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 Nadezhda Voytinskaya

Born:   December 13 1886
Deceased:   1965

Russian artist


Nadezhda Voytinskaya was born in Petersburg on December 13, 1886. She studied painting in Petersburg, and then went in for lithography and painting in France, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland in 1905-1908. After returning to St. Petersburg she approached with artists of the World of Art group.

In the spring of 1909 the editor of Apollo magazine S. K. Makovsky suggested the 22-year-old artist make a series of lithographed portraits of well-known poets and artists, who contributed for Apollo: Nikolay Gumilyov, Zinaida Gippius, Mikhail Kuzmin, Korney Chukovsky, Sergey Auslender, and Mstislav Dobuzhinsky. It was expected that every magazine would feature one of the portraits. However, only Nikolay Gumilyov's portrait was published. 

Soon afterwards the editor and the artist had a conflict, and so Makovsky refused to publish the remaining portraits. All the printed copies were sent to her home. It made her give up on lithography. But she could not live without art. She studied at the History and Philology Faculty of the Higher Courses for Women and even before her graduation in 1916 she the artist undertook work in the field of painting. Nadezhda Voytinskaya was very much attracted to the Old Russian art.

Unfortunately, after the October revolution the artist stopped painting. When asked “How could you give up art?” the artist responded “Revolution demanded posters – or else one could paint taverns. I could do neither of that. My aspirations to master techniques of Old Russian painting for the development of art meant nothing to people in those years”.
Thus, after giving up painting she went on her education and graduated from the Fine Art Theory Department of the State Institute for the History of Arts in 1924. She became an art historian, took up writing and translating books. With the mastery of four European languages, she translated several science and research books (M. Valye. Flight into Interplanetary Space, 1926) as well as works by R. Luxemburg and Klara Tsetkin. In the post-war period she translated and processed stories by Arthur Conan-Doyle (The Case Notes of Sherlock Holmes, 1946; The Hound of the Baskerville, 1947, etc.) 
In 1938 she was arrested, but released a year later since her fault could not be proved. During the war she found herself in the blockade Leningrad, and worked in the Bureau for Promoting Literature of the Union of Writers. She translated anti-fascist poetry, works by Ukrainian and Belarusian poets, and worked for radio. After the war she taught and was the chairholder of the foreign languages department of the All-Union Forest Engineering Institute.
For nearly 60 years, till the end of the 1960s her creativity was in oblivion, but in recent years there has been a growing interest in Nadezhda Voytinskaya’s art heritage (she is more widely known under the surname of Voytinskaya-Levidova).


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