Stock Exchange, near the Palace Bridge. The tuition fee, which was about 3 roubles per year, was quite affordable for the students. The first work for which I.E. Repin received the highest grade, number 1, was his drawing of the burdock leaf from the plaster cast.

At that time, many great tutors, such as a P.I: Zerm and R.K. Zhukovskii taught at school. Nevertheless, the leading figure was I.N. Kramskoy, who won full trust and respect of the students. He used to come to the students only on Sundays, so it was tough to take the most advantageous position to paint live models during Kramskoy’s training sessions. Shortly, I.E. Repin realized that he got everything possible from the School of the Arts Promotion Society, and he was advised to attend the lectures and training sessions at the St.Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts as an auditor. To achieve this goal Repin needed to arrange to be let in with the Academy’s inspector. He also needed to pass the exam on drawing the plaster cast head and pay a quite significant for those days fee — 25 roubles per year. He doesn’t have such a sum; that’s why, following the advice of his acquaintances, Repin found the patron, who paid for his tuition.

The second area of the Academy’s extracurricular activity in the second half of the 19th century was teaching the future gymnasium and elementary drawing school teachers. It was vital for the period of the development of capitalism in Russia. During the first century of its existence, the Academy had been solved such global problems as arts education and guidance of painters, sculptors, and architects, who were capable of performing high state orders and promote fundamental state ideas. Not only in Russia, but in other European countries, where the fast pace of the industrial development led to the necessity in highly qualified specialists, it was the need of the people engaged in craftsmanship and who have artistic skills. All in all, it was vital to have the people who could, draw, design and decorate the things of everyday use and improve the appearance of this stuff. For this purpose, it was not necessary to have the higher artistic education. For the first time, it was necessary to arrange the educational process in gymnasiums, colleges, and elementary art schools, to meet the demands of the modern society. Although the students in the Academy were trained by the highly qualified specialists: painters, sculptors, and architects, however, students weren’t taught the teaching methods. The Academy’s Sunday Drawing classes were set up in 1872 to work out this methodology and give the examples of teaching the subjects related to art.  The senior students of the Academy were engaged to lead the training sessions for the future drawing teachers.  For the Academy of Fine Arts, it was the innovation.

Later, those classes were closed, and The Pedagogical Courses for the Preparation of Drawing Teachers were set up in 1879 under the aegis of Grand Prince Vladimir Alexandrovich. The primary purpose of these courses was stated by V.P.Shemiot and V.F.Evald (the director of the St.Petersburg 1st Technical College) in the Report on Founding Pedagogical Courses under the protection of the Imperial Academy of Arts. In their opinion, to raise the social status of the drawing teacher it is necessary to apply to  the authorities  to help the people who are honoured to be the teachers due to the new regulations in the educational institutions where they are to work, giving them the same rights as to other teachers who teach other school subjects and award them with the same cash and pension. Similarly, the same rights for a pension should have the teachers at the Academy of Art’s normal school. The traditional school, attached to those courses, was also found to give the illustrative example of the correct and rational drawing as a general subject included in the school curriculum. All in all, the aim of these courses was «the creation of the nurseries of ideal teachers.»

The normal school, which was attached to the courses was founded to bring the teaching methods given in these classes to real life. The program of these courses was planned for two years. In the first year, the attendees gained the theoretical knowledge, attending the lessons of the experienced teachers and making their learning guides and albums for students. The second year was devoted to practical training sessions and the writing analysis of the lessons which were given by the students of the courses at the normal school. At the time the sessions started working, there weren’t any restriction to the number of the attendees. About 50 people a year were admitted to the courses. Later on, the enrolment tests were introduced. Only those students of the Academy of the  Arts who studied in the class of the Live Models Painting and drawing could attend these courses. It was not like a few years ago when the first-year students of the Plaster Cast classes, were also permitted for attending the courses. In 1887-1888 the lessons on calligraphy were added to the school curriculum.

The curriculum in the normal school attached to the courses was planned for the four-year period. The children aged between 10 and 14 were admitted to the first form, in the second form the students of 11-15 years old were taught, and the third form was attended by the students between 12 and 16 years old. The certificate of education was required for the application to the school.

