Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, and Education — all these words can be read above every of the entrance doors in the main round-shaped courtyard of the Academy of Arts building. These words are seen as the motto of this educational institution, the oldest Russian Art Academy. Every year, tens of students, the future painters, graphic artists, architects, and art critics enter The I.E. Repin St.Petersburg State Academy Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Being within the walls of the Institute, not only students have the professional training and gain the necessary skills, but interact with their mentors, any of whom are outstanding figures in art and culture, persons of the world reputation. Thereby, the cultural and educational environment so beneficial for students has been created.
At the same time, the educational activity of the Academy of Arts in the past and the I.E. Repin Art Institute now has never confined itself to the school activity only. The importance of this fact can hardly be overestimated. A considerable amount of work in this area has been done since the foundation of the Academy, and nowadays this work is being done to support art-lovers in their desire to acquire basic knowledge and gain the necessary skills in arts.
These days, the educational activity in the I.E. Repin Art Institute is very versatile. Apart from the formal preparatory courses for the future applicants, who are willing to take courses to prepare for the entrance exams, there are other courses such as the Evening Drawing Classes and the Faculty of Professional Development for the teachers of art schools and colleges. These departments of the Academy follow the long-lasting historical tradition which dates back to the 19th century. As far back as in the years of 1835-1841, Pavel Andreevich Fedotov, an outstanding Russian artist attended the Academical evening drawing classes. He had the ticket number 241, which gave him the right to participate in these training sessions. Admittedly, P.A. Fedotov didn’t become a professional artist within the days. Serving as a Beefeater at the Finnish Regiment, he drew just for his delight and very often doing a favour for his friends when they asked him to draw the caricatures of their brother officers. He made the crucial decision to be into art when, as he thought, he wasn’t very young, at the age of 26. He couldn’t resign from the military service immediately due to financial reasons; that’s why he attended the Academy’s Evening Drawing Classes in his spare time. Pavel Fedotov used any opportunity to acquire skills during the classes as well as while painting and drawing from life.
Another reason to attend the classes regularly was the proximity to the Academy from the Finnish regiment’s military quarters, which also were located on Vasilievsky Island. Therefore, it was very convenient for Fedotov to set aside the time for art studies. It is also known that Pavel Fedotov was assigned directly to the second form after the entrance exams: students of this year must copy exceptional drawings of famous artists. However, Pavel Fedotov attended academic classes occasionally, when, in his opinion, it wasnecessary.
The exact meaning of these words, the courses weren’t a professional educational institution; Students needn’t to follow a particular schedule; attendance of the classes was the matter of their choice. Most of the audience consisted of amateurs. Servicemen, merchants, in other words, people of a great variety of ranks and social positions came there. At the beginning of 1830-s Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol also attended these classes.
The close collaboration between the Society of the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts (which was also called The Society of the Encouragenent of the Artisits until 1875) and the Academy played an important part in the history of the Academy’s educational extra-curricular activity. Later the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts became to be called as the Imperial Society for the Encouragement of the Arts. In 1820, three private individuals P.A. Kikin, the secretary of state, Prince I.A. Gagarin, and lieutenant-colonel A. I. Dmitriev-Mamonov founded the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts. Then two more art-lovers V. I. Keel and F. F. Shubert joined to them. Those five people signed on November 30, 1821, the initial «Basic Rules for the Guidance and Activity of the Society.» The aim of the Society was the popularization of artworks by organizing permanent exhibitions, art lotteries and the commissions on artworks.
The 1820-30-s were the years when the Academy experienced significant financial difficulties that affected its educational activity. A.I.Olenin was the President of the Academy of Arts at that time. Many investments were made in the construction of the new buildings, reconstructions of the old facilities and improving living and studying conditions of the students. Therefore, there weren’t extra funds for the incentive payments for the successful students. The Society for the Encouragement of the Arts organized in addition to the Academy medals, three medals for distinguished students: 1 medal of the first rate and two medals of the second. In 1821 Karl and Alexander Brullov were awarded and sent overseas for the additional vocational training. In 1827 Alexander Ivanov, and in 1830 N.G.Tchernestov and A.V. Tyranov were also sent abroad. The Society also allocated means for the trips across Russia. The Society of the Arts Promotion also paid for the tuition of those young artists who took classes from some of the famous artists. N.G. Tchernestov learned from Vorobiov, N.S. Krylov learned from Venetsianov, A.N. Mokritsky, and T. G. Shevchenko studied at the Karl Brullov’s studio.
