Архив рубрики: Академия художеств и её преподаватели

Pavel Chistiakov as an individual, artist, and a mentor

Three years running, I am going for my summer open-air sessions to the town of Pushkin, former Tsarskoye Selo. This name of the town is the one I’m more familiar with because it is initially given to this city and historically more consistent. In addition to this, the town of Tsarskoye Selo is called Muses’ town. It’s true, the muses favoured creative people: poets, artists, writers, architects, and musicians. Near the Lyceum, where Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin studied, the stone with the inscription «To the Genius of the Place» has been installed. Indeed, if the genius of this place does exist, it embodies the spirit of creativity.
There are many places in the town of Tsarskoye Selo, which are closely related to the presence of the famous people — scientists, writers, poets. One of them is the House Museum of Pavel Petrovich Chistiakov located on the Moscow Road (former Fridental Colony). The settlement of this area began in the years of 1816-1827. Due to the census of 1897, there were 228 people living there, most of whom were artisans who produced haberdashery: ribbons, laces, tapes. The Moscow Roadway is an old road which led from Tsarskoye Selo to Moscow as opposed to a straight road which came through Slavianka to Izhora. A trip on this road was allowed only to those people who had the right to do that or had an urgent need. Behind the Moscow Gates, there was an outpost. On one side of the road (on the left if you are back to the Gospitalnaya street), there were the houses of colonists while on the right there were the country houses of wealthy people.
In one of these houses, lived Pavel Petrovich Chistiakov, who, according to Vladimir Stasov, was the teacher of all Russian artists. He lived there from 1876 to 1919, until his death This country house (dacha), later the artist’s residential home, was situated in the amazingly picturesque settings. Between the Pavlovsk roadway and the Moscow roadway, there was the Separate (Otdelny) Park designed in the style of English landscape design. Here there is the extensive Colonist Pond and the dacha of Grand Prince Boris Alexandrovich, built as an English cottage. For Pavel ChistiakovTsarskoye Selo and its surroundings had been quite familiar. Before the construction of his big country house, Pavel Petrovich had had a small home in one of the villages near the town of Pavlovsk. The dacha next belonged to V.V.Deriker, who was a prominent homoeopath in St.Petersburg and the stepfather of the painter’s future wife V.E.Meier-Chistiakova. Later on, N.I.Vavilov, a distinguished scientist and geneticist lived in this country house.
The dacha of P.P.Chistiakov was designed by A.H.Kolb, the architect who was a former student of A.P.Briullov. Nevertheless, the artist himself and his wife Vera Egorovna were very much involved in the creation of the exteriors of this house and its interiors. Wood carving on the facade, a weather-vane and the ceiling painting in the dining room — all these elements of decorum were included in the composition of the house by the architect who was influenced by the artist’s ideas. The idea of the additional entrance to his studio from the street also had come from Pavel Petrovich; similarly, the wishes of the artist were implemented by the architect when the studio was being designed.
Pavel Petrovich and his family lived in this house for decades. The walls of this house witnessed many events; many people have been here. This house made a good impression on people. It looked like the house whose residents lived in plenty. A large circle of friends and family gathered there. But above all, anyone who needed help and support could get them in this house. The doors of this house were opened to all in need. Many artists, scientists, and writers were here such as V.E.Savinsky, N.A. Bruni, A.A.Rizzoni, A.L.Ober, N.A.Laveretsky, A.P.Karpinsky, I.V.Ershov. The family members of the families of D.I.Mendeleev, O.D.Forsh, and I.I.Sreznevsky used to visit the house of Pavel Chistiakov. Next to Pavel Chistiakov’s house there where the houses where lived the artists M.N.Vasiliev, K.A.Gorbunov and sculptor M.V.Kharlamov.
Pavel Petrovich and his wife Vera Egorovna, who possessed great artistic abilities, were the heart and soul of this house. Her self-portrait painted in the years when she was young, we can see in the dining room. However, the young artist didn’t go on the path of developing her talent, totally dedicating herself to her family. In 1928, Olga Forsh, the famous Soviet writer, and S.P. Yaremich, the art historian, wrote a book about Pavel Chistiakov. Olga Forsh describes the dining room: «The table, narrow and long; in the dining room, created according to the design of Pavel Petrovich, there are the walls panelled with white wood. In the middle there is an arch: green ivy, covered it, creeping down on the white windows». [3.298]
Quite often many people gathered at the table in the dining room. O.D.Forsh tells us that the artist had a great pity for people. Apart from his countless relatives from the Tver region, many strangers, including teenagers, always lived in the house.» [3.298]
Next door to the dining room is the living room. The decoration of its interior gives a complete picture of the lifestyle of intelligent people in the 19th century. There are the photos and pictures of Pavel Petrovich and Vera Matveevna Baruzdina, his disciple and niece. Pavel Petrovich was of the high opinion of his niece’s talent. He said that the only two people who mastered his artistic and pedagogical system were Valentin Aleksandrovich Serov and Vera Matveevna Baruzdina.
One can imagine how the evening parties passed in this living room: somebody was playing big piano, the music was playing and the guests were having the nice conversations looking at the photos in the family album. The next room is a small living room. This room gives us the information about the friends of Chistiakov. There are the portraits of the writer Olga Forsh, J.V.Durdin, the artist’s nephew and many other people who were close to Chistiakov’s family on the walls. Nowadays temporary exhibitions of contemporary artists are being arranged in the small living room.
It goes without saying, the artist’s studio itself is the «holy of holies» at this home. Well light and thought-out, this studio was designed according to the wishes and needs of the artist. The light penetrates into the room from the huge window looking to the Moscow road and from a smaller window on the next wall. This room looks like it is filled with air, and it’s easy to breathe when working in it, and you want to create something beautiful. Many paintings that are created in the different years can be seen here on the walls of this room.
The portraits of an Italian girl, a custom-made picture of a woman and a male portrait are among them. Two of his pictures draw our attention: it is «The Blessing of Children» and the portrait of the mother, which is painting with great love, attention to a detail and great mastery. Before the renovation of the museum, which began in 2006 and finished only in summer 2009, visitors could just see the canvas «The Last Minute of Messalina, the Wife of Emperor Claudius.» This painting was supposed to be some sort of a report on his training experience in Italy. The artist had been painting it for many years, but, unfortunately, he did not finish it for many reasons, and still, it remains as the study guide on how to create a picture of a large size. All stages of this composition can be seen. When the museum building was renovated, the picture was taken to the State Russian Museum for the restoration, and due to the fact that the size of this canvas didn’t allow it to be transported in a usual way, in other words, to be taken from the studio on the canvas stretcher, the picture had to be taken from its canvas stretcher and wind on the roller. When it had been restored, therefore, to bring it back, it was necessary to take it again from the canvas stretcher that would make no sense and the colourful layer would be damaged. So, the master’s work remained in the Russian Museum.
The artist’s studio is a place where he stays alone with himself and his images which then enter the world and become close to a spectator. However, Chistiakov gave his heart and soul to people not only by delivering his ideas through his pictures. Today he would have been characterized as a teacher God gifted teacher. At the time he had come to St.Petersburg, he entered the Academy of Arts. He was pretty young. Not only did he set a goal just to gain professional knowledge and acquire skills which were so necessary for him as a professional artist, but do deal with many other mundane goals. He had to solve such issues as how to get by in the capital, to make a living, and more importantly, save the money which he had earned. Pavel Petrovich lived far from the Academy, near the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. There were days when he had to walk about 30 miles, saving the money for a cabman. In addition to this, he had to visit his students at their home and give them lessons on drawing.
Paradoxically, teaching began to play a totally different role in his life. It had become the area of his expertise. In addition to his private lessons, he had classes at the School of the Arts Promotion Society. The pedagogical activities of Pavel Petrovich were not always in favourable conditions. For a long time (about 20 years) he worked at the Academy as an Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Professor on Duty. And only in 1892, he received the rank of the Second Degree Professor. However, he didn’t have an official personal studio where he could teach students. His classes on drawing, arranged in his home studio, were free of charge for the students. He attracted the attention of many people. He was highly respected by many artists, who had graduated the Academy and then took lessons from him. One of his students was Ilya Repin.
And only at the end of his academic service, after the resignation of Ilya Repin from the Academy, Chistiakov received his personal studio, the former studio of Ilya Repin. Unfortunately, he was not very young to use this benefit long time. After two years of teaching at the personal Academic studio (1908-1910) and after two more years, in 1912, Pavel Petrovich retired.
«One is never a prophet in one’s own country». This well-known saying comes to my mind when thinking about Pavel Chistiakov and his professional career. Moreover, during the years of his service at the Academy Chistiakov didn’t have a personal studio, but being in the position of the head of the Mosaic Workshop of the Academy of Arts, he had to do the work to which he did not incline. It was the administrative work: he had to supervise the process of creation of the mosaics for temples and other public buildings throughout Russia.
Undoubtedly, it is vital for a person who chooses art as a profession finding their way of life to meet a wise mentor. For many artists, including almost all our outstanding masters, was Pavel Petrovich Chistiakov. He was highly respected by such famous artists as I.E.Repin, V.I.Surikov, M.I.Vrubel, V.A.Serov, M.V.Nesterov. He was able to recognise the talents of young artists and properly guide them. Being able to teach is a high art. The process of studying itself became very interesting and captivating for the students who studied with Pavel Chistiakov because his method was not based on the classical traditions elaborated during the centuries. Insisting on studying real life, Pavel Petrovich didn’t force his students to fit their drawings to traditional examples.
Contrary to the classical methods of drawing when the artists had to copy carefully the object they drew, follow classical antique canons and even improve the imperfections of models by trying to make them look like ideal antique examples, Chistiakov taught his students to see nature and the world around us and to perceive the image as a whole. «Draw the nose, but think about the ear.» For the students, this instruction had become one of the vital principles to be used when drawing an object. Chistiakov also taught his students how to see the colour and tonal correlations in painted objects.
In the opinion of Pavel Petrovich, the artist, creating their painting, should not be focused on the excellent proportions of human bodies or the perfectly well-arranged environment, as it was vital for the traditional academic method of painting. The relationships between heroes and their emotions is that is really important. It was these principles that he used in his paintings. Starting with the composition «Sofia Vitovtovna at the wedding of the Great Prince Basil the Dark» painted for the big gold medal contest which gave him the right to go abroad for professional training experience.
Pavel Petrovich Chistiakov showed his interest in all phenomena of life. He studies the history of art, followed the news of artistic life, read art critique. In addition to this, interests were not alien to literature, natural science and music: he had an inquisitive mind. Even Ilya Repin in his memories «Close distant past» admitted that Pavel Petrovich liked theorising very much.
Regrettably, this so energetic and talented person did not adequately fulfil his ambitions. After his death, many of his paintings remained unfinished. In his diaries and letters, he paid lots of attention to the ideas about art and pedagogical methods. Unfortunately, the research work on the methods of art teaching had not been created. Pavel Petrovich had always dreamt of that work. Nevertheless, his method of teaching has proved as a very effective for many generations of students. This method is still being used for teaching realistic drawing.
And perhaps, the fact that the house in Tsarskoye Selo where he lived for many years has survived and the memorial museum has been created in it could be regarded as a miracle. I.V.Durdin, the grandson of the artist, recalled how the town of Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo) looked when he saw it in the first months after its liberation. The palaces, parks and many of the town’s buildings were burnt: the town itself was severely damaged. However, the house of Pavel Chistiakov began to change in the pre-war years. In the lifetime of the teacher, when the avant-garde tendencies in art began to gain strength, the artist was unrecognized by the new authorities, treating him as a bourgeois painter and taken away from him his pension and all his academic titles. He died in his home in a cold and hungry 1919. Gradually, the house where the family of artist lived, was «densified», as it was said in the first years of Soviet power. It was characteristic of that period. The existing rooms were divided into the even more significant number of rooms. Therefore, the private apartment had been redesigned: it had served its purpose as a communal apartment. The rooms were shared by a few different families. The studio of Pavel Petrovich rented the Leningrad Union of Artist of the RSFSR.
Such artists as V.E.Savinsky, A.P.Pochtenny, T.P.Liakin, A.V.Mazhaev worked there.
The famous pavilion «The weeping of Yaroslavna», where on the ground floor were located service room and in 1916 lived the writer Olga Forsh with her family, had been destroyed after years of neglecting. The writer returned to the Chistiakov house after the WWII. She lived in the house from1947 to1953 and worked in the artist study over the novels «The Mikhailovsky Castle» and «The Firstborn of Freedom».
But things go back to square one. In 1929, on the initiative of the circle of Pavel Chistiakov and to the 10th anniversary of his death, a plaque was installed at his home. At that time, the memorial plaque was installed in the studio. On this plate it was written: «Posterity, guard the place for the creative activity of the great artist and teacher Pavel Petrovich Chistiakov.» On 1 June 1958, by the 125 anniversary of the artist’s birth, at the Kazan Cemetery of the town of Pushkin was unveiled a headstone monument.
The decision to establish the memorial museum was adopted by the Leningrad Executive Committee (Lengorispolkom) in 1979, and the museum itself was opened in April 1987.
The creation of a memorial museum or even an exhibition is not an easy task as it may seem. It depends on many factors. In the main, for the scientific community, two ways are possible. The first one is showing the atmosphere of the epoch and putting forward the image of the protagonist to whom the exposition is dedicated.The most illustrative example of such an approach is the House Museum (whose another name is the house of the Turbins) in Kiev, where the original writer’s belongings are adjacent to the imitations of the real objects painted white. The research fellows used this method to focus on the historical artefacts, separating them from the replicas. The exhibits are highlighted by the light which is directed to them. The technique which is used by the designers of the exhibition help visitors to concentrate on the objects and immerse in a particular historical environment.
The second method is to focus on the authenticity of the environment and the exhibits, which are to be shown at the highest level of professionalism, so the spectator not only could see them, but feel the magic of the person to whom the exposition is dedicated. It was this method which the staff of the Chistiakov House-Museum chose.
The fact that the relatives of Pavel Chistiakov preserved his paintings, as well as the furniture of his house and his studio, also played a decisive role. It was the significant contributions of O.E. Meyer, the niece of Chistiakov’s wife, and Y.V.Durdin, the grandson of Pavel Petrovich, who donated the artist’s belongings and precious documents to the museum. As in the old days, the house welcomes its guests. The atmosphere of hospitality and comfort are the features which are very important for the visitors. One of the museum’s halls, a small living room, was given to artists for temporary exhibitions. On the second floor, there is a lecture room where the film about Chistiakov is demonstrated. Musical events are also held in the living room. The museum is open to people.
Admittedly, the House Museum of Pavel Chistiakov is not as a popular tourist destination as the world famous parks in Tsarskoye Selo: no crowds of people, no countless number of shuttles can we see here. This museum is designed for a narrower audience, specialists and the people of interest in the Russian Art of the 2d half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. But each person who enters the museum is always fascinated by its cordial atmosphere: everyone is loved and welcome here. All that remains to wish the museum to have more visitors coming here. Many of us have seen «The Idiot”. The TV series, directed by Vladimir Bortko, was based on the eponymous novel written by Fyodor Dostoevsky. A large part of this film was filmed here — at the Chistiakov’s dacha (Lebedev’s dacha in the movie).These episodes were filmed in the authentic settings: it plays a very important role in the creation of the environment of the 19th century. I like coming here. The atmosphere of this place is similar to the atmosphere of Chekhov’s drama plays and stories. This house with the front porch and veranda, the garden, where many flowers are changing each other every season, entice you to stay here for some time sitting on the bench and reflecting on something. It seems that the next moment the owner of this house will join you for starting a slow conversation. It’s really enjoyable, and I’d like to express my gratitude to the museum’s staff for keeping all these treasures for us.