«School must restrain the student individuality within the defined bounds with the purpose of getting them accustomed to self-restriction, thereby giving them reasonable and purposefully the possibility to apply their will when they are involved in their independent activity in any area, not the arts only,»- in this way the founders of the school understood the primary goals of this educational institution.

At that time, the professors of The Academy of Arts tried to demonstrate and give the proofs of the leading role of drawing in the contemporary life to the society. Their activity was aimed to educate people and get this message across. So, in the report of A.V.Makovsky, the academician of painting, which was addressed to the 4-the International Congress on the Drawing and Applied Arts and Crafts, Education, it was said: «To study somebody how to see the world around us — is a very challenging task. In the case when our capability to understand is well-developed, everything around us  easier comes to our mind and more clearly understood. The teacher of drawing is — the closest assistant of the university professor.» «It will be simpler to make new ways if the government takes care of the all-round development of our country’s industry to make drawing  turned from comprehensive into the genre of art which is applicable to real life.» On the other hand, the presenter focused on the creative approach to the drawing education. «We don’t need to give only skills, but knowledge to the students,» — it was said in the report. The teaching methodology, which was used in some of the German schools was given as a negative example.

So vital were considered the goals which were set by the Academy’s courses that the special commission consisting of such outstanding artists as A. I. Rezanov, A. I. Somov, D. I. Grimm, V.P.Vereschagin, and V.I.Jakobi were founded. These courses had been functioning until the October Revolution of 1917.

The Revolution of 1917 and all related events made a tremendous impact on all areas of the Academy’s activity, including education and extra-curriculum activity. During more than 30-year period, until the beginning of the 1930s, the Academy had changed three times its official name, and that fact, in V.G.Lisovsky’s opinion «wasn’t  considered as the formality only», it was for «the instability of educational system at that time, uncertainty of its goals and ambiguity of its status.» This devastating for the academic system period of the dramatic search for the right methods in arts and teaching, finished in 1932 when due to the order of the Government of the Russian Socialist Federative Republic issued on October 11, 1932, was founded the All-Russian Academy of Arts.

The documents, coming from the period of the beginning and the middle of the 1930s, tell us about the work of the courses, which were functioning that time in the Leningrad Highest Artistic and Technical Institute and the Leningrad Institute of Painting, Architecture, and Sculpture.

One of these documents is «The Instruction on the Preparatory Courses for Workers in the Leningrad which is related to April 1930. In this Instruction, it is told about the entrance regulations, terms of study and the budget of the courses. The primary purpose of these sessions was the preparation of the young people from the working class for the entrance exams to the All-Union Institute of Art and Technology. The apprenticeship at these courses was one year, during which the applicants studied particular subjects as well as made up the deficiency in general knowledge. Although the established learning was one year, in fact, the length of study varied for different students, depending on their fundamental skills and knowledge. Some of the students studied at the Courses for more than two years. Those students who finished Courses admitted to the Institute without the entrance exams. The young people from the age 25 who had 5-year of the working service, at least, and the volume of knowledge which was equal to the experience of a graduate of a five-year comprehensive school were admitted to this school.  In addition to this, the young people of the age less than 25 who had only three years of the working service, but with the volume of knowledge of a 7-year comprehensive school was also admitted. The work day at the enterprise where the attendees of the courses worked was two hours less than the work hours of the rest of the workers. For the attendees of the Courses, the classes and training sessions were free. The Courses were financed by the trade unions. By 1937, these courses were called off.

As it is known from the archival documents, summer short-term courses worked in the Academy in summer 1937. The mailing report on the organizational work of these courses has come to our day.

These courses for the teachers of art colleges and schools were founded for the learning of the advanced teaching methodology. During the almost two months (since June, 20 to August, 4) 50 teachers from the different cities of our country, did the tasks on various subjects, such as painting and drawing, attending the lectures of the Institute mentors and also visiting different Leningrad museums and listening to the excursions on different topics.