In 1824, the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts organized a special class where attendants could paint and draw from live models. Everyone could attend this class, even though they were not allowed to do this at the Academy. The Society paid significant sums of money (about 1500 roubles a year) for the attendance tickets for art lovers making them possible to attend the Academy’s painting and drawing classes.
The new stage of the educational extra curriculum activity of the St.Petersburg Academy of Arts had started since the second third of the 19th century. The new drawing school, founded on E.F.Kankrin’s initiative, had appeared in 1839. Children from a lower class could enter that school. It was a purely technical school, which was patronized by the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts. Later, in 1857, this school was taken over by the Society. After the closure of the lower classes of the Arts Academy in 1959, many of former students of the Academy continued to study at that school. Instead of the two classes of drawing as well as the classes of sculpture and design, five classes of general drawing and ten special classes were set up. 1000 students attended that school where 15 teachers worked. It was a single school, which students were prepared for the entrance exams to the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. Later on, the branches of that school were opened in St.Petersburg’s suburbs (on the Peterhof and Shlisselburg roads) In 1870 the Museum of Art and Industry was inaugurated in the school premises, and since 1861the Friday Drawing Classes started functioning. The new curriculum was created in 1868. There were two departments at that school: the department of general drawing and arts and crafts department. The programs of the Drawing Department consisted of the following levels:
- The drawing of the 3-D objects and shading
- The drawing of the ornaments of different styles from the plaster casts
- The drawing of the parts of the human body and plaster masks
- Pencil drawing from the plaster cast busts and plaster casts full height sculptures
- Sunday class. The pencil drawing of the live model.
- Watercolour copying from the classic originals.
- Watercolour painting of the real objects.
- Arts and Crafts Department The acquaintance with the trades and technical skills of each handicraft.
- The Composition of the Ornaments
- Sculpting the simple ornaments from clay.
44.Woodcut from the plaster casts, wooden models, and drawings
- Woodcut and lithography.
- Painting on porcelain, highly glazed pottery, glass and copper enamel.
There were a museum and library at school.
I.E.Repin tells us about his school studies in his Memoirs and Reflections.
At that time the School was located in the building of the Stock Exchange, near the Palace Bridge. The tuition fee, which was about 3 roubles per year, was quite affordable for the students. The first work for which I.E. Repin received the highest grade, number 1, was his drawing of the burdock leaf from the plaster cast.
At that time, many great tutors, such as a P.I: Zerm and R.K. Zhukovskii taught at school. Nevertheless, the leading figure was I.N. Kramskoy, who won full trust and respect of the students. He used to come to the students only on Sundays, so it was tough to take the most advantageous position to paint live models during Kramskoy’s training sessions. Shortly, I.E. Repin realized that he got everything possible from the School of the Arts Promotion Society, and he was advised to attend the lectures and training sessions at the St.Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts as an auditor. To achieve this goal Repin needed to arrange to be let in with the Academy’s inspector. He also needed to pass the exam on drawing the plaster cast head and pay a quite significant for those days fee — 25 roubles per year. He doesn’t have such a sum; that’s why, following the advice of his acquaintances, Repin found the patron, who paid for his tuition.
The second area of the Academy’s extracurricular activity in the second half of the 19th century was teaching the future gymnasium and elementary drawing school teachers. It was vital for the period of the development of capitalism in Russia. During the first century of its existence, the Academy had been solved such global problems as arts education and guidance of painters, sculptors, and architects, who were capable of performing high state orders and promote fundamental state ideas. Not only in Russia, but in other European countries, where the fast pace of the industrial development led to the necessity in highly qualified specialists, it was the need of the people engaged in craftsmanship and who have artistic skills. All in all, it was vital to have the people who could, draw, design and decorate the things of everyday use and improve the appearance of this stuff. For this purpose, it was not necessary to have the higher artistic education. For the first time, it was necessary to arrange the educational process in gymnasiums, colleges, and elementary art schools, to meet the demands of the modern society. Although the students in the Academy were trained by the highly qualified specialists: painters, sculptors, and architects, however, students weren’t taught the teaching methods. The Academy’s Sunday Drawing classes were set up in 1872 to work out this methodology and give the examples of teaching the subjects related to art. The senior students of the Academy were engaged to lead the training sessions for the future drawing teachers. For the Academy of Fine Arts, it was the innovation.