November, 2009


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2. Вильчковский, С.Н. Царское Село. С.Петербург, Титул, 1992. 278 с.
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Лениздат, 1992. 318 с.
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5. Репин, И.Е. Далекое близкое. Ленинград, художник РСФСР, 1986. 488 с.
6. Чурилова, Е.Б. Дом-музей П.П. Чистякова. Путеводитель. Ленинград, Художник
РСФСР, 1988. 16 с.
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Visiting master

Museum-apartment of A.I.Kuindzhi My impressions

The fact that everything is always changing is no more a secret these days.     It seems that craving for novelty nowadays has reached its limits. We are looking for novelty in everything: from new objects and events to scientific discoveries, which give us the key to our understanding the world around us.

     New clothes, books, music, everyday objects, finally making acquaintances and communication with new people. New technological breakthroughs help people: telephone, the Internet, mobile communication, TV, etc.  In this case, the distance does not matter, but the magical world of advertising promises people all new and new possibilities.      

Virtual communication is becoming a real alternative to the world  where we live. Such public places as cafés, restaurants, clubs are becoming popular meeting points. On the other hand, considering the home environment as an intimate space, we try to limit access there even for friends.

The article is devoted to creative work of Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi, an outstanding Russian artist. The creative, pedagogical and public activity of this artist, contributed to the activity of the St.Petersburg Academy of Arts. The results of his work are widely used by the mentors and students of the St.Petersburg Academy of Arts.  This article focuses on to the last period of the master’s life, and the history of Arkhip Kuindzhi Memorial Considering the previous statements, the role of memorial museums is exceptional.  It goes without saying that our city is widely known not for its great museums, which are considered as the main treasure houses of national and the world cultural objects such as The Hermitage, The Russian State Museum, The Museum of Ethnography, but also is remarkable for its museums of a smaller size — memorial museums. Such memorial museums as the museums-apartments of A.S.Pushkin, N.A.Nekrasov and V.V.Nabokov, are known not only in our city.

      The Russian Academy of Arts is keeping to the remarkable tradition: the tradition of the organization and maintenance of memorial museums. The Academy of Arts Research Museum comprises of a few old memorial museums, such as the House Museum of Ilya Repin in Penates (nowadays it is the township of Repino), I.I.Brodsky Apartment Museum, which is located on the Arts Square in St.Petersburg, S.T.Konenkov Apartment Museum in Moscow, as well as relatively new memorial museums: the Museum Dacha of P.P.Chistiakov in Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin) and the Apartment Museum of A.I.Kuindzhi, located on Birzhevaya Linya of Vaslilyevsky Island, house 1/10.