Apart from the courses, there was the faculty for preparing the working class young people for the future study at the Institute (RABFAC). As well as the courses, this department solved the similar problem: to prepare the young people for the working class for the education at the Institute. In these courses the classes on professional training were organized, in addition to these classes, the students enrich their knowledge of general subjects to meet the requirements of the comprehensive school. For the young people of different ages the 3-5 year labour experience was required. The training period in the day and evening departments lasted for four years. To be admitted to the Faculty for the Working Class Young People (RABFAC) the applicants should pass the entrance exams. For the full-time education, there was the exam on testing the knowledge of the volume of the 5-year comprehensive school. To be admitted to the evening courses the students were required to pass the exam on general subjects according to the requirements of the 6-year comprehensive school and also the exams on painting and drawing.

 The Great Patriotic War disrupted the flow of the studying process. Many students went to the battlefront, most of them were not destined to come back. Nevertheless, the students and professors honourably got through, and the new page of the history of the Academy’s educational extra-curriculum activity was turned over. In 1944, after the evacuation, the Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture returned home. That year, the Institute was awarded to be named in honour of I. E. Repin, and the All-Russian Academy of Art was reorganized as the Academy of Arts of the USSR.

In 1959 on the initiative of M.G.Manizer, a prominent Soviet sculptor, the evening drawing classes were opened anew. This event becomes a milestone in the history of the Academy of Art and national art in general. The tradition, which comes from the 19th century, when the society had the need in art education, was continuing. The progressive-minded intellectuals had a desire to help people’s artists to raise their professional skills to the proficiency level. Admittedly, after the Great Patriotic War, many art workshops and studios appeared in the different palaces of culture as well as at the various enterprises where art classes were organized. However, the Evening Drawing Classes at the I.E. Repin Art Institute were unique.

Not only were these classes unique because they aimed at the broad audience, and anyone who has the artistic capabilities was able to attend these classes, but for their unique program. This program, which was similar to the curriculum of the Repin Art Institute, helped the attendees to gain the knowledge of the basics of the classical drawing. Many people at that time expressed the desire to be taught in these classes. By the year of 1979 300 people attended these classes. It was a small number in comparison to the number of the students, who attended the Society of Arts Promotion School at the beginning of the 20th century. At that time it was 1772 students. Despite that, the Academy of Arts and the Repin Art Institute were trying to solve the problems with finding the premises for the classes to satisfy the needs of people who wanted to learn more about art or improve their artistic skills. After the looking for such facilities, the solution was found. It was the apartments in the Liteiny Yard, whose residents were given new accommodation by the city’s authorities

The Evening Drawing Classes curriculum is planned for the four-year period. The Classes curriculum includes: 1st year — the drawing from the plaster cast classical ornament, 2d year- the drawing of the old plaster cast portrait sculpture. 3d year — the portrait from a live model. 4th year — the drawing of a nude model. During these four years, the typical dropout of the students takes place. After finishing the studying course, the students are given a diploma.

 Since the beginning of the 1970s, the educational extra-curriculum activity of the Academy of Arts and the I.E. Repin Art Institute has achieved a new level. In 1972, according to the order of The Ministry of Culture of the USSR from June, 19, the Faculty of Development of Vocational Competence was organized by the Repin Art Institute, for the purpose of the vocational training of the teachers from the different regions of our country.  The faculty aims to educate the specialists who have at least five years of working service after receiving their necessary diploma. Besides the tasks of painting, drawing, and composition and writing research works for the art critics and historians, there were given the lectures on philosophy, aesthetics, and the teaching methods. The students of this faculty visited museums and participated in conferences and seminars. The educational period lasted for a year. During this time 40 experts from the different corners of the USSR improved their vocational skills.

