Russian Personalities

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

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. Actually, 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 his 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. You know, he made friends with Ilya Repin and Viktor Vasnetsov, and was an acquaintance of Ivan Kramskoi, the ideologist of the progressive Russian artists.

Since 1870 the artist often visited the island of Valaam, a favorite place of landscape painters. And in 1873 he created two wonderful pictures – On the island of Valaam (State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow) and Lake Ladoga (State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg).
In 1875, the artist married the daughter of a wealthy merchant, Vera Leontievna Ketcherdzhi-Shapovalova.
Hoping to broaden his knowledge Kuinji undertook a journey abroad. He stayed in Britain, France, Belgium and Germany.
Moreover, in 1878 his works were exhibited at the World Exhibition in Paris.
A year later, in 1879, Kuinji presented the public with a kind of trilogy landscapes The North, Birch Grove and After a Thunderstorm (the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow).
The exhibition in 1882 was Kuinji’s last one. It was followed by many years of silence, that even the artist’s friends could not understand.
In 1886 Arkhip bought land in the Crimea, where he lived in a hut along with his wife.
By the way, in 1894, he was offered a post at the Academy as a professor of landscape-painting.
In the summer of 1910, while in the Crimea, the artist became ill with pneumonia. He was transported to St. Petersburg, where on July 11 (24), 1910 he died.
Birch Grove, 1879

Birch Grove, 1879

Arkhip Kuinji – master of landscape painting

View of St. Isaac's Cathedral in the moonlight Arkhip Kuinji

View of St. Isaac’s Cathedral in the moonlight, 1869

Daryal Gorge Moonlight night Arkhip Kuinji

Daryal Gorge. Moonlight night. 1890-1895

Moonlit Night on the Dnieper Arkhip Kuinji

Moonlit Night on the Dnieper, 1880

Evening in the Ukraine Arkhip Kuinji

Evening in the Ukraine, 1878

Lake Ladoga Arkhip Kuinji

Lake Ladoga, 1873

Rainbow Arkhip Kuinji

Rainbow, 1900-1905

Red sunset Arkhip Kuinji

Red sunset, 1905-1908

Snowy peaks Arkhip Kuinji

Snowy peaks, 1890-1895

Sunrise Arkhip Kuinji

Sunrise, 1890-1895

After a Thunderstorm Arkhip Kuinji

After a Thunderstorm, 1879

Ukrainian night Arkhip Kuinji

Ukrainian night, 1878

On the island of Valaam Arkhip Kuinji

On the island of Valaam, 1873