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Russian Personalities

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

Category Archive: Art

Ivan Martos – prominent Russian sculptor

Ivan Martos by P.O. Rossi

Ivan Martos by P.O. Rossi


Ivan Martos was a prominent Russian sculptor.
The boy was born in 1754 in the Poltava province (now Chernigov region of Ukraine) into the family of a small nobleman. He was admitted to the Imperial Academy in the first year of its establishment (in 1761), began his studies in 1764, and graduated from it in 1773 with a small gold medal. By the way, he was sent to Italy as a pensioner of the Academy. In Rome, he diligently studied art, practicing, in addition, drawing from nature in the studio of P. Battoni and studied under the leadership of R. Mengs.
When Ivan returned to St. Petersburg in 1779 he immediately became a teacher of sculpture in the Academy. Later, in 1814, he became the rector of the Academy.
Emperors Paul I, Alexander I, and Nicholas I ordered him to make sculptural compositions. To tell the truth, Martos became known not only in Russia, but also abroad.
You know, he was one of the artists who decorated the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg. The sculptor became famous for his monument to Minin and Pozharsky in Moscow.
Moreover, he made a statue of Catherine II in 1812.
Ivan Martos died on April 17, 1835 and was buried at the Smolensk Orthodox cemetery. In the 1930s, his remains were moved to Lazarevskoye cemetery.
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Zinaida Serebryakova – female painter

Zinaida Serebryakova. Self-portrait At the Dressing-Table, 1909

Zinaida Serebryakova. Self-portrait At the Dressing-Table, 1909


Zinaida Serebryakova, a Russian artist who became famous for her self-portrait in the early 20th century, lived a long and eventful life. To tell the truth, she spent most of her life in Paris.
Pretty girl was born on December 12, 1884 into the famous art family Benoit-Lansere, that became known for several generations of sculptors, artists, architects and composers. Zinaida spent her childhood in a beautiful creative atmosphere in the circle of a large family. The family lived in Petersburg, and for the summer they always moved to the Neskuchnoe estate near Kharkov. The girl studied painting privately at first with Princess Tenishcheva in St. Petersburg, then portraitist Osip Braz became her teacher. Later, she continued her education in Italy and France.
On her return from Paris, the artist joined the World of Art society, uniting artists of those times, later named the Silver Age. The first success came to her in 1910, after showing the self-portrait At the Dressing-Table (1909). You know, the picture was immediately bought by Pavel Tretyakov for the gallery.
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Mikhail Kozlovsky – Russian sculptor

V. I. Demut-Malinovsky. Portrait of Mikhail Kozlovsky

V. I. Demut-Malinovsky. Portrait of Mikhail Kozlovsky


Mikhail Kozlovsky is one of the greatest sculptors of Russian classicism, whose work is imbued with high ideas of enlightenment, vivid emotionality and sublime humanism. In the opinion of art criticism of the early XIX century, each of his works “reveals a lot of imagination, feelings, original look and masterful hand of the author.” The master was interested in characters of ancient myths and Russian history. In them he found ideals, important not only for his contemporaries, but also for descendants.
Mikhail was born on October 26 (November 6), 1753 in St. Petersburg into a family of a military musician. At the age of 11 the boy entered the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. French artist Nicolas Gillet, who trained many talented sculptors of that time, and A. Losenko became his closest mentors. In 1772 Kozlovsky was awarded a first class gold medal for his bas-relief Prince Izyaslav in the Field of Battle. After graduation, he became a pensioner of the Academy and was sent to Rome (from 1774 to 1779) and to Paris (from 1779 to 1780).
By the way, in 1780 the Marseilles Academy of Arts awarded him the title of academician.
In 1782 Kozlovsky returned to Russia with the sculptural group Jupiter and Ganymede made abroad. Also he made a marble statue of Catherine II, represented as Minerva (1785) and became widely known and recognized by his contemporaries.
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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.
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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 was an outstanding Russian portraitist, master of religious painting. Numerous portraits of the highest figures and the Petersburg nobility brought him fame. By the way, he was an Academician of the Imperial Academy of Arts.
The boy was born on July 24 (August 4), 1757 in Mirgorod into a Cossack family. You know, 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.
Moreover, 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 was in the company of poets whose interests and ideas were linked to the new wave in literature – sentimentalism. At the center of his attention there 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

Russian artist Viktor Vasnetsov, a true patriot of his country, became the founder of the Russian style. Historical motifs combined with the poetic atmosphere of fairy tales left a bright trace in Russian and world culture.
Viktor Mikhailovich was born on May 15, 1848 in the Vyatka province into the family of a priest. There were six children in the family. The boy grew up surrounded by legends and beliefs, and preferred fairy tales to science. Since early childhood Viktor was fond of drawing. But the Vasnetsovs did not have big income, so, the father could not send his son to art school. Instead, in 1858, Viktor entered the Vyatka Ecclesiastical School, where, as the son of a priest, he had the right to study for free.
The next step in his education was the seminary. However, the young man left it and entered the St. Petersburg Drawing School in 1867. Simultaneously with his admission to the art school, Viktor managed to pass the exam to the Academy of Arts. You know, Ivan Kramskoy was the teacher of Vasnetsov.
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Alexei Savrasov – Russian landscape painter

Alexei Savrasov - Russian landscape painter

Alexei Savrasov – Russian landscape painter


Alexei Savrasov is a Russian realist artist, one of the founders of The Wanderers. You know, he was the discoverer of the lyrical landscape in Russian painting. To tell the truth, the creator of the national Russian landscape, began as a low-income person, the first buyers of the Savrasov’s paintings were merchants at the market. At the age of 24 he became an academician.
Alexei Kondratievich was born on May 24, 1830 into the family of a merchant. His father wanted the son to follow in his footsteps. However, the boy was fond of drawing and drew on any sheet of paper that fell into his hands. Once Alexei decided to show his drawings to merchants at the market and they asked to bring more.
The first step into the real world of painting was a casual acquaintance with Alexander Vorobyev, who attended the Moscow School of Painting, Architecture and Sculpture. How did young Alexei dream about this! After a series of scandals at home 14-year-old Alexei entered the school. He earned money himself, still selling his drawings to merchants. Soon the boy had to leave school because of his mother’s illness.
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