It is worth mentioning the term of the 1980s-90s, which is called the post-perestroika period. Those years not only the I.E.Repin Art Institute but many educational and research institutions experienced the significant difficulties related to finances and structural changes. These years are considered as the turning point in the history of our country. Our life has significantly changed.The Academy and Institute got over with the most difficult situations. Nowadays, the Faculty of the Advanced Vocational Training as well as Drawing classes, where the best professors of the Institute are working, is working very productively. In addition to this, the number of potential students who has the desire to gain knowledge of art is growing every year. Even on the Internet, we can find very enthusiastic comments about the Drawing Classes where almost everyone who has the necessary knowledge in the drawing can apply for tuition and be taught by the experienced teachers for a very reasonable price. In this way, any person who teaches art can improve their level attending the classes at the Faculty of the Professional Development. The continuity of traditions is the primary foundation of the Repin Art Institute and its core rule. Nevertheless, there is greater room for our improvement. The administration of the Academy of Arts and the professors of the I.E. Repin Art Institute is not going to be complacent. Nowadays the new teaching methods based on the great traditions of national and world art, are being elaborated. Particular attention is paid to the individual approach to the Academy students, applicants and the attendees of the courses. These principles are the core of our educational system which gives a support to the talented people, who will probably be  the outstanding artists in the future.

Bibliography

    1. Лисовский В.Г. . Академия художеств, Санкт-Петербург, ООО «Алмаз», 1997
    2. Захарченко Е., Мельников, Ф. Вечерние рисовальные. В журн. «Художник», 1988, № 5
    3. Правила Санкт-Петербургской рисовальной школы для вольноприходящих, СПб, 19…
    4. Э.Кузнецов. Павел Федотов. Л., «Искусство», 1990
    5. Программа рисования нормальной школы при педагогических курсах для приготовления учителей рисования в Императорской Академии художеств. СПб, 19…
    6. С. Кондаков. Императорская Академия художеств. СПб, 1914
    7. Записка об учреждении педагогических курсов при Императорской Академии художеств, СПб, 1876
    8. Четвертый международный конгресс в Дрездене по вопросам обучения рисованию и прикладному искусству. Доклад преподавателя-руководителя педагогических курсов при Императорской Академии художеств академика А.В.Маковского., СПб, 1912.
    9. Положение о педагогических курсах при Императорской Академии художеств. СПб, 1879
    10. Сведения о педагогических курсах и нормальной школе рисования, состоящих при Императорской Академии художеств. СПб., 1895
    11. Краткий исторический очерк императорского общества поощрения художеств. 1820-1890 гг. Составил секретарь общества Н.Собко. СПб, 1890
    12. Столпянский П.Н. Старый Петербург и Общество поощрения художеств, Л., 1928
    13. Репин. И.Е. Далекое близкое. Л., «Художник РСФСР», 1986
    14. НБА РАХ, фонд 7, оп. 1., ед. хр. 950 -974
    15. НБА РАХ, фонд 7, оп. 2, ч.1, ед.хр.495 – 1427
    16. НБА РАХ, фонд 7, оп. 5, ед. хр.4009 – 4214
    17. НБА РАХ, фонд 7, оп. 6, ед. хр.:25 — 1046  
  •  

 

 

My short memoirs about A. L. Korolev

 

 

 

Many outstanding painters, sculptors, architects, and art historians have studied at the St. Petersburg Academy of Art, which walls witnessed many personal histories. It’s worth remembering for the rest of your life. The atmosphere of the Academy evokes such recollections. It often happens when I immerse in the recollections of those people who is not alive, walking along the long Academy’s  corridors with arched ceilings: at the moment when I start looking at the photos of the Academy’s professors, which are placed on the walls. When I walk to my workplace, listening to the resonating sounds of my steps, I come to realize all significance of these personalities, the people, who leave a mark in the history of our Alma Mater. Many generations of the graduates are grateful to these people for the knowledge they passed on.

Alexander Leonidovich Korolev, my tutor and the professor of drawing, is one of them. When I was a student, he worked in the Andrei Andreevich Mylnikov’s studio as a teacher of drawing. His lessons, as well as the teachings of Andrei Andrei Andreevich, have become for me, invaluable assets, which I use throughout my conscious life as an artist.

I got to know about Alexander Leonidovich in 1979. At that time, we were very young and enthusiastic people, who set ambitious goals, being eager to overcome all difficulties and enter the Repin Art Institute which has always been called the Academy of Arts. Then many young people come to the Academy from everywhere, from all corners of our country which had vast territories those years, including the lands of all the former republics of the Soviet Union. For some of them, it was the first time experience when they have to prepare for dealing with the tough entrance examinations, while others had already had the negative experience of the failure. That’s why we decided to go all lengths to organize the preparation process.