     To what extent are related to each other personal life of an artist and his creativity? We often ask ourselves this question. Is the daily routine as a part of the life of outstanding people interesting for us? If you set the goal «to pick somebody’s pieces,» it might be vital for some people. But in this case, it doesn’t make sense to delve into history, just look at the life of your neighbor or to get to know from the media about the scandalous details from the life of another celebrity.

And what if we consider the private life of a person as a part of a cultural climate of that time?


Today, the memorial museums of artists and writers sparkle considerable interest among people looking for various cultural activities. The Memorial Exhibition dedicated to the life and activity of Karl Gustav Mannerheim, the world-famous Finnish commander, is a bright example of such a scientific approach: it was held in 2005 in the State Hermitage. As a result of the work of the Russian and Finnish experts, this exhibition attracted the attention of many visitors who are interested in the history of relationships between our countries. The work of these experts was crowned with success.

  The dry facts of history are presented in a new light, and history itself and the life of a person who left traces in our memory becomes closer to us, as it seems, and this person is perceived not as an abstract character who left the stage, but we feel the effect of their presence.

     Visiting the artist’s studio is a memorable event for those people, for whom art is not the area of their expertise, but who is interested in learning the art. On the other hand, visiting a memorial studio is also very important for artists regarding such an event as visiting the studio of one of their colleagues. 

Every artist’s studio has its aura that characterizes its owner as an expert and tells us about their mindset. It is essential for the artist to learn from classics as well as from their friends and contemporaries. In addition to this, when visiting Memorial museums-studious, contemporary artists come to realize that these already gone classics are to be considered by them as the older friends and colleagues, to whom they come to reflect, consult and recharge their creative energy.      The memorial museums and the artist studios, established as the branches of the Scientific Research Museum of the Russian Academy of Arts, give us this unique opportunity. Undoubtedly, these museums are very different because of the different personalities of their owners whose life these museums represent. Such museums as I.E.Repin Museum-manor «Penates,» P.P.Chistiakov Museum-dacha in Tsarsloye Selo give us the vivid pictures of the artists’ studios and homes. On the walls of these museums, we can see many photos of friends and relatives of these artists, in a word, those people commonly called the circle of close companionship. There also are many drawings and paintings created by the hosts as well as the other artists who visited these apartments. For example, I.I.Brodsky Apartment-Museum is very important for us not only as a Museum-Apartment of a remarkable man and a cultural figure but for the collection of first-class artworks, which Brodsky collected all his life. Many of these items are unique, for many artists who are at the beginnings of their careers, it is a kind of examples, from which they study art.

     The Museum Exposition in the apartment of A.I.Kuindzhi was formed relatively recently, in the year of 1994. The difficulty of its formation was that unlike the museums mentioned above, almost nothing of the home and personal belongings of A.I. Kuindzhi has remained. The staff of the museum set a noble goal: to pay a debt of gratitude to a person whose basic life principle was to help to all those who need help.

  The life of Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi cannot be described as mild and cloudless. All his life he had to withstand the tests of endurance and deal with problems.The artist came from a low-income family, in the early years he lost his parents, being brought up by his older brother. He got to know what hard work is about from his experience. Following his dream, he had always helped those people who had the aspirations to comprehend the beautiful. His way to St. Petersburg and the Academy of Arts was not easy. When he was a young man, admiring by the paintings of Konstantin Aivazovsky, Kuindzhi had walked the way from Mariupol to Feodosia. He passed this way together with chumaks.These people were engaged in the trade and delivery of goods, in particular, salt. We know not much about the life of Arkhip Kuindzhi in Feodosia. The only known fact is that he didn’t become the apprentice of the prominent seascape painter. Evidently, he didn’t find Maestro at home, because he was away.  From other sources, we get to know that the level of skills of the young man wasn’t sufficient to take classes from so prominent artist as Aivazovsky was. Kuindzhi might assume that for such crowned with laurels master as it was Aivazovsky, it would be more interesting to have more trained students. There is a legend in which it is said that Kuindzhi had got to know the critical opinion of maestro about his capabilities. Aivazovsky believed that this young admirer of him had enough talent only to paint the fences. So Arkhip did exactly this task, painting the fences at the site of the great marine painter. In fact, the first serious lessons on painting  Kuindzhi got from K.Fessler the former student of Konstantin Aivazovsky. Kuindzhi had to come back to Mariupol. However, he had never given up his dream of becoming an expert in his area, and his belief that he could perfectly express himself was only getting stronger.

     Being driven by this dream, he went to St.Petersburg.  He had become an external student of St.Petersburg Imperial Academy of Arts.

        Like for any person coming from the province, it is hard to get accustomed to the environment of the capital as long as there was a significant gap between hot and sunny Mariupol, its grassroots surroundings and cold and aristocratic St.Petersburg. In addition to this, Kuindzhi had to deal with the difficulties caused by insufficiency of his general education. In fact, he was a semi-literate young man, and we don’t know for sure whether or not he received a complete primary education. Even when he had to be given the title of a class artist in the year of 1968 for the picture «A Tatar Saklya in Crimea in the Moonlight,» the problem of passing exams on general and precise subjects such as History of Art, Perspective, and others, had arisen. The administration of the Academy made concessions to allow Kuindzhi to take the exam minimizing the requirements to the candidate.

      It wasn’t the case of Kuindzhi only. There were other similar cases. The Academy had been gradually changing, moving away from the traditional rules and regulations of classicism and accepting many young people from different social classes. On the other hand, there was the position expressed by the group of artists headed by Ivan Kramskoy. He stood for the equality of rights to choose any topic: apart from historical and religious subjects,  the problems of people’s everyday life were vital for him and his circle. The activity of this group determined the development of the Russian art for the nearest decades and the emergence of the new aesthetics. It was the time of heated debates in arts and politics. As an artist, Arkhip Kuindzhi has been strongly influenced by these modern trends. Such questions as the questions about his future position in arts and social life, whether he would become a true master, and what he be doing for a living, were vital for him. He had neither sponsorship nor moral support. This challenging situation led him to the negative thoughts. Once, he was on the verge of making such a crucial for himself decision as to quit the Academy and give up his hopes of being an artist. Then, Victor Vasnetsov had found him in a workshop of a photographer where Kuindzhi went to work as a retoucher. Vasnetsov talked Kuindzhi come back to his studies in the Academy.

   Ilya Repin wrote about that period: » Those days the life of the young people who were studying art revolved around the attics of the Academy of the Academy of Arts, where Arkhip Kuindzhi,  a humble poor young man had appeared. Nobody had noticed his appearance at first. Kuindzhi had great shortcomings in education. Being narrow-minded, abrupt and behaving like a savage, he did not recognize any traditions.

He, as it is called, was going straightforward, and, sometimes even insulted traditional relics of art, considering it outdated. He used his mind to delve into the problems.» Nevertheless, despite his categorical approach, he was honest and human, no matter how his life was difficult, he had always tried to help those people who were worse off than him. Many people were happy to communicate with him; he was loved for his openness, candor, and uncompromisingness. One of his first apartments, which he rented in St.Petersburg, was the flat whose landlady was somebody of Mazaniha. It was located at the corner of Bolshoi Prospect and the Fifth Line of Vasilievsky Island. It had always been opened for his fellow-students of the Academy of Arts. The notable events of social life and art, as well as other topical subjects, which were discussed at his tea parties, are remaining in memory of people. Everyone had the sense of belonging to the single large family.

  I.E.Repin specifies another address of A.I.Kuindzhi. It is the house of Grebionka, on the corner of Bolshoy Prospect and the Sixth Line of Vasilievsky island. Those days there were the apartment and studio of the artist. It was another period of his life, the time when he was widely recognized. Visiting the exhibitions with his canvases, which looked as they were glowing from inside, people were trying to get to know the secret of this luminiferous painting. «From time to time, many cab drivers with their passengers drove to the house, which was situated at the corner of the Sixth line near the market, where the artist lived. Those people climbed the steep stairs to the top and called to The Wizard. They called A.I Kuindzhi The Wizard because of the impossibility to unravel the secret of the color in the artist’s paintings and his style of applying the oil paints to the canvas. So great was the influx of visitors that Kuindzhi had  finally hung the ad in which wrote: «Nobody is admitted.»

Using the modern language, the acquisition of stardom didn’t lead the artist to look down on others. In his private life, Kuindzhi didn’t keep an extravagant lifestyle, as it did I.N. Kramskoy.

     Having become one of the recognized leaders in Russian landscape painting, A.I. Kuindzhi had always remembered the years of his poverty and hardship, not holding grudges on someone who might not be conscious of it, caused him trouble. For example, he had never talked back about  I.K Aivazovsky, who had not expressed his enthusiasm about the earliest creative works of A.I. Kuindzhi. Despite all hardships of his young years, he had no desire to «take revenge» for the years of poverty by leading the extravagant lifestyle: on the contrary, in a real sense, he was a skilled person who had common sense.