Later, those classes were closed, and The Pedagogical Courses for the Preparation of Drawing Teachers were set up in 1879 under the aegis of Grand Prince Vladimir Alexandrovich. The primary purpose of these courses was stated by V.P.Shemiot and V.F.Evald (the director of the St.Petersburg 1st Technical College) in the Report on Founding Pedagogical Courses under the protection of the Imperial Academy of Arts. In their opinion, to raise the social status of the drawing teacher it is necessary to apply to the authorities to help the people who are honoured to be the teachers due to the new regulations in the educational institutions where they are to work, giving them the same rights as to other teachers who teach other school subjects and award them with the same cash and pension. Similarly, the same rights for a pension should have the teachers at the Academy of Art’s normal school. The traditional school, attached to those courses, was also found to give the illustrative example of the correct and rational drawing as a general subject included in the school curriculum. All in all, the aim of these courses was «the creation of the nurseries of ideal teachers.»
The normal school, which was attached to the courses was founded to bring the teaching methods given in these classes to real life. The program of these courses was planned for two years. In the first year, the attendees gained the theoretical knowledge, attending the lessons of the experienced teachers and making their learning guides and albums for students. The second year was devoted to practical training sessions and the writing analysis of the lessons which were given by the students of the courses at the normal school. At the time the sessions started working, there weren’t any restriction to the number of the attendees. About 50 people a year were admitted to the courses. Later on, the enrolment tests were introduced. Only those students of the Academy of the Arts who studied in the class of the Live Models Painting and drawing could attend these courses. It was not like a few years ago when the first-year students of the Plaster Cast classes, were also permitted for attending the courses. In 1887-1888 the lessons on calligraphy were added to the school curriculum.
The curriculum in the normal school attached to the courses was planned for the four-year period. The children aged between 10 and 14 were admitted to the first form, in the second form the students of 11-15 years old were taught, and the third form was attended by the students between 12 and 16 years old. The certificate of education was required for the application to the school.
«School must restrain the student individuality within the defined bounds with the purpose of getting them accustomed to self-restriction, thereby giving them reasonable and purposefully the possibility to apply their will when they are involved in their independent activity in any area, not the arts only,»- in this way the founders of the school understood the primary goals of this educational institution.
At that time, the professors of The Academy of Arts tried to demonstrate and give the proofs of the leading role of drawing in the contemporary life to the society. Their activity was aimed to educate people and get this message across. So, in the report of A.V.Makovsky, the academician of painting, which was addressed to the 4-the International Congress on the Drawing and Applied Arts and Crafts, Education, it was said: «To study somebody how to see the world around us — is a very challenging task. In the case when our capability to understand is well-developed, everything around us easier comes to our mind and more clearly understood. The teacher of drawing is — the closest assistant of the university professor.» «It will be simpler to make new ways if the government takes care of the all-round development of our country’s industry to make drawing turned from comprehensive into the genre of art which is applicable to real life.» On the other hand, the presenter focused on the creative approach to the drawing education. «We don’t need to give only skills, but knowledge to the students,» — it was said in the report. The teaching methodology, which was used in some of the German schools was given as a negative example.
So vital were considered the goals which were set by the Academy’s courses that the special commission consisting of such outstanding artists as A. I. Rezanov, A. I. Somov, D. I. Grimm, V.P.Vereschagin, and V.I.Jakobi were founded. These courses had been functioning until the October Revolution of 1917.
The Revolution of 1917 and all related events made a tremendous impact on all areas of the Academy’s activity, including education and extra-curriculum activity. During more than 30-year period, until the beginning of the 1930s, the Academy had changed three times its official name, and that fact, in V.G.Lisovsky’s opinion «wasn’t considered as the formality only», it was for «the instability of educational system at that time, uncertainty of its goals and ambiguity of its status.» This devastating for the academic system period of the dramatic search for the right methods in arts and teaching, finished in 1932 when due to the order of the Government of the Russian Socialist Federative Republic issued on October 11, 1932, was founded the All-Russian Academy of Arts.