At that time, it was quite a complicated problem, because there weren’t any official preparatory courses. Viacheslav Danilov was the person who propelled the idea of organizing such courses; we totally relied on him. He had been living in Leningrad for a few years, so he had some experience and organizational skills. As a graphic designer, he worked in one of the offices and was provided by his organization with a room where he lived. By using good connections among the administration of his office, he reached an agreement, according to which we could rent a few rooms in the building waiting for the repairing work and whose residents had been provided with the new accommodation. It might be for the Soviet mismanagement or the unjustified extravagance that the city authorities preferred to turn a blind eye to the facts like this. Nevertheless, we were lucky to have a place for our studies. All necessary facilities were functioning: water supply, electricity, engineering and heating system. The latter was precisely the facility we needed the most. If we have heating system functioning, it is the guarantee that the models who posed and to whom we have to pay wouldn’t quit their job. On the contrary, they felt quite comfortable. Later we decided to invite more attendees for the financial reasons.

To find out the potential students for the newly-founded courses, Slava Danilov mentioned above, got permission from V. I. Statsenko, the executive secretary of the Repin Art Institute Acceptance board to be present at his meetings with people who were about to decide whether or not to apply for the entrance exams. Those, young people, showed Vladimir Ivanovich their homework, asking him for advice, hadn’t been the applicants, though. For some people, in his opinion, it would be better to submit their homemade artworks to the acceptance board and wait for the official permission to take the entrance exams. For others, the best option would be not to apply for the Academy exams. There were quite a few people, talented and suitable for this educational institution, but they weren’t trained enough to pass the entrance exams that year, and therefore, those people were invited to attend our courses.

After all, we got through everything: we found the premises and agreed with the models. And finally, we had to find a teacher. Undoubtedly, it was Vladimir Ivanovich Statsenko, who became our mentor; now it is working in our Institute as an associate professor.

Thanks to Vladimir Ivanovich, the newly opened classes drew attention of many potential hopefuls very soon. We had many talks about art, as well as on how the real artist should think about their creativity and everyday life. From him, I got to know about Alexandr Leonidovich Korolev. Vladimir Ivanovich was a sage person: he had never interfered in the work of his student and always tried to make the students find a solution to their problem by themselves. It often happens in real life: if you want to persuade your partner to do something do it in such a way as convincing them that it is their idea, not yours; and not in a preaching or humiliating manner.

In that way, we were taught drawing. Vladimir Ivanovich tried to give us the material in the most convincing way, explaining by his words, supporting his explanations by schemes, which were drawn aside, in the margins of our drawings. He told later that Korolev’s method was the most preferable teaching method for him.

The next acquaintance, yet distant with Alexander Leonidovich Korolev and his method was made when I was the student of the Repin Art Institute, studying at the B.M.Lavrenko’s and G.I.Manasherov’s studios.

Between my current classes, I dropped in the A. A. Mylnikyv’s studio to see how the senior students were working on their tasks. What I liked the most was visiting the midterm exhibitions and learning from the works of senior students. I found out many useful things to take into account and use them later in my drawings and paintings.

Finally, for me as well as for my other classmates, it became the time to choose the studio and the professor to work with for the three years of studying as a senior student. It goes without saying; I submitted my application to  Andrei Andreevich Mylnikov’s studio. I couldn’t help but was very excited when I found  that I was accepted. I was making plans for the subsequent years of my studying. In such a positive mood, I started my third-year study.

Everything was unusual for me from the beginning. Instead of small rooms, where we had had our classes, I got to a spacious studio. We worked along with the four-year students. We could see their work process and learn from their experience.

There were three models in our studio, whose figures were represented the different types of male body. The eldest model was Uncle Sasha (as we called him), a retired man, very lean, not tall — he might be in his mid-seventies. Using his figure as an example was very convenient for studying the structure of the different parts of the human body. Another model was Alexey Grobov, whose slenderness and well-proportioned body reminded me of the ideal forms of the Ancient Greek and Roman sculptures. And finally, Kostia, the former sailor, the man of average height, stocky, with impressive muscles and well-trained body, who reminded to a certain extent, the heroes of Michelangelo’s masterpieces.