          In 1873 he married V.E.Ketcherzhi, a young lady from a wealthy merchant family, he loved for many years. Then, in this case, he showed his proud, independent and purposeful character, and only when he stood to his own feet and was able to maintain his family, only after that, he announced and fulfilled his decision. He brought his young wife from Mariupol to St.Petersburg. They rented an apartment, which was furnished with the modest furniture. All the belongings of the married couple were purchased at sales. The only expensive thing  —   a wedding gift to his fiancée — was the big piano, on which Arkhip Ivanovich had been saving his money for a long time. What was important in their married life was their mutual understanding. Vera Elevfirievna — the artist’s wife, considering the everyday work of the artist as extremely important, apart from cleaning of their apartment (the couple had never hired servants), wiped the dust from every tube of husband’s oil- paints. The paintings of Arkhip Kuindzhi went for a very high price: customers paid for them much more than for the portraits of I.N. Kramskoy or the landscapes of I.I.Shishkin. Both artists, Kramskoy and Kuindzhi, were very successful at that time. 

      The highest level of the creative potential and practicality were essential personality traits of Kuindzhi. Arkhip Ivanovich had always wanted to have his studio on the top floor with the access to the roof to feed the birds to whom he was fond, almost paternally attached. Once he found out about the sale of the houses № 39, 41 and 43, which were located on the 10th line of Vasilievsky Island. In one of these houses, there was such an apartment with the access to the roof and full panoramic view, which Kuinndzhi had been looking for. The difficulty was that these three houses were put up for sale as a single and indivisible housing. And, naturally, the price was not small: three houses were being sold together, nevertheless. For the sake of having the suitable studio, A.I. Kuindzhi was ready to go to all lengths. He initially agreed to buy these three houses, then refused, and finally decided, having invested almost all his money.

       After buying these houses the artist had become a landlord. He lived in his dream studio, while the rest of his apartments were rented out. As the owner of the houses, he had to delve into the household, or as it is said now utility problems because he was primarily responsible for the living conditions of the residents of his houses. Being a very dedicated person, he even liked to solve the problems using his intellect. He was interested in everything:  joinery, carpentry, solving the school tasks on algebra and many other things he had never studied.He had never studied this subject because never attended school lessons. In addition to this, he learned to play the violin without a teacher. And finally, he searched for the new artistic means of expression in his canvases.

      Later on, Kuindzhi acknowledged that as it had turned out, he was an unfortunate householder. It happened not because he neglected his householding duties: the reason why he didn’t dare to claim the money from the debtors, was that there were quite a few artists among the tenants of his houses. What’s more, he had always sympathized with people who were in trouble and tried to help them. Very often, he passed the money, not by himself but asked somebody to avoid the embarrassment of the person he wanted to help in front of their benefactor. As for himself, he always considered helping other people as a norm. Many people would come to his funerals — from the Grand Duchess to street beggars, who would remember Arkhip Ivanovich as a person who was near and dear to them.

     As the time passed, he had to sell these houses, nevertheless. The houses were sold at the high profit for Kuindzhi because in the late 1890s real estate prices had increased significantly. However, in connection with the sale of his houses, he had to leave his studio.

In the year of 1898 A.I and V.E. Kuindzhi had changed their address, settling in a house in the Birzhevoi Lane (the current address — Birzhevoi Lane, 1/10, at the Birzhevoi Lane and Makarov Embankment). This house is unique for its appearance and history. It is huge; its facades overlook the embankment and Birzhevaya Line as well as Birzhevoi and Volkhovsky lanes. Many windows have a view of a huge courtyard.As an architectural phenomenon,  this house is a fascinating example of the architecture of this period: its windows, entrance halls as well as complicated layout are considered as the elements of keen interest for the historians of the Russian architecture.

     The history of the building of the house in the Birzhevoi lane begins from the year of 1842. The first version of this house was built by the architect A.H.Pehl. That time this house belonged to the merchant P.Meniaev.  In 1879, it was passed to the Eliseevs merchants, the owners of the famous food store on Nevsky Prospekt. 30 years since the beginning of the initial construction of this building had passed. It goes without saying, the new times gave a raise to the new needs of the residents and owners, and consequently, the house is being renovated by the architect L.F.Shperer who added the additional fourth floor.  The superstructure above the fourth floor was well visible from the embankment and the Birzhevaja Line. The architect A.F.Baranovsky designed it in 1887. The studio of A.I.Kuindzhi was  Inside of this superstructure. This studio met the new requirements; it met the artist’s demands for the best working conditions. The studio was very spacious. A huge, about 150 square meters room, whose height was approximately 6 meters, overhead light — all this created the perfect working environment. The whole height windows overlooked a splendid panorama of the Neva River, St.Peter, and Paul fortress and the Birzhevoi Bridge.

        This house is connected not only with the life of Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi. Many famous people lived there in the different times.  The parents of P.I.Tchaikovsky had stayed here for some time after their arrival from Votkinsk in the 1840s.  Many artists lived in this house, so it could be called the Artists’ House by right.  The historians of St.Petersburg, having carried out their research, even found out the tenants of these apartments.

   A.K.Beggrov rented the apartment №27  in 1886-1892, E.E.Volkov (1885-1904)  rented the apartment №26, M. P. Klodt lived in the flat №9, G.G.Miasoedov rented the apartment № 39, and during the last years of his life, I.N.Kramskoy occupied the rooms №5 and 8. Here, since 1897 to 1910 lived A.I.Kuindzhi. The entrance to his studio was made from his apartment, which was located on the fourth floor. The artist had access from his studio to the roof where he fed and healed the birds that lived nearby.

They were waiting for the moment when Arkhip Ivanovich was supposed to feed and «communicate» with them,

     This house could be characterized as the home where people lived in plenty. it was not only because its owner possessed great material wealth, the atmosphere of this house attracted many people. A.I.Kuindzhi followed a very modest, almost ascetic way of life. Arkhip Ivanovich and Vera Elevfirievna purchased their belongings on occasion, by their necessities. The only luxury was a grand piano which belonged to Vera Elevfirievna. It was the wedding gift of Arkhip Ivanovich. The musical parties were often held in the apartment. Many friends of the family came to the Kuindzhis to listen to music, and Arkhip Ivanovich had learned by himself playing the violin. However, he performed in a very narrow circle of the closest friends, and by the many demands only.

       Now, in the living room, we can see the photos which were taken from Kuindzhi in the different years and the photos of the drawings of I.E.Repin and V.M.Vasnetsov. The only oil-painted portrait in the museum is the portrait of Kuindzhi painted by I.N.Kramskoy at the end of the 1870s. On the wall of the next room, there is the drawing of I.E.Repin, depicting A.I.Kuindzhi was playing chess. The artist loved spending time playing chess parties, and his favorite partner on the game was D.I. Mendeleev, who also loved having a conversation with the artist. He used to come here because his University apartment was very close to Kuindzhi’s apartment. There also were common shared interests which tied the prominent scientist and the distinguished artist. Together they experimented over the chemical structure of oil-paints. What’s more, Dmitry Ivanovich had a genuine interest in Kuindzhi’s artistic talent and his intuition for colors. He even investigated with his particular device the vision of several artists, including Kuindzhi and came to the conclusion that the eye of Arkhip Ivanovich had the exceptional feeling for color.

     A few photos depict the «academical» period of the artist’s activity, i.e. the time when he led the landscape studio.  From 1893 onwards, A.I Kuindzhi is the full member of the Academy of Arts, and in 1894-1897 he became the head of the landscape studio. Only three years Kuindzhi had taught the students, but this period was a time of revolutionary changes and innovations. I.E.Repin, A.I. Kuindzhi and I.I.Shishkin were invited as the professors. In comparison to the previous periods, in this period of time, the goals and objectives of training qualified specialists for art schools and gymnasiums in Russia had changed. One of the primary goals was the preparation of qualified teachers for schools and gymnasiums of Russia. On the one hand, there was a constant need in experienced middle-level specialists, such as draughtsmen, designers, experienced drawing teachers capable of teaching their students to draw the object accurately, on the other hand, drawing had gradually become more applied to practical requirements.

Despite the fact that A.I. Kuindzhi hadn’t worked for a long time at the Academy of Arts as a professor, many of his students remembered their classes with him for the rest of their lives. At first glance, his method of teaching was very simple, however, as a good mentor, he used his real-life experience in his way of education. A.I. Kuindzhi had never interfered in the works of his students from the beginning, giving them as much as possible the opportunity to express their ideas in their landscapes. And only when the student himself experienced difficulties, Arkhip Ivanovich showed him how to solve the problem, enhancing color and imagery, for example.

     He was loved and respected because he appreciated everyone who was under warship, bringing up his students to love their motherland and native environment. It was his fate that he hadn’t had children. Therefore, he treated his students as children, taking to his heart many of their problems. So, after his retirement from the Academy of Arts, he organized a trip to Europe for every student of his landscape studio who wanted to participate. They visited many world-famous European museums. He also brought his students to Crimea where he bought a plot of land. Kuindzhi organized open-air training sessions on painting for his students.