The documents, coming from the period of the beginning and the middle of the 1930s, tell us about the work of the courses, which were functioning that time in the Leningrad Highest Artistic and Technical Institute and the Leningrad Institute of Painting, Architecture, and Sculpture.
One of these documents is «The Instruction on the Preparatory Courses for Workers in the Leningrad which is related to April 1930. In this Instruction, it is told about the entrance regulations, terms of study and the budget of the courses. The primary purpose of these sessions was the preparation of the young people from the working class for the entrance exams to the All-Union Institute of Art and Technology. The apprenticeship at these courses was one year, during which the applicants studied particular subjects as well as made up the deficiency in general knowledge. Although the established learning was one year, in fact, the length of study varied for different students, depending on their fundamental skills and knowledge. Some of the students studied at the Courses for more than two years. Those students who finished Courses admitted to the Institute without the entrance exams. The young people from the age 25 who had 5-year of the working service, at least, and the volume of knowledge which was equal to the experience of a graduate of a five-year comprehensive school were admitted to this school. In addition to this, the young people of the age less than 25 who had only three years of the working service, but with the volume of knowledge of a 7-year comprehensive school was also admitted. The work day at the enterprise where the attendees of the courses worked was two hours less than the work hours of the rest of the workers. For the attendees of the Courses, the classes and training sessions were free. The Courses were financed by the trade unions. By 1937, these courses were called off.
As it is known from the archival documents, summer short-term courses worked in the Academy in summer 1937. The mailing report on the organizational work of these courses has come to our day.
These courses for the teachers of art colleges and schools were founded for the learning of the advanced teaching methodology. During the almost two months (since June, 20 to August, 4) 50 teachers from the different cities of our country, did the tasks on various subjects, such as painting and drawing, attending the lectures of the Institute mentors and also visiting different Leningrad museums and listening to the excursions on different topics.
Apart from the courses, there was the faculty for preparing the working class young people for the future study at the Institute (RABFAC). As well as the courses, this department solved the similar problem: to prepare the young people for the working class for the education at the Institute. In these courses the classes on professional training were organized, in addition to these classes, the students enrich their knowledge of general subjects to meet the requirements of the comprehensive school. For the young people of different ages the 3-5 year labour experience was required. The training period in the day and evening departments lasted for four years. To be admitted to the Faculty for the Working Class Young People (RABFAC) the applicants should pass the entrance exams. For the full-time education, there was the exam on testing the knowledge of the volume of the 5-year comprehensive school. To be admitted to the evening courses the students were required to pass the exam on general subjects according to the requirements of the 6-year comprehensive school and also the exams on painting and drawing.
The Great Patriotic War disrupted the flow of the studying process. Many students went to the battlefront, most of them were not destined to come back. Nevertheless, the students and professors honourably got through, and the new page of the history of the Academy’s educational extra-curriculum activity was turned over. In 1944, after the evacuation, the Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture returned home. That year, the Institute was awarded to be named in honour of I. E. Repin, and the All-Russian Academy of Art was reorganized as the Academy of Arts of the USSR.
In 1959 on the initiative of M.G.Manizer, a prominent Soviet sculptor, the evening drawing classes were opened anew. This event becomes a milestone in the history of the Academy of Art and national art in general. The tradition, which comes from the 19th century, when the society had the need in art education, was continuing. The progressive-minded intellectuals had a desire to help people’s artists to raise their professional skills to the proficiency level. Admittedly, after the Great Patriotic War, many art workshops and studios appeared in the different palaces of culture as well as at the various enterprises where art classes were organized. However, the Evening Drawing Classes at the I.E. Repin Art Institute were unique.
Not only were these classes unique because they aimed at the broad audience, and anyone who has the artistic capabilities was able to attend these classes, but for their unique program. This program, which was similar to the curriculum of the Repin Art Institute, helped the attendees to gain the knowledge of the basics of the classical drawing. Many people at that time expressed the desire to be taught in these classes. By the year of 1979 300 people attended these classes. It was a small number in comparison to the number of the students, who attended the Society of Arts Promotion School at the beginning of the 20th century. At that time it was 1772 students. Despite that, the Academy of Arts and the Repin Art Institute were trying to solve the problems with finding the premises for the classes to satisfy the needs of people who wanted to learn more about art or improve their artistic skills. After the looking for such facilities, the solution was found. It was the apartments in the Liteiny Yard, whose residents were given new accommodation by the city’s authorities
The Evening Drawing Classes curriculum is planned for the four-year period. The Classes curriculum includes: 1st year — the drawing from the plaster cast classical ornament, 2d year- the drawing of the old plaster cast portrait sculpture. 3d year — the portrait from a live model. 4th year — the drawing of a nude model. During these four years, the typical dropout of the students takes place. After finishing the studying course, the students are given a diploma.