Then I chose Alexey as a model to draw. What I would like to express is the flexibility of his body. I still remember our first class on drawing. It was an ordinary session, but Alexander Leonidovich, as it seemed to me, came out of the blue. It was not a very tall man, who was dressed in a suit which was as neat as a new pin. His well-trimmed hair were grizzled. His face with a radiant smile as well as his eyes looking at us attracted me. Quickly overlooking our group, he swiftly approached us. The work had started, it was his work.

Alexander Leonidovich didn’t pass over any of the students. He had stopped near everyone, starting his meticulous analysis of each student’s work, giving some tips. It took about 10-15 minutes for each student. At that moment, his cheerfulness had gone, and he became very focused. During that short time, he gave the student very detailed instructions describing the way  in which each work should be continued. Importantly, he drew the schemes left or right on the same sheet of paper,  near the student’s work. Finally, I was able to see that in reality.

Alexander Leonidovich said: «Observing a human body carefully, you need to recognize the position of its different parts when the weight of the standing model rests mainly on their one leg. To depict this position you need to  know about body’s vertical and horizontal axes and also about a horizontal plane, standing on which, the model touches by  the feet of their bearing and free legs.»

He was of the opinion that the proportions of the human body should be defined more precisely, during the process of drawing. However, he didn’t recommend using measuring tools: the only sense of proportions and the ability to compare the sizes of the different parts of the body, such as legs, hands, torso, etc., — is the method for an artist to follow.

It is necessary to recognize the longitudinal and cross segments of the body when defining the foreshortening, trunk bending, and different perspective. This stage of work requires a significant amount of attention: you need to grasp the position of the body in space, identifying its movement and posture. It is also important to understand how one part of the body followed by another. To depict very sophisticated forms of the human body, you need to draw a preliminary scheme, identifying body’s structure, and then you need to complicate this framework step by step.While drawing a model, it is advisable to keep the same position, looking at the figure from the initial point of view, however, you don’t need to stay in the same place. It is recommended to go round the model and look intently from different angles to understand better their shapes which you are going to depict.

You need to analyse regularly the anatomy of the human body: it helps to deal with such a problem as the copying of the model without understanding its structure and forms and gives the opportunity to realize the body shapes, expressing this in the art forms.

«At the beginning of the task, — said Alexander Leonidovich, — lines as contours or the auxiliary elements for building up forms in the drawing, are crucial as the means for creating the artwork. In his opinion, three-dimensionality should be expressed by using the methods continuous-tone drawing. Only by these methods and paying attention to the model’s proportions, character, and materiality can you depict correctly human body. You should not divide your work on your drawing into different stages separated from each other, such as building up, placing the figure in a particular position, identifying its proportions, modelling by tone, etc. All these stages are closely connected to each other and require your attention.

While Alexander Leonidovich insisted on the holistic approach to the artwork, he paid lots of attention to the integrity of lights and shadows, the changes of which need to be followed. As usual, these contrasts are more distinct near the source of light, and gradually become less evident when they are more distant from it. The contrasts are much lower on the objects which are located further from the eyes of an artist. Therefore, it is necessary to identify the line which exposes the structure of a form.

The drawing could be not very sophisticated, and the changing of its tones could also be very smooth. However, it is recommended to keep to the correct ratio of the tones: from the darkest to the lightest within the range of the tonality that you thought of.

The line should help you to define the boundaries of bones, muscles, and tendons. In this case, the line and tone in the drawing should complement each other, depicting the object of a human body.

When working on the picture of the human body, you need to express the naturalness in its pose or movement, not being led by the model, who tends to change their position, misleading the artist. Korolev always said: «You need to remember that changing the position of a human body doesn’t mean that its proportions also change.»

«In due course. — Continued Alexander Leonidovich, — you acquire the necessary skills to work without a preliminary scheme, which helps you to draw the human body. You will have this scheme in your mind, but taking into account some ground rules: and you needn’t be immersed in the boring process of drawing a figure, which, admittedly, is necessary when you learn how to do this. You will have a more creative attitude, having a desire to analyse human figure, nevertheless.