    In the year of 1908, the Society of his name was founded. Its authorized capital was 150 thousand roubles, including the Crimean land, which belonged to the artist. Such famous artists as V.E.Makovsky, N.K.Roerich, A.A.Rylov, N.I. Himon, V.A.Zarubin, A.A.Borisov, V.A.Beklemishev, A.V.Schusev, F.F.Bukhgolts, K.E.Kryzhytsky, belonged to this society. The aim of the organization was to support of young talented artists by giving them financial aid, organizing contests to identify talented works and award the artists who won. At the lifetime of Kuindzhi, there were 24 such monetary prizes. The most successful works were purchased by the society and passed on to provincial museums. A.I.Kuindzhi wanted to build the premises for exhibitions of different artistic societies, as well as the artists who followed the various trends in fine arts. These exhibitions would take place in the Malaya Morskaya Street, 17. Many celebrities were invited to perform at those art-vernissages. Here there were Konstantin Sobinov, Fedor Chaliapin Olga Preobrazhenskaya. In 1917, the Kuindzhi Society, which was founded for people’s education, lost their funds due to the nationalization of the Russian banks and all capitals in our country. However, the Society had existed for almost a decade and a half, till the year of 1931.

     A.I.Kuindzhi, giving way to other artists and sharing his secrets of mastery, was self-critical to himself. Since 1881, while he was on the top of his fame and popularity, he decided to stop exhibiting his artworks, assuming that he had already expressed his ideas he wanted to express. This news came as a surprise to many of his friends, the artists, as well as for his admirers. How is it possible to go into shadow?  Nevertheless, A.I.Kuindzhi, resigning from his exhibition activity, didn’t stop working as an artist, searching the new creative ways and methods of self-improvement. Only 20 years later, in 1901, he encouraged to show his artworks to his fellows.The artworks, which were created within this period were shown with the awe and humility.Kuindzhi contacted and asked for advice of everyone, regardless of their age and social status.

      A.I.Kuindzhi possessed such rare and unique qualities, which nowadays might be lost, as the ability to teach, learn, not to hold grudge, be independent and fair in his judgements, never humiliate other people and not to do anything to them in retaliation for something. The artist kept his principles despite the fact that these principles could bring him a lot of trouble. He had to do so when he had to resign from the Association of the Temporary Art Exhibitions(Peredvizhniki). The reason for his resignation was the article of M.P.Klodt, in which Kuindzhi was unfairly treated by the author. He quitted the Society, however, with most artists he continued to maintain friendly relationships, for example, with I.E.Repin, I.I.Shishkin, I.N.Kramskoy.

     To some degree, such behavior contributed to the financial independence of the artist.  In one of the Museum’s rooms, on the wall, we can see, the text of his Testament. The wisdom and thoughtfulness of this document are strikingly impressive. The total capital, which A.I.Kuindzhi possessed compound 453 thousand roubles. 10 thousand roubles the artist passed to the St.Virgin Church in Mariupol for the school of his name, 5 thousand roubles went to his nephew, 4 thousand went to his niece, 1 thousand the children of his nephew were to receive. 423 thousand roubles which made up an untouched fund; 150 thousand roubles from this capital was in the fund of the Imperial Court. The Kuindzhi Society was maintained on the interest rates of this capital, namely 24444 roubles, the part of this amount (2500 roubles) was a yearly payment to V.E.Kuindzhi, the artist’s widow. Due to the artist’s testament, his paintings were to belong to the Kuindzhi Society. In the case of the closure of the Society, all its capitals and revenue were to be transferred to the fund of the Imperial Academy of Arts. The personal artist’s property was bequeathed to Vera Elevfirievna, the artist’s wife.

     As it has already been said, nothing of the original things from Kuindzhi’s apartment and the studio has survived to our days. After her husband’s death, Vera Elevfirievna, moved from the apartment, changing the place of her residence on more modest rooms. The furniture was bought for the occasion. It belonged not to one owner and was of no value at that time. The well-known big piano, without which any musical party held in the house couldn’t be possible, hasn’t survived to our days as well. Only one couch which is very similar to those we can see in the photo on the wall has survived to our days. Maybe, it was the part of the original furniture.

     The permanent exhibition of the gifts given to the museum has opened in? one of the museum’s rooms. Here, there is the list of list of donators and items that were donated. The leading position in this list takes Professor V.F.Zagonek, who gave out to the museum 61 item, comprising the collection of artifacts related to the activity of A.I.Kuindzhi Society: there are society’s regulations, reports and the drawings of A.R.Eberling. S.N.Griva and T.I.Rybakova, the restorers of the Scientific Research Museum of the Academy of Arts, passed the picture of G.G.Miasoedov «The Escape of Grigory Otrepiev from the tavern on the Lithuanian border».

     his apartment has witnessed many owners after the death of A.I.Kuindzhi.From 1911 to 1921 there was the V.I.Vernadsky Radiological Laboratory. Then, like many pre-revolutionary apartments, it went through the period of crowding more people into a limited space. Every room of the artist’s apartment was tenanted by a family. The artist’s studio, which is of nearly 150 square. meters was divided between two or three artists at that time. At different times such artists as T.Bogatyriov, N.Riabinin, V.Proshkin, R.Vovkushevskii worked there. An interesting story was told me by one of the museum’s employees. This story, in turn, was told by the daughter of one of the artists who worked in this studio. Now she is living in the US. She recalled her parent’s story who told her how she was brought in this studio just from the maternity hospital.

The Museum-Apartment of A.I.Kuindzhi was opened here in 1994.  It was a very challenging time for our country as a whole and St.Petersburg in particular. From the opinion of the man in the street, there could be many pros and cons in connection with this event.On the one hand, it would be better to restore and sell this apartment as luxury housing or give it to someone as an award for their excellent services. This apartment could also serve its purpose as a residential apartment for one simple reason: St.Petersburg is tightly packed with museums. On the other hand, the continually existing axiom that the man doesn’t live by bread alone confirms another opinion of this issue. Thanks to those people who created this museum and this exposition we have the opportunity to know more about this outstanding artist. Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi followed the principle: if you give something out, the God will pay you off for your golden deeds. The tribute we pay to the Artist is the way of expression of our memory of him.

     This year it is one hundred years since the day of the artist’s death. The value of his work for the history of Russian painting was clearly defined by A.N.Benois in his article: «For the Russian painting, the emergence of the Russian Monet was necessary. Kuindzhi was the artist who realized the interaction of colors very clearly. So passionate was Kuindzhi in his desire to express this interaction that the other Russian artists may believe him and stop treating the palette as an additional tool. Since the lifetime of Kiprensky and Venetsianov, colors have stopped playing their independent and significant role. There were treated with the significant degree of prejudice, as a kind of a formal suit, without which would be improper to face the public. All the academic and the Itinerants’ paintings until the 1880s, with rare exceptions, were in essence,  pretentious and tasteless products I.Sokolov, Mestcherskii, K. Zichi) or faintly painted dull pictures. «The Last Supper» by Nikolai Gay, was the painting which can be considered as an exception. The paintings of Repin and Semiradsky can also be considered as very representative examples of paintings of this historical period. In this case, Arkhip Kuindzhi perfectly played the role of Russian Claude Monet, showing the beauty of the colors, discovering the laws of their sounding and vibration. His showy, bright and lucid pictures stunned the general public which was bored to death. These pictures like the pictures of Vassily Vereschagin  made public argue the toss, raising elation as well as indignation.

     The light and clarity of his paintings will never become darker when the time will pass because they reflect the soul of their creator, who left the treasures of his art to all people.


Репин И.Е. Далекое близкое. Л., Художник РСФСР, 1986. – 488 с.

Материалы сайта:

       http://kuinje.ru/kuinji_articles.php. Последний вход — 12.07.2010-07-09

      This site was recommended for viewing by and studying by the researchers  of the      

      A.I.Kuindzhi Museum-apartment

The author would like to express his gratitude to the staff of the Russian Academy of Arts Research Museum and the researchers of the A.I. Kuindzhi Museum-Apartment for their help and consultations.

June 2010

Pen-and-ink drawing

Е.В.Малых. Обнаженная фигура. Факультет живописи. V курс. Бумага, перо, тушь. 38х45 см. Руководитель А.Л.Королев. 1986

Evgeny Malykh. The sketch of the nude male model. Pen-and-ink drawing. 38×45 cm. The Fifth Year of study.This work was created under the guidance of Professor A.L. Korolev. St.Petersburg, 1986

The first time I knew about pen-and-ink drawing was the period of my studies at the Art College in Ekaterinburg. Listening to the lectures on the History of Art and looking at the photos from the artworks of the nationally recognized and world famous artists and turning the glossy pages of art albums, I admired of these masterpieces They gave me the incentive to try this technique myself. Apparently, it is very easy to find the tools for this activity: a sheet of paper and pen with ink, have always been at hand. However, passing from words to deeds wasn’t as easy as it might look. Drawing with pen and ink requires from the artist to be very focused on their task. Nevertheless, your drawing should look like the artistic improvisation. Eventually, some of my attempts had proved to be successful, and this small achievement inspired me.

At that time I knew that not only steel pens were used in drawings: pen and ink drawing has a very interesting history. As far back as in the Ancient Egypt people worked with pens and brushes when drawing on the papyrus rolls. A copper pen dated back to 79 A.D. was found during the archaeological excavations in Pompeii.