Since the beginning of the 1970s, the educational extra-curriculum activity of the Academy of Arts and the I.E. Repin Art Institute has achieved a new level. In 1972, according to the order of The Ministry of Culture of the USSR from June, 19, the Faculty of Development of Vocational Competence was organized by the Repin Art Institute, for the purpose of the vocational training of the teachers from the different regions of our country. The faculty aims to educate the specialists who have at least five years of working service after receiving their necessary diploma. Besides the tasks of painting, drawing, and composition and writing research works for the art critics and historians, there were given the lectures on philosophy, aesthetics, and the teaching methods. The students of this faculty visited museums and participated in conferences and seminars. The educational period lasted for a year. During this time 40 experts from the different corners of the USSR improved their vocational skills.
It is worth mentioning the term of the 1980s-90s, which is called the post-perestroika period. Those years not only the I.E.Repin Art Institute but many educational and research institutions experienced the significant difficulties related to finances and structural changes. These years are considered as the turning point in the history of our country. Our life has significantly changed.The Academy and Institute got over with the most difficult situations. Nowadays, the Faculty of the Advanced Vocational Training as well as Drawing classes, where the best professors of the Institute are working, is working very productively. In addition to this, the number of potential students who has the desire to gain knowledge of art is growing every year. Even on the Internet, we can find very enthusiastic comments about the Drawing Classes where almost everyone who has the necessary knowledge in the drawing can apply for tuition and be taught by the experienced teachers for a very reasonable price. In this way, any person who teaches art can improve their level attending the classes at the Faculty of the Professional Development. The continuity of traditions is the primary foundation of the Repin Art Institute and its core rule. Nevertheless, there is greater room for our improvement. The administration of the Academy of Arts and the professors of the I.E. Repin Art Institute is not going to be complacent. Nowadays the new teaching methods based on the great traditions of national and world art, are being elaborated. Particular attention is paid to the individual approach to the Academy students, applicants and the attendees of the courses. These principles are the core of our educational system which gives a support to the talented people, who will probably be the outstanding artists in the future.
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You are not mistaken: it is what I mean because the studio is the home for an artist as well as for his creative works. Let it be just an online studio. It’s even better for the first acquaintance. In any case, it is easier and less time consuming to see the artworks which are exhibited in a virtual space than in a real studio. Not only for themselves do artists create their works, but for their viewers whose opinions are supposed to be taken into consideration. Admittedly, exhibiting their works, the artist tries to have more personal connections with people.
To my mind, hardly ever any of us doesn’t try to find their way of self-expression. I’ve always dreamt of becoming an artist ever since I remember myself. I don’t know why in my childhood, I was fond of copying of different pictures: beautiful landscapes, flowers and also the pictures of famous artists. It might be due to my admiration of beauty. Eventually, I got the moral support from my secondary school drawing teacher, Yuri Romanovich Khlebnikov, who was a very passionate about art. He instilled in me the love of nature and the interest to the heritage of French Impressionists. Although I studied later on at the Ekaterinburg Art College and St. Petersburg Repin Art Institute (former St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Fine Arts), I’ve never forgotten the lessons of my first teacher.
It goes without saying that I came to my next milestone when I started studying in the Repin Art Institute under the guidance of such prominent artists as Andrey Mylnikov, Alexander Korolev, and Alexey Sokolov. Many other known nationwide artists such as Evsei Moiseenko, Boris Ugarov, and Yury Neprintsev also exerted significant influence on my creative works.
