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 Boris  Kustodiev


Born:   March 7, 1878
Deceased:   May 28, 1927

Painter and stage designer

      

Boris Mikhaylovich Kustodiev was born on February, 23rd (on March, 7th) 1878 into the family of a teacher of a theological seminary in Astrakhan .

Having visited an exhibition of the Itinerants (Peredvizhniki) and having seen for the first time paintings by real artists in 1887, young Kustodiev was stunned and decided to become an artist.

After graduating from the theological seminary in 1896 Kustodiev went to Petersburg and entered the Academy of Arts. While studying in the workshop of Ilya Repin, he painted lots of life studies and tried to master the skill of conveying the colourful variety of the world.

Ilya Repin involved the young artist into co-authorship in the painting State Council Session (1901–1903, Russian Museum, Petersburg). In those years Kustodiev's talent as a portraitist already manifested itself (Ivan Bilibin, 1901). While living in Petersburg and Moscow, Kustodiev often visited picturesque corners of the Russian province, first of all in cities and villages of Verkhnyaya Volga, where the well-known images of Russian traditional life (a series of "fairs", "pancake weeks", "village festivals") and colourful folk types ("merchant wives", "merchants", and "Russian Venuses" - nude beauties taking bath). These series and similar canvasses (Portrait of Feodor Chaliapin, 1922, Russian Museum) look like colourful dreams about the old Russia. Kustodiev concieved the October Revolution as a carnival, in the spirit of the folk popular print (lubok).

Though in 1916 Kustodiev found himself paralized and in a wheel chair, he went on working actively in different art forms and continuing his popular "Volga" series. After the revolution Kustodiev created the best works in the sphere of book illustrations ("The Darner and Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District" by Leskov; "Rus’" by Zamyatin in 1923; and other drawings) and scenography (Zamyatin's "Flea" in the second MKhAT (Mocsow Art Theatre), 1925; and other scenery). Boris Mikhaylovich Kustodiev died in Leningrad on May, 26th, 1927.


Tags: Boris Kustodiev Russian painters    








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