My next experience in the pen-and-ink drawing I gained when I studied at the St. Petersburg Art Academy in the studio of People’s Artists of the USSR Andrei Mylnikov. Then, we, as the four-year students of the Academy of Arts worked on the drawings of the nude male models under the guidance of Professor Alexander Korolev. That task was a part of our curriculum. I must say that we had visited the Academic Library with the purpose of studying the best drawings of the classical artists before we started doing this task. Our library has a great collection of the facsimile reproductions of the ancient drawings. Alexander Leonidovich Korolev himself was a great admirer of the Renaissance artists, who worked in this genre, especially Michelangelo. He had always tried to pass on this the highest culture of drawing to his students. He also was of the opinion that pen as a tool plays an important part in eye training. As he said, this technique disciplines the eyesight. The line should be very precise because it is impossible to erase it afterward.

At the same time, another method of teaching this technique is often done. Those students whose hands are not trained enough are supposed to use a preliminary pencil drawing. Then, these lines should be outlined in ink. In the modern pen-and-ink drawings, a wide variety of pens are used: from the traditional pens, which are inserted into a handle to the more updated pens with the filling system, felt markers, ball pens, and roller ball pens. However, I have to say that when we use these facilities, we lose the sense of improvisation and the creative attitude to such artworks. Admittedly, many artists while drawing with pen and ink, searched for the right proportions of the objects depicted. We often can see auxiliary lines in their drawings. Those thin lines, which are drawn very close to the contours of the objects, illustrate the search of right proportions made by artists. We can see those so called misses in many designs of Michelangelo, which, so naturally form the entire ornament of the whole work. It’s known that Michelangelo often used the pen when he drew the Ancient Greek or Roman sculptures. Looking at these masterpieces, we consider these strokes not only as the part of the drawings, but like the attempts of a sculptor, who uses the pen like his chisel to cut out the shapes in the surrounding space.

The curriculum of the Faculty of Architecture includes the task on pen-and-ink human figure drawing. It is held for the four-year students every second semester. Most students are eager to do this task, which is for them the work on attention and concentration. For more successful students, teachers give advice not to make a preliminary drawing, but go ahead, beginning and ending this task with the pen only. Apart from the vast knowledge in construction and architectural design, a future architect needs artistic skills to add aesthetic features to their architectural sketches and designs. Undoubtedly, the handling of pen-and-ink drawing helps the artists to elaborate the precise and exquisite line, which enriches their architectural designs. During their studies, the students do different tasks, learning how to use different techniques and art materials.

It goes without saying, every objective requires its methods of expression. The summer practical training sessions give the students of the future architects an excellent opportunity to polish their skills after the third year of studying. Our mentors help students to choose the right materials according to the task objectives. For example, pen-and-ink drawing is better for the depicting the texture of a tree trunk, ornaments of cast-iron grills, and cracks in stone masonry. The combination of different materials in the graphic art gives the new opportunities for implementation of new ideas. For instance, brush, China ink, sepia, and watercolour are widely used when depicting dark places. In this case, the shadows become more intense. On the contrary, when shadows are hatched without the underlying tone, they look lighter and more transparent.

I have always admired the Renaissance architectural designs. Being made by using various techniques, they draw viewers’ attention neither their sizes nor the vast scale of their ideas, but liveliness, vibrant tones, and elegance. All these features require great mastery; thanks to that the seemingly ordinary architectural sketch turns into a great work of art.

Nowadays, we are hesitant over choice, being able to purchase any art materials; rarely artists use such an outdated tool as a goose quill. To some degree, a steel-pen is also considered as the thing of the past. Admittedly, these instruments almost replaced by more up-to-date tools, such as a fountain pen, ball pen, ball pen and felt-tip pen. Needless to say, despite its disadvantages, the traditional pen, not convenient, though, is very suitable for drawing by making thick and thin lines. Contrary to the drawings made with a ball or roller pen, which look like the well-done exercises, these pieces of art are fascinating and full of life.

More and more skilful pen-and-ink drawings can be spotted year at the midterm and final exhibitions of the students’ artworks. In the opinion of many students who do the outdoor and indoor tasks, there are many places and moments, where such or such a technique of pen-and-ink drawing is suitable for each work. In the end, I would like our students to be enthusiastic about their work and studying at the Institute, and wish them more discoveries and more compelling creative artworks.