Not only the favorite pastime is painting for me, but the way to study the world around me. It was that attitude which was used by the impressionists, who in parallel with scientists were studying the important features of light: for me it was the way to the understanding of nature. When I was young, I worked in different styles, trying to find out more about the world around us, expressing it in lines and colours. I was fond of Matisse and Modigliani, Picasso and Cezanne.In addition to this, I was interested in the new discoveries of modern artists related to use of colour and composition. However, I have always been firmly convinced that new and original art forms do exist not only to the satisfaction of the artist’s ambitions, or to impress the public, but it is that which should stem from the artist’s abilities to give the powerful image of the real world.
That is why I’ve always learned from the Impressionists. An art critic, novelist the contemporary and friend of many Impressionists, Louis Emil Edmon Duranty wrote: «It is a great surprisein a period like this, when there has seemed to be nothing left to discover . . . . to see new ideas suddenly arise . . . . A new branch has developed on the old trunk of art.» Then he pointed to the new qualities of this group of artists: «A colour scheme, a kind of drawing, and a series of original views . . . . In the field of colour, they have made a genuine discovery whose origin cannot be found elsewhere . . . . The discovery properly consists in having recognized that full light decolorises tones, that sunlight reflected by objects tends, by virtue of its clarity, to bring them back to the luminous unity which dissolves its seven spectral rays into a single colourless refulgence, which is light. From intuition to intuition, they have succeeded little by little, in splitting up sunlight into its beams, its elements, and in recomposing its unity by means of the general harmony of the colours of the spectrum which they spread on their canvases. From the point of view of the delicacy of an eye, of subtle penetration of the art of colour, it is an utterly extraordinary result. The most erudite physicist could not quarrel with their analysis of light. (Quoted from the book “The History of Impressionism.» written by John Rewald)
In my view, it is extremely challenging to achieve the exceptional completeness while painting in the open air, however, easy it may look. It was the most important reason why the impressionist paintings didn’t gain either wide public acclaim or the recognition of official critics, as they deserved, at that time. Revolutionary and groundbreaking, though, for vast majority these paintings looked as unfinished.
What could be more exciting than studying the word around us by means of art! Nevertheless, you always have to face routine problems. For example, how to get the proper state of light at the beginning of the work and not to lose in the final stage while working on a landscape painting or painting a portrait in the open air. The problem is in which moment the finishing touches should be put on the canvas? It is not a secret that, for example, Valentin Serov insisted his models on having as many sittings as possible to achieve the perfection while expressing elusiveness of light.
Another important factor is the spirit of a place. It is that what we consider so beneficial to people to be immersed in a particular environment. For me, as the artist who much of life devoted to landscape painting, this factor is crucial. It goes without saying, the artist can get his message across better through the most successful of his artworks.
Suffice it to say, the suburban area of St. Petersburg, and, in particular, Pushkin and Pavlovsk, are well-known for its authentic atmosphere. For me, it is the symphony, which comprises such elements as art, natural beauties and the fascination of the historical personalities. Having the great experience of exploring of, literally, every corner of these parks, I can’t help but try to discover the views which are new to my eye. When you find out finally these moments, which are ready to be painted, you forget about everything you had to deal with before: unpredictable weather, long distance to get there, and, perhaps, the possible dissatisfaction from your painted canvas in the future. What’s more, looking at the pictures painted in summer, you recollect those delightful moments, which have already gone. All colours, sounds and smells become alive, evoking some sensorial memories. It is like a glass of Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, which symbolizes all natural cycle: awakening, flourishing, and fading of nature. Therefore, you are looking forward to the meeting with the natural beauty. All in all, it would be fair to say, if somebody can share my ideas, I would be the biggest stroke of luck for the artist.
Admittedly, the first steps in mastering painting skills relate to still-life painting. The name of this genre (nature mort in French) speaks for itself: it’s the dead nature, in other words, the image of unanimated objects. On the other hand, there is another interpretation of this conception, such as a quiet life, the life where nothing is happening. However, this so-called dead nature doesn’t mean that it has nothing in common with real life, which could be expressed by using the sets of unanimated objects.
In the different historical periods, still-life as a genre has been treated differently. For example, in Russia, it had been considered until the end of 19 century not as an independent genre, but as a task for painting studies. Only at the end of the 19 century, it became an independent genre and the period of its prosperity came in the 20 century.
