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Russian Personalities

People well-known in art, sport, film, fashion

Category Archive: Art

Arkhip Kuinji – master of landscape painting

Vasnetsov. Portrait of the artist Arkhip Kuinji, 1869

Vasnetsov. Portrait of the artist Arkhip Kuinji, 1869

Arkhip Kuinji was a Russian painter of Greek origin, master of landscape painting. He is known as the bard of the Ukrainian night. His surname means goldsmith in Tatar.
Arkhip was born on January 15 (27), 1841 (according to another version in 1842) in Donetsk region, Russian Empire into a family of a poor shoemaker of Greek descent. Soon the boy lost his parents and was raised by an aunt and uncle. Since his childhood Arkhip was fond of painting and drew everywhere – on the walls, fences and scraps of paper. The boy lived in great poverty, so he had to work hard. His passion for drawing drew him to Feodosia, to see Ivan Aivazovsky.
In 1865, Kuinji decided to enter the Academy of Fine Arts and moved to St. Petersburg, but his first two attempts failed. In 1868 he was awarded the title of a free artist. He made friends with Ilya Repin and Viktor Vasnetsov, and was an acquaintance of Ivan Kramskoi, the ideologist of the progressive Russian artists.
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Vladimir Borovikovsky – Outstanding Painter

Ivan Bugaevskiy-Blagodatny. Portrait of the artist Vladimir Borovikovsky

Ivan Bugaevskiy-Blagodatny. Portrait of the artist Vladimir Borovikovsky

Vladimir Borovikovsky (1757-1825) was a Russian painter of Ukrainian origin, the master of the portrait.
Borovikovsky was born on July 24 (August 4), 1757 in Mirgorod into Cossack family. Father, uncle and brother of the future artists were painters. In his youth, Vladimir studied icon painting under the guidance of his father.
In 1774, the boy served in the Mirgorod Cossack regiment.
In the first half of the 1780s Borovikovsky retired and devoted himself to painting. He drew for the local churches.
In the 1770s the artist decorated the room in the house in Crimea, destined for the reception of the Empress. Catherine II noted the work of the artist, and ordered him to move to St. Petersburg. Borovikovsky found himself in the company of poets whose interests and ideas were linked to the new wave in literature—sentimentalism. At the center of his attention was man’s inner world and unique individuality.
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Viktor Vasnetsov – Great Russian Painter

Viktor Vasnetsov. Self-portrait, 1873

Viktor Vasnetsov. Self-portrait, 1873

Viktor Vasnetsov was a Russian painter and architect, master of historical and folk art. His younger brother was the artist Apollinaris Vasnetsov.
Viktor was born on May 3 (15), 1848 in the Russian village in the Vyatka province into a family of Orthodox priest Mikhail Vasilievich Vasnetsov. From his earliest years Vasnetsov heard folk legends and epic tales about the Russian heroes – bogatyrs. The boy studied at a religious school (1858-1862), then in the Vyatka Theological Seminary. At the seminary, the boy spent every minute to draw.
Viktor moved to St. Petersburg and entered the Academy of Fine Arts. At the Academy he made friends with Repin, Antokolsky, Kramskoi and Stasov.
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Alexei Savrasov – Russian landscape painter

Alexei Savrasov - Russian landscape painter

Alexei Savrasov – Russian landscape painter

Alexei Savrasov (1830-1897) was a Russian landscape painter, a founding member of the Peredvizhniki, the author of iconic landscape The Rooks Have Come Back.
Alexei was born on May 12 (24), 1830 in Moscow into a family of merchant Kondratiy Savrasov. In 1844, the boy entered the Moscow School of Painting and Sculpture.
In 1851 Savrasov painted View of the Kremlin from the Crimean Bridge in inclement weather and his name became known.
In the summer of 1854, he painted two pictures: View in the Environs of Oranienbaum and Coastline in the Environs of Oranienbaum, and was awarded the title of academician. The first picture was bought by Pavel Tretyakov in 1858.
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Vasily Perov – Russian painter

Vasily Perov. Self-portrait, 1870

Vasily Perov. Self-portrait, 1870

Vasily Perov (1834-1882) was a Russian painter, one of the founding members of the Association of Traveling Art Exhibitions (Peredvizhniki). In this genre he took up social problems of inestimable importance, expressing the most progressive ideas of the time.
Vasily was the illegitimate son of provincial prosecutor Baron George (Gregory) Karlovich Kridener and A.I. Ivanova. His date of birth is exactly unknown: December 21-23, 1833 or January 2-4, 1834. Despite the fact that shortly after the birth of the boy, his parents got married, Vasily had no rights to the name and the title of his father. A few years after the birth of the boy, his father was retired and the family moved to Arkhangelsk, and then to the family estate Suslep. In 1842 the family moved to the Nizhny Novgorod province.
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Ilya Repin – Russian painter

Ilya Repin. Self-portrait

Ilya Repin. Self-portrait

Ilya Repin was a Russian painter.
Ilya was born on July 24 (August 5) 1844 in Chuguyev into a family of a military villager. In his youth he worked as an icon painter. He studied in the Drawing School under the direction of I.N. Kramskoy, continued his studies at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. In 1878 Repin became a member of the Association of Traveling Art Exhibitions, academician of the Imperial Academy of Arts. From the very beginning of his career, from 1870s, Repin became one of the key figures of Russian realism.
The award of a gold medal brought with it the right to travel to France. In May 1873 he set off on a journey round Austria and Italy. In Paris Repin painted etudes, the pictures A Paris Cafe (1875) and A Negress (1875) and also Sadko (1876), based on the Russian epic subject.
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Alexander Blok – Russian poet

Alexander Blok – Russian poet

Alexander Blok – Russian poet

Alexander Blok was one of the greatest Russian poets, leading figure in the Russian symbolist movement.
Alexander Alexandrovich Blok was born on November 28, 1880 in St. Petersburg. His father was a professor of law and a talented musician, and his mother was a writer and translator. In 1889 he entered the Vvedensky Gymnasium. In 1897, he and his mother traveled abroad. In the German spa town Alexander fell in love with Ksenia Sadovskaya. She became his first love and that love left a deep trace in his work.
Alexander spent summers at Shakhmatovo, country home near Moscow. Famous Russian chemist D. I. Mendeleev was his neighbor.
In 1903 Blok married Mendeleev’s daughter. In the same year some of his poems were published in D. S. Merezhkovski’s magazine. Blok wrote verse from his early childhood.
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