Juho Rissanen and the St.Petersburg Academy of Arts

To the question of the Russian-Finnish relationships
in the second part of the 19th century
Among Finnish artists, whose education in a certain degree was firmly related to the St.Petersburg Academy of Arts, Juho Rissanen occupies a special place. Although he studied only for a short period at the studio of Ilya Repin (December 1897 — May 1898), his studying at the Academy became an essential stage in his formation and development as a master, and at the same time became one of the most exciting phenomena in the history of Russian-Finnish cultural relations.
As an artist and person, Juho Rissanen is of great interest for us. His life was inspiring and eventful, and the story about it could be an excellent basis for a screenplay of a film about a remarkable person possessed with a great creative idea, independent and following their way. Being recognised by art critics and art lovers, his paintings also tell us about his life.
So, it might be unfair to find out in the research works of our art-critics, devoted to the Golden Age of the Finnish Art that among the other names of the Finnish artists the name of Juho Rissanen is mentioned like the name of an ordinary artist, separated from others by commas. Unfortunately, the creative works of Juho Rissanen didn’t attract the attention of the art experts in our country. The only distinguishing feature in his works, identified by everybody, is ordinary people that he depicted in his paintings. But not only Rissanen portrayed the life around him. Finnish peasants and workers became the heroes of the pictures of Albert Edelfelt, Eero Jarnefelt and even Hugo Simberg, whose children carrying an angel in his eponymous painting, are the children of the ordinary workers. Appeal to people and its epic and the history of the homeland is one of the most distinctive features of the art of the II half of the XIX century — the period of growth of national awareness and the flourishing of the culture and the art of Finland. The folk theme that passes through all the creative works of Juho Rissanen, undergoing its evolution. Throughout his creative life, the artist searched the best and the brightest means to express his ideas. Finnish people are considered as an integral part of his personality because Rissanen came from the grassroots, precisely from the poorest social groups. His biography had a high impact on his creativity. In the interpretation of the images of the ordinary people, Rissanen was far from the prettiness and idealism of the artists working in line with the ideas of national-romanticism. When depicting people’s characters, he was more impartial than other Finnish artists.
Juho Rissanen was born in 1873 in Kuopio, in a family of a worker and maid. He lost his father, whose main vice was drinking, very early. When Juho’s father was returning home after one more feast, he’d frozen up and died. Rissanen’s triptych «Memories of childhood» (Art Museum, Budapest), seems to revive the shocking details of this moment of his life.
After having lost his father, he got to know very early with poverty and had to earn a living when he was very young. His first steps in his artistic education associated with the painting studio of the artist Victor Berg, where Rissanen not only studied but lived to be an apprentice of his teacher. At the same time, young Rissanen learned and finished the Sunday Artisan School in Kuopio (1888-1890) and the Elementary School of Crafts (1890 — 1892). In 1892-1893 he went on a trip to the Central and South Western Finland in search of work he received in Tampere in the studio of R.Ekberg. In 1894, he won the qualification of a professional home painter. In 1895 he arrived in Helsinki where he worked at the Hasselgren and Loof’s Studio and entered the Central School of Applied Arts (High School of Handicrafts) which allowed him to specialise as a decorator. In 1896, Rissanen decided to begin studying art on a regular basis. He entered the Drawing School of the Finnish Art Society where he learned art from the famous artist Helen Schierfbeck. Here he got to know the creative works of the famous old masters. The paintings of Hans Holbein that also had a considerable impact on Helen Schierfbeck have a particular influence on Juho Rissanen.
But Rissanen was not destined to study at the Art School in Helsinki. After a few months, he had been expelled from the school because » he wasn’t able to comply with the normal order and the traditions of the school.»
The artist had to think about the way he had to do for a living, where he could get the means for his following studying and whom he could ask for his financial backup. He found a job; he also got somebody who funded his education. As an illustrator, Rissanen worked for some periodicals such as a comic magazine and a Christian Yearbook for Children. This financial support he gained in Helsinki, from the industrialist Antti Poihoonen. Arranging thus, his business, Rissanen continued studies at the Drawing School of the Finnish Art Society, but in Turku. He began his studies at the studio of the nationally known artist Victor Westerholm.
However, that was not enough for an ambitious young man. He realised that his creative potential needed a way out that’s why he went to St.Petersburg, the capital of the vast Russian Empire. Back then, paradoxically as it may sound now, for many Finns, St.Petersburg was a kind of a window to Europe. At that time, about 24000 of the Finns lived in the Russian capital. People of different professions and social status, from stove makers to honoured maids of her Imperial Majesty, formed the Finnish community at that time.
Naturally enough, the question of finding the funds for education had become the question of primary importance for Rissanen. In October-November Rissanen was coming to St.Petersburg to know about the conditions of admissions to the Academy of Arts. He took a bank loan. One of his warrantors became J.F.G. Aminoff, the governor of the province of Kuopio. The other his sponsors were Ferdinand von Wright, the famous artist and consul Birger Hallman.
As it has been mentioned, the stay in St.Petersburg and the studying at the Academy of Arts, was for Rissanen an essential stage of his creative development. Generally speaking, he didn’t have a regular art education, taking courses at different educational institutions and from various artists from time to time. Those Finnish artists who taught him (Helen Schierfbeck, Victor Westerholm and Albert Gebhardt) or whose creative works had an impact on him (Albert Edelfelt) studied in Paris and Dusseldorf. Even though the curriculum of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts undergone some changes and the atmosphere of the Academy had become more democratic, this educational institution remained conservative. The Academy was considered as a stronghold of the state police in culture and art education. Developing the subjects of the current educational tasks or diploma works, the artists paid the greater attention to contemporary life. They also changed their attitude in the interpretation of historical subjects, preferring the themes from modern life to those from ancient history or mythology. However, the general position of the Academy’s administration to the issues of the art remained the same, and the Academy was an institution with the strict order end elaborate rules and regulations. The students were given serious vocational training, and for the sake of the stringent requirements, the students had to suppress their individuality.
Taking the advice about his further studying from Albert Edelfelt, Rissanen headed to St.Petersburg. He had no definite idea of where to go. Besides St. Petersburg, Rissanen had the idea to go to Stockholm. Nevertheless, Eledfelt, a true patriot of Finland didn’t advise him to go anywhere because, in his opinion, Finland has its art school. He expressed the idea that it might be better for Rissanen to continue his education at the School of the Finnish Art Society. However, Rissanen felt not comfortable to go back there as it had already been expelled from there. The reason for his exclusion seemed to Edelfelt insignificant: Rissanen fell asleep at the class of Helen Schierfbeck. He promised to write to Victor Westerholm, who lived in Turku at the time and ask him to take Rissanen to the local art school. He gladly spent a short time of his studies, but still, he was remembering Helen Schjerfbeck and wanted to return to her studio. Besides that, the friends of Rissanen convinced him that yet, he needs to study abroad. He was provided with necessary funds.
Before his trip to St. Petersburg Rissanen visited Albert Edelfelt and told him that hi did decide to go to Russia to study from Ilya Repin. Mildly rebuking the young artist, maestro said to him that he is as stubborn as all the residents of the province of Savo. Nevertheless, he wrote a letter of recommendation to Repin.
Despite having the lack of arts education, Rissanen came to the Academy as a person with developed views on life and opinions on aesthetic. The two letters of Juho Rissanen to Ferdinand von Wright have come to our days. One of them is dated November 1897. In this letter, the artist describes his impressions from his arrival to St.Petersburg, from St.Petersburg itself, and from the settling in the new place and dealing with his household problems. Arriving by train to the Finland Station, the future student of the Academy of Arts went to look for housing. He rented a room in the apartment near the Academy of Arts where lived a Polish family. It was located at the 14th line, house 57, apartment 3. Generally, he liked his housing, although the room was quite cold. After he had arranged his business with his accommodation, he went to see the city. Nevsky Prospect made a great impression on him: the artist was taken by its fantastic architecture and amazing public strolling through the street. The young ladies neatly and richly dressed drew the attention of the young traveller. After the domestic problems have been solved, the other issues were needed to be tackled. The first one was the organisation of his studying at the Academy of Art. Rissanen had a letter of recommendation from the Finnish Art Society, which he was going to show Repin himself. In this case, Albert Edelfelt had played the vital role.
By that time, this brilliant Finnish painter, who was like a role model for his compatriots, had managed to establish himself in St.Petersburg and to make good connections in the business and art worlds. The young talented artist was introduced to Sergey Diaghilev who showed great interest in Scandinavian art. Later on, a few exhibitions of the Finnish and Russian artists were organised with his assistance. Diaghilev liked the works of the young artist. The next goal that Rissanen was going to achieve was the acquaintance with Ilya Repin. The master praised the originality of the paintings of Rissanen, his shining talent and agreed to take Rissanen to his studio as a senior student. However, Repin insisted on doing the assignments that did all the students. It was anatomical drawings as well as drawing and painting from a live model. One more formality Juho Rissanen needed to do: to obtain the permission for his education from the vice-president of the Academy of Arts, count I.I. Tolstoy. There were no particular problems with this. Tolstoy was favourable to the young Finn, completely trusting the opinion of I.E.Repin.
The second letter of Rissanen to Ferdinand von Wright was written in December 1897. In this letter, he describes the beginning of his education at Repin’s studio. As it’s clear from the general tone of the message the young artist was excited about all the new things that he had got to know at the Academy. The Academy’s curriculum was traditional.
Students had to pay their attention to the painting of nude and dressed models. That day Ilya Repin was supervising his students and giving them advice while they were working. The master liked the work of Rissanen. After the painting of this work, the students began to paint a dressed model. It was a female model in a beautiful blue dress. In the opinion of Rissanen, Repin was a very cheerful and friendly person, and what was the most appealing to the young Finnish artist, was that Repin spoke Finnish a little. It was significant for the young Finn because he didn’t know the Russian language. Repin advised him to contact Anna Lipponen, the Finnish student who studied at the freshman classes of the Academy and who spoke Russian. Repin liked how Rissanen worked. For Rissanen, this fact was crucial because of the appraisal of such a great master as Repin was motivated him to be a more hardworking person.
While living in St.Petersburg, Rissanen perfected his skills not only in the Academy of Arts. He often visited the Hermitage Museum where he studied the creative works of the old masters and, most importantly, he bought the reproductions from the pictures created by classics. This collection of copies, which was initiated in the Northern capital, then grew up to very very large size and the number of postcards and photos had reached several thousand. Here, in our city, at the Academy of Arts and the Hermitage Museum, the ticket to a long creative life was given to Rissanen, and from here, having acquired the knowledge in the art, he came back to Finland and then went to Europe and America.
Rissanen studied diligently, and soon he was awarded the monthly prize of 25 rubles from the Imperial Mutual Aid Fund for the Finnish students. Little by little, he started studying the Russian language with the help of Marti Berg, who worked at the State Secretariat of the Finnish Ministry, and Lady Ursin. Later on, he changed his apartment, moving from the 14th line to Italianskaya street, wherein the house №15 he rented the apartment № three together with a Finnish law student.
In St.Petersburg, Rissanen saw a lot of new things. His life was vibrant and exciting. He tried to know as much as possible. The Academy students had special cards, which gave them free access to museums and theatres. Those cards looked like the student cards that are used by students nowadays. There was a curious incident which had happened to the young artist. Walking along the Nevsky Prospekt and approaching Catherine’s Garden, Rissanen had seen an Orthodox priest. He was captivated by the unusual appearance of the father and followed him for a long time. The priest drew his attention to Rissanen and then after some time turned to the nearest policeman. The policeman asked the surprised Finn to show his documents. After examination of his student card signed by the Grande Prince and, I.E. Repin, and also learned what the matter was, he took off his cap and bowed to Rissanen.
There was another case. Seeing the City Duma Tower on Nevsky Prospect, Rissanen decided to climb on it at all costs to overlook the view of the city. He was immediately brought in to the police station. With great difficulty, Rissanen explained that he wanted to see how large St.Petersburg was. The sincere and honest look of the young Finn took the policemen by surprise. Then they accompanied him when he was heading to the Duma Tower. Not wasting a single minute, Rissanen made many sketches of Neva banks. Many of his drawings were used for painting the finished artworks.
Even though Rissanen liked studying at the Academy, he didn’t remain in St.Petersburg to complete his academic course. During the autumn and winter of 1897-1898, he was sick a lot. Although outwardly he looked healthy physically, the difficult period of his childhood when he was starving and working a lot, affected him. Doctors advised him to go home to Finland because there is a healthier climate. Repin regretted Rissanen’s departure because he wished to have more such talented and diligent students like this young Finn.
Most importantly, what Rissanen learned from his stay in Russia were progressive democratic ideas, in particular, the concepts of Leo Tolstoy about people’s education. In addition to this, the personal contact with people who gave him a creative charge played an essential part in his life. The life in Russia inspired Rissanen to go further and to raise his art to a global level. To have his creative art reached the world level, Rissanen thought that only the development of his career as a career of a Finnish artist would lead him to the top level of the world art. In his opinion, he needed to be focused on the Finnish national traditions in his art.
In his future life, Rissanen had to travel a lot moving from place to place. During these travels, he always tried to learn, absorb something new and look for the only right form for the expression of his ideas.
Using the examples of Renaissance masters, he studied the technique of fresco painting In Italy. He admired the measure of generalisation, the sublime imagery, precision of lines and clarity and completeness of characters, in other words, those features which were characteristic for the classic of Renaissance art.
In France, where he lived in the second half of the 1920s — first half of 1930s, he made good connections with Maurice Denis and the artists of his circle. He paid a great deal of attention to the symbolism of Deni’s paintings and liked his broad brushstrokes. At the same time, he was far from avant-garde movements which were characteristic of fine art in the first half of the 20th century (cubism, expressionism and other modernist movements).
The central theme of his art — is the life of an ordinary person. As a descendant of the family of commons, he loved ordinary people. In his pictures, he tried to show the diversity of their lives, depicting particular episodes of their everyday life focusing on the life of specific characters. At the same time, his art is far from being straightforward and educational. The artist didn’t tend to point at somebody who, in his opinion was responsible for the current social problems. There are quite a few lyrical pictures that he created in the different periods of his life, such as «A Girl», «An Old Woman», «A Girl Sitting by the Sea», «A Man warming his foot on the hearth», «Watch Trade». «A Fortune Teller», «A Folk Healer». At the same time, the artist could create the artworks with the epic atmosphere: » A woman sifting the seeds», «A woman weaving a ribbon», the frescos «Blacksmiths», «Builders». The path to people’s the future well-being, Rissanen saw in the developing of their national culture. The foundation of any national culture is the language of its people. In those days, the vast majority of intellectuals who lived in Finland spoke and wrote mostly in Swedish. Most of them were people of high society. Rissanen never wanted to study this language. In particular, letters to Albert Edelfelt, Rissanen wrote only in Finnish, and Edelfelt had to answer him also in Finnish, though he spoke fluently in Swedish and his family had Swedish aristocratic roots.