In addition to the scheduled drawing sessions, I tried to set aside the hours to draw over time with the senior students. Alexander Leonidovich encouraged us to do extra work. As for me, being a third-year student, I often attended the drawing sessions with the five-year students, where more difficult tasks than we used to do were given to the attendees: according to the program, they must make a picture with two male figures.

I would like to admit that it was the group where there were many very talented students, who later became remarkable artists and teachers. Alexander Kirovich Bystrov is one of them. He currently is one of the leading professors in our Institute. I learned much from this group.

Alexander Leonidovich was a very versatile mentor. Apart from practical training, he was engaged in the academic and educational activity. His articles about the methods of drawing were published in the Institute’s scientific editions. He gave lectures. Luckily, I attended one of his lectures. It took place in 1986, in the premises of the Academic Drawing Classes, in the Liteiny Yard. Many people gathered there, being interested in absorbing the information. After a quite a short time, the drawings which were used for this lecture were exhibited in the office of the dean of the Faculty of Painting. All materials, which had gained and elaborated during his pedagogical career and laid the foundations of his theoretical research, were presented at that exhibition. For me, as well for many students, these materials were great value. It was Sergey Machehin, who was a student, from the group which were a year younger, and, in addition to this, a very skilful photographer: he took the photos from the exhibited schemes. Later, I made a special album with these pictures. This album was very helpful for me when I taught my students.

Drawing for Korolev was the area, where he was in his element: he was passionate about drawing. The primary goal of his pedagogical and academic activity, for Alexander Leonidovich, was the protection and increasing the traditions of the Russian classical school of drawing. Then he told us many times that the Russian school of drawing is one of the best.

He told us about his academic missions in different countries and various educational art institutions which he had visited. The material he gathered was used at that time for the preparation for a significant number of scientific conferences.

Alexander Leonidovich was astonished by the fact that in spite of his expectations in such countries as Italy and France, which by right are considered as the cradle of classical art, many realistic traditions in art teaching were lost. He was amused by one funny occurrence: one day, he attended the class in one of the Italian educational institutions. The students were drawing the sitting model, being turned back to this person! It might be more convenient for them. Not trusting their own eyes, the students, when necessary, turned to their model and made the measurements using special metal sticks! Only after that, they drew the lines and hatched the shadows,completely ignoring the live contact with the model they have to draw.There is one more story told us by Alexander Leonidovich, very touching and a little bit romantic. Walking along the Montmartre, Alexander Leonidovich looked very intently at the painting and drawings of the artists who was working there. One of them, a woman asked him if he wished to have his portrait drawn. Having agreed, Alexander Leonidovich made his counter-proposition draw the picture of her. Having been curious about who was this gentleman she didn’t know, she had no choice as to agree to pose for him. Nevertheless, in the end, she couldn’t find the right words to express her gratitude and the admiration of his talent. That day when the delegation of the Russians professors was about to drive off, she came to their coach to say good words to her new acquaintance and to see the artist whose pictures she began to like.

Alexander Leonidovich had always considered that event as the evidence of respect for our artistic traditions and he remembered that day for the rest of his life.

As I said before, he was passionate about art, being ready to talk about the masterpieces of the world art for hours. I remember his excitement when he was talking about what he had seen in Egypt. He was amazed how the Ancient Egyptian sculptors could manage with material and shape the forms: they feel even tiny nuances. It was for the artist’s skills to express the subtlety of the forms, which you are unable to see: you can feel these nuances only by your palm, touching the smooth polished surface.

His ideas and thoughts about art, very often expressed during his classes, in working order, or during our friendly talks after classes, were sincere, clearly stated and with a great deal of philosophical insight.

I still remember his story about visiting the Sistine Chapel in Rome and the famous Michelangelo’s murals. At that time, I idolized this genius of the Renaissance. I have the same feelings now. Alexander Leonidovich tried to get his impressions across. «You can’t believe, — he said. — When I took a close look at the sitting human figures in the fresco, I came to the conclusion that any person, whichever physical capabilities they have would never be able to stay in such a position. But it makes the idea of this artwork more convincing! As it becomes apparent, art is a delusion, but so compelling, and people are ready to be deluded. It goes without saying, Alexander Leonidovich loved the life and appreciated every its moment.