As for me, still-life is the kind of art through which it is possible to express your attitude towards the world around us. For instance, Jean-Baptiste-Simeon-Chardin’s Still-life with Attributes of the Arts and such a subgenre of still-life as Vanitas, in my opinion, are by far the most illustrative examples of that kind of self-expression. The themes of still-lives could be different: there are scientific still-lifes (with the attributes of the sciences), floral, and also, the still-life with food and beverages. Admittedly, the Dutch 17-century painters took the leadership in creating food still-lifes, which are interpreted not only as the document of the epoch, but the glorification of affluence.
Impressionism, post-impressionism as well as other art- trend of 20 century made a new impact on the development of this genre. Still-life is no more the copy of the real world, but it expresses the idea and emotion of the artist.
To be honest, I devote a lot of my time to the work on still-lifes when teaching students or painting a still-life myself. In the first case, I try to teach my students using the most interesting examples of the academic pictures, painted by the students or professors, who studied at the St.Petersburg Academy of Arts a long time ago, choosing the most captivating aspects of the Dead Nature. The studying tasks you have to work when painting on a still-life are: the proportions of the objects, composition, choice of the central and the subsidiary objects, colour range and tone of the whole picture. As for me, I try to be beyond the boundaries of formal rules. Nature for me is no more dead when I bring to my studio a fragrant bouquet of lilac, peonies or field flowers, adding to my composition fruits, tableware, and other things I have at hand.
Arranging the object for a still-life, I try to create my aura,dwelling in place my soul. Nowadays we lack in the close connections to nature. Perhaps, filling the deficiency in these connections is the priority for an artist when creating a still-life. The artist gives the opportunity to their viewer to be closer to water, trees, in other words, to the world around us. Working on the still-life, I have to meet the challenges. It’s like a balancing act. On the one hand, I depict the material world, on the other hand, I try to get my message across, expressing myself.
Nevertheless, it’s not only about colour, texture or shapes of the object, but something immaterial. I call this the music of the painting. The still-life should have its tune, its musical harmony. It’s vital for the integrity of the still-life. When summer comes, most people are longing for nature. Some of them go to the countryside; others prefer travelling abroad. All in all, the ardent desire to change their daily routine is that what drives people the most. All they want is to be far from the hustle and bustle of big cities, from offices full of computers and other gadgets without which we can’t imagine our everyday life. Hardly could be possible not to recollect the fragrance of the garden right after rain, the lilac aroma and all the smells which are so delightful and so familiar to us. Unfortunately, all this has become the thing of the past, replaced by the smell of exhausted fumes, expensive perfumes, and other artificial odours, associated with the urban environment.
I’ve always aimed to depict this fantastic world, full of expressing my joy about the diversity of colours, forms and the textures of the painted objects. I wish we could hear sounds and smell the amazing natural fragrances looking at the paintings, but nevertheless, it is not in the power of the artist who only uses the means of visual art. The only option is to use your imagination for this.
The world around us has its upsides and downsides. As for me, like Candid, the protagonist of the Voltaire eponymous novel, I tend to think only about the positive aspects of this world — the best worlds of all the worlds ever existed. This positive message I try to get across through my paintings. It looks like a kind of art- therapy. Why not try this method to cheer my viewers up focusing them on the positive aspects of our life.
To be honest, I don’t pretend to consider my opinions as an ultimate truth, or put any style of the painting above all either. In the different periods of my life, I looked up to different artists from various styles and different manners of painting such as Paul Cezanne, Henry Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Mikhail Osmerkin, Sergey Gerasimov and Piotr Konchalovsky. I have always learned from these great artists jumping at the chance to visit museums or exhibitions to study every detail of their works. Realism in art for me is not just the copying of the reality, is the great variety of methods of its studying and depicting.
However unique every still-life is, every piece of art always finds its admirers, in other words, those people who are in tune with the artist whose piece of art draws public attention. It finds its place in their houses, making the interior more individual. It could be a living room, bedroom or study. It goes without saying, every object in the room, whether it be a piece of furniture, householding appliances, or personal belongings, it contains the energy of their owners. So it is with the painting which passes to the people the energy of the artist, its creator.
Therefore, it is of vital importance for an art lover to discover their artist who shares their views about the world, and it is crucial for the artist to find their viewer, accordingly. If it happens to be, the picture is no more a useless thing in your home.
Painting in the open air
Close to nature
When comes spring, and the following summer, the well-known song that summer is our life in a miniature comes to my mind first. People in our country value every day with the fair weather. They make plans for the upcoming summer, anticipate a good yield, or travel far from their homes.