Although the artist was close to ordinary people, whose problems everyday life he took to his heart, his ideas about the improvement of people’s wealth weren’t destructive. The fate of his nation, its culture and prospects were the things the artist was thinking throughout his life. Nevertheless, he didn’t consider a revolution as the only option for changing the situation for the better in his country. What’s more, a kind of status quo or equilibrium in society were the factors which, in his opinion, could be a better choice for people. That’s why he couldn’t understand why, in 1918, when Finland gained its independence, the civil war started. Indeed, the strength and power of the Finnish people, as he believed, in its unity, solid cultural basis and the harmony of all classes of society.
When travelling around the world, the artist never forgot about his homeland. He lived a long and very fascinating life. Finnish people are grateful to him. After his death in 1950, his ashes were transported from Miami. It was the place remote from Finland. Then his remains were reburied in Kuopio.
For us, his creative experience is exciting and valuable in many ways. On the one hand, his original approach in depicting the life of ordinary people attracted the attention of public and art critics. On the other hand, the artist created an epic image of an average man, and, in this case, the democratic ideas of Russian intellectuals and especially Lev Tolstoy were influential for him. Importantly, Russian and Finnish people are neighbours, we have a lot in common in our history. Nevertheless, whatever these moments are, good or bad, we should always aim for mutual understanding and cooperation.
1. Безрукова М., «Искусство Финляндии. Основные этапы становления национальной художественной школы», М., Изобразительное искусство, 1986.
2 Безрукова М., «Скандинавская и финская живопись из музеев СССР», в журнале «Юный художник», 1990, № 10.
3. Безрукова-Долматовская М., «С.П.Дягилев и Финляндия. К 100-летию выставки русских и финляндских художников». В сборнике «Проблемы развития зарубежного искусства». Материалы XI научной конференции в память профессора М.В.Доброклонского СПб, 1998.
4. Лисовский В.Г. «Академия художеств», Санкт-Петербург, 1997
5. «Мир искусства. К столетию выставки русских и финляндских художников 1898 года».” Palace editions”, 1898.
6. Суворова Л. «Финские академисты». В сборнике «Петербургские чтения 1998-1999», с. 472-475. СПб, 1999.
7. Stocker Clara “Paitaseta – Juho Rissanen elama”
8. Valkonen, Markku.Kultakausi, Porvoo, 1995
9. Vanderdoe, Kirk. “Northern Light. Nordic art at the turn of the century”. Yale University Press, New Haven, London.
8. Juho Rissanen ja suomalainen kansa. Juho Rissanen and the Finnish people.
Kuopion taidesmuseo 10.12.1997 – 8.3.1998
Atheneum 2.10 – 27-12.1998

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.




Да, Вы не ошиблись, именно в мастерскую, потому что, именно мастерская является домом для художника и его картин. Пусть это будет пока виртуальная студия. Это даже лучше для первого знакомства. Во всяком случае, туда попасть легче и проще, чем в реальную мастерскую. Художник создает свои произведения не только для себя, но и для зрителей, и ему очень важна их оценка его труда. Показывая работы, он ищет, прежде всего, диалога с теми людьми, которые к нему пришли и с которыми он пытается найти контакт посредством образов своих картин.

Каждый человек в своей жизни ищет наиболее подходящие ему способы самовыражения. Я, сколько себя помню всю свою жизнь мечтал стать художником. Я не знаю почему, но, в начале, мне нравилось срисовывать красивые пейзажи, цветы, а также копии с картин знаменитых художников. Потом, я нашел отклик и поддержку у своего учителя, Юрия Романовича Хлебникова. Он преподавал в нашей школе уроки черчения и рисования, был очень увлеченным человеком и передал мне свою любовь к природе и к творчеству любимых им художников-импрессионистов.

Учеба в Свердловском художественном училище и Санкт-Петербургском Государственном институте живописи, скульптуры и архитектуры им.И.Е.Репина и встреча в стенах этого учебного заведения таких замечательных мастеров как А.А.Мыльникова, А.Л.Королева, Е.Е.Моисеенко, Б.С.Угарова,  Ю.М.Непринцева, дала мне очень много нового и полезного, и несмотря на то, что, большую часть времени приходилось писать и рисовать в стенах мастерской, я никогда не забывал об уроках моего детства и ранней юности. Для  меня живопись это не только интересное времяпровождение, но и способ изучения мира, как, например, это мы видим у художников-импрессионистов, которые художественно выражали то, что ученые открыли , изучая особенности света.

В молодости хочется все испытать и перепробовать. Я работал в различных живописных манерах, пытался через наиболее яркие изобразительные средства, отразить окружающий меня мир, выявить то богатство формы и цвета, которое , как будто спрятана в каждом объекте.  Я восхищался Матиссом и Модильяни, Пикассо и Сезанном, мне интересны были искания современных художников, их композиционные и цветовые находки. Но, я всегда считал, что новое и оригинальное в искусстве должно существовать не только для себя самого или для того, чтобы поразить окружающих. Оно должно исходить из самой сущности природы и умения художника наиболее ярко отразить окружающий мир. Возможно поэтому, всю жизнь я не перестаю учиться у импрессионистов.  Не думая о научных открытиях, они их сделали, работая на природе, отражая единственный и неповторимый момент жизни.  Об этом писал Луи Эмиль Эдмон Дюранти,  французский романист и литературно-художественный критик, современник  и друг художников-импрессионистов.

«Это было большой неожиданностью в тот период, когда, казалось, не оставалось ничего не открытого  наукой… увидеть , новые, вдруг возникающие идеи.      Новая ветвь развивалась из ствола старого  искусства…Колористическая схема, тип рисунка и серии оригинальных видов… В области цвета они сделали гениальное открытие, чей источник нельзя было найти еще где-либо. Это открытие в действительности, состоит в признании того, что сильный свет обесцвечивает тона, что солнечный свет отраженный объектами, имеет тенденцию, в силу его чистоты, приводить их обратно к световому единству, которое «сплавляет» свои семь спектральных лучей в единое бесцветное сияние, которое и есть свет. От интуиции к интуиции, они мало-помалу достигали цели в разделении солнечного цвета, на  лучи, их элементы, и, составляя  опять их единство, посредством общей гармонии цветов в спектре, которую они отражали  на своих полотнах. С точки зрения деликатности  взгляда, изысканности проникновения искусства цвета, это, крайне необычный результат. Наиболее  эрудированный физик не мог бы поспорить с их анализом цвета». (Цитирую по книге: J.RevaldThe history of Impressionism”.

     На мой взгляд, это чрезвычайно сложно начать и довести до исключительной степени законченности работу на пленере, при всей кажущейся легкости и даже небрежности исполнения этих картин, которую не могли оценить по достоинству большинство современников. Изучать природу через живопись, и учиться у этих великих мастеров, что может быть лучше и увлекательнее для человека,  посвятившего себя искусству живописи! Постоянно сталкиваешься с трудностями, вполне прозаического характера. Например, как  поймать в начале и сохранить состояние цвета и освещенности предметов в конце работы над пейзажем или портретом в пленере? И где он, этот конец работы. Ни для кого не является тайной, что, например, Валентин Серов, создавая свои бессмертные портреты, такие как портрет  Татьяны Любатович и «Девочка с персиками», не отпускал своих моделей, заставляя позировать их по много сеансов, чтобы передать всю прелесть ускользающего цвета.

     Второй фактор, который важен для меня при создании пейзажа, это то, что называется «гением места», то, что благотворно воздействует на человека, находящегося в конкретной ауре. Это настроение, безусловно, передается зрителю через удачно написанную работу. Пригороды Санкт-Петербурга вообще, и Пушкин и Павловск, куда я обычно выезжаю, в частности, проникнуты атмосферой удивительного единения природы, искусства, обаяния исторических событий и личностей. Парки Царского Села и Павловска представляют собой удивительную симфонию природы, архитектуры и ландшафтного дизайна. Казалось бы, все эти годы, обследовав, буквально каждый уголок, не перестаешь находить все новые и новые виды, которые открываются твоему глазу, и буквально, просятся на холст. И когда, ты это находишь, то, как будто навсегда забываешь, и о капризах погоды, и о том, какое расстояние пришлось пройти в поисках заветного места, и о том, что реально останется на твоем холсте. Более того, смотря на свою работу зимой, вспоминаешь те мгновения, из которых как будто были сотканы те удивительные дни. Все краски, звуки и запахи оживают, и становятся как вино из одуванчиков у Рэя Бредбери, тем волшебным напитком, который символизирует пробуждение, расцвет и пышное увядание природы, и ты снова ждешь встречи с прекрасным. И если найдется кто-нибудь, который хотя-бы в малейшей степени будет чувствовать то же самое, не это ли самая большая удача для художника!