I remember one day when Andrei Andreevich Mylnikov, set two male models with a motorbike to be painted. He arranged these tasks perfectly, as usual. This very motorbike evoked Alexander Leonidovich’s memories. He remembered the first years after the WWII. That time the old captured motorcycle was brought to the Academy as a prop for models. Although this bike was used as a prop, it was in a full working condition.

Sometimes the students of Academy arranged motorbike races along the Academy’s corridors. Starting near the Dean’s office of the faculty of painting, bikers did their first turn near the Anatomy auditorium. Then the biker took off the run and moved straight away to the doors of the Scientific Library, then pulled up.

 Not only did Alexander Leonidovich recollect those years because he was young, but he loved that time for the incredible sense of life. Many young people, war veterans came to the Academy. They have an ardent desire to make up for the lost time, to complete which hadn’t been completed because of the war and the short of time, to create that world, where they would live by right better.

Despite all the hardships which were typical for that time, our life at the Institute was fascinating and eventful. What’s more, students learned everything very enthusiastically; they organized many events in which a high number of people were engaged. The great majority of the Student Council members were former veterans of the WWII whose determination and exceptional organizational skills played an important part in the institutional life Alexander Leonidovich told us how students’ parties were organized in the studios. The table was set, and many young people were invited to those parties. Many young men and women came to the Academy: they were the students of the Leningrad State Conservatory, the State Leningrad University as well as from others city’s educational institutions. They have a nice time getting together: dancing, talking about art, playing the piano, in other words, life went on a full swing. I even saw a few photos taken at such events. Olia Oreshnikova, my former classmate and the granddaughter of Victor Mikhailovich Oreshnikiv, the famous Russian and Soviet artist, shew us these turning over the pages of an old family album. Cheerful and smiley faces looked at us from these photos. Andrei Andreevich, Alexander Leonidovich and Viktor Mikhailovich himself were also in these pictures. The last meeting with Alexander Leonidovich took place in 1987, after our final exams. Everything had been over: our exams, sleepless nights, the defence of my diploma work. I had to go to Moldavia, to the State Pedagogical Institute, where I was assigned and have to work. Having to make some arrangements before my departure, I came to the institute to sign my round list in the accounting department. I met Alexander Leonidovich in the corridor, near the office of the head of studies. We had a sweet talk, saying goodbye to each other. In the end, he wished me good luck and asked me to think of him if I would get together with my friends, the artists.

I have never seen him afterward; it was the last time we talked to each other. The news about his premature death came when I was in Kishinev: I knew about that from my friends who called me to tell me about that. Being unable to attend the funeral ceremony, I sent the telegram with my condolences. One of his colleagues, Professor Alexander Konstantinovich Sokolov, read it out loud.

Although some people are firmly convinced that there is no one person who can’t be replaced by another, I am not on the same page with them.It is an irrevocable loss for me. Every person is unique, continuing to live after their death because people have the memory of their deeds. Good deeds are always remembered. These memories live in our hearts and souls. Many of artworks, created by Alexander Leonidovich Korolev exist to this day.

One of which is the mosaic on the wall of the building of the Physical and Mathematical Faculty of the State St.Petersburg University, above the entrance, where by coincidence is studying Artem, my son. Another work of Alexander Leonidovich, the stained-glass window is above the moving staircase in the Gostiny Dvor metro station. The composition of this artwork is devoted to the first Russian Revolution of 1905, eclipsed by very expensive advertising billboards, however. It is our reality, the sign of the growing Russian capitalism. Who knows, the time will go by, and these advertising boards will be the thing of the past. I firmly believe in that.

I have one photo from my student years in my album. My friends, AlexanderLeonidovich, and I were photographed at the community work day, in other words, subbotnik. It was one of the first sunny days that spring. Lekha Ivanov, Valka Bobilkov, and I: we’re staying with Alexander Leonidovich. He is smiling with his broad smile: to students, his guys, the sun, good weather, he is in a positive mood. I still remember him as it is in this photo: a smiley, very kind and outgoing person.