Admittedly, summer is the period of active getaway and relax. Everything wakes up, tempting by its novelty, new sounds, and smells, and the magic word «plan-air.» is becoming for me like a motto. It goes without saying, for an artist, nature is an inexhaustible source of new ideas, positive mood and inspiration. What’s more, nature is the first teacher for us. Working in the open air, as well as the copying of the masterpieces of world painting, are the two crucial things for an artist; it is the basis of the classical school of painting.
As for me, the spring is the time when I look forward to meeting with nature. It takes quite a lot of time, but it’s amazing! I usually revise all equipment: paintbox, tubes with oil paints, brushes, and other materials for this activity, anticipating this going out. Every year I take the opportunity to paint outdoors, and every time, while working on every other landscape, I set new goals. I like new challenges when trying to express in my pictures the changing environment.
Very helpful it for me, though, apart from this it also clears my eye, as many artists admit, and it’s an effective method of recharging my batteries. In addition to this, it is also important for me as a teacher to pass on my experience the students more effectively. Before you start working on an individual painting, watercolour or even sketch, you should choose a proper place and build a composition which suits best your goals. The next step is to identify the light and atmospheric effects at the moment to express the environment in a better way. Furthermore, it would be a good exercise to paint a series of sketches, the exercises with light and atmospheric effects in the different time of the day. In my opinion, the brightest example of this task is the Claude Monet’s series of the views of the Rouen Cathedral.
I think, every time of the day or weather is enjoyable in their way: it’s up to you to find out more attention grabbing atmospheric effects, whether it would be a sunny, or rainy weather, for the evening or daylight.
One more aspect to be taken into account is that you should choose for each task the right art materials. The distinct lines and contrasting shadows better outline the objects in broad daylight, while for misty or rainy weather, watercolours and other similar graphic materials are, by far, the best. And finally, the correctly chosen layout of the canvas or paper better organizes the composition of your artwork.
One more challenging task in landscape painting is to show the relations between the elements of nature, park sculpture, and landscape design.
Catherine Palace and the Cameron Gallery in Tsarskoye Selo, the Palace and the Centaur Bridge in Pavlovsk, are undoubtedly the objects I like to paint again and again. I like to find out more challenging tasks on how to express the interaction between light and shadows or to show the texture of the material and the shapes of the architectural forms.
Undoubtedly, in a bright sunny day, the correlation between light and shadow are more distinct: it looks like the sunlight builds up the forms, making more tangible and visible the material from which the building was built. For example, the limestone from which the Cameron Gallery was built, in the bright daylight looks differently than in a foggy day: sunbeams make the whole building look more lightweight than it is.
On the contrary, in the case of scattered light, we usually get the impression that the object is connected more closely to the environment, looking less distinctly. The smooth lines and the refined nuances of colour create the lyrical mood in the landscape.
The evening light creates a more romantic image of the object, giving the room for our imagination. We become to be more involved in a historical atmosphere through its artefacts, whose connection with the historical period we feel more distinctly.
One of the most important elements of landscaping is the variety of trees. In the regular area of the park, lime plays an important part, as the tree which is the best for topiary: its crown can easily be trimmed and transformed into the different geometric forms.
Oak, is an another example: the fantastic linear structure of its branches and trunk, as well as amazing foliage, is the best for creating the romantic atmosphere of the park and the illusion of the identity of the real natural environment due to the human’s perception of nature.
Very often, an artist faces the two common problems while painting a landscape. The first is the limit of time when finishing of the work is almost impossible due to the circumstances, and the second one is the changing daylight. It can’t be doubted, sketching is the best possible solution to this problem. The more sketches you do, the better it is for your future completed work. It goes without saying, for the finished work, generalization and the ability to find the most essential, is vital.
Any sketch shouldn’t be ignored, even those one which you regard as the most meaningless, because every small detail could make you look at your future work from another angle, giving the opportunity to remember the most important aspects which have been missed.
To sum up, art for me is a powerful tool in expressing the idea of the unity between humans and nature. For the last decades, the concept of the eco-friendliness and sustainability of our lifestyle is becoming more and more popular, therefore, in my view, art, and culture are to play a major role in getting this message across to people.
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.Revald “The 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!