"Twenty eight years ago I was destined to be born in great, wonderful and my beloved St. Petersburg-Leningrad. I never doubted what my future profession would be - the transition from children's toys to paper and paints came quite natural. Besides, there was an example to be followed - it was my father, a graphic artist, and my mother who could understand art and had a soul of a painter. Books on history and art surrounded me from early childhood, I loved and knew almost by heart the reproductions in them.
The cultural environment of St. Petersburg was most favourable: the Hermitage, the Russian Museum, the incomparable in their beauty and grandeur its environs - Pavlovsk, Pushkin and Peterhof - made it possible for me to join in lofty samples of Russian-European culture.
After finishing my studies at the Ioganson Art School in Leningrad I went to Moscow to become a student at the portrait workshop of the Surikov State Art Institute. The head of the workshop was Ilya Glazunov. It was a perfect opportunity to get good knowledge and art education. Special attention was paid to the Russian history and religion which were utterly kept silent and sometimes even banned. Ilya Glazunov helped us to stop and think about what we painted and for what purpose, about good and evil, about the significance of a historical picture - all those things that seemed simple, but were totally left out in the vanity of our everyday life. In summer we would go to St. Petersburg to copy in the Hermitage the paintings of Rubens, Terborch, Rembrandt and Titian. By "talking" to the great masters we studied the technique of painting, basic composition, colour gamut. I feel happy to remember my student years when I met so many interesting people, traveled in Russia and undertook unique for post-communist period tours to Italy, Sweden, France and other countries.
I often thought what I had managed to accomplish at my age and what else there was to be done. I would picture the personality of the talented Russian artist Fyodor Vasilyev whose life had been so short and who so contributed to the art in Russia. These thoughts keep my mind alert and make me more enthusiastic to take my brush in my hand.
In my work I tackle various genres, for the most part it is portrait, landscape and historical painting. But my preference is military-historical events which I have depicted in several paintings showing the period of the first half of the 19th century and the so-called 'Napoleon's' epoch. I am sometimes asked why should I depict the history that is so distant to us? How can it move our contemporary? To my mind, it is not the period that is shown, the more so as history tends to repeat itself, but the general human notions of good, self-sacrifice, love of one's native land, valour, melancholy or slight irony that I am trying to convey. All the above traits are still stronger and with more acute contrast pronounced in the period of hardships. I am trying to show how attractive were the uniforms cut as tails and how beautiful were the people who wore them. Present-day battles are devoid of romanticism and human input, they are robotised and soulless.
My interest towards military history was evoked when still as a child I first saw the panorama of the Battle at Borodino by Franz Rubo. It so impressed me that I started to study anything that was connected in this way or other with the events of 1812. I studied the archives, reminiscences of participants in the events of that period, making sketches of the uniforms and arms. Later, I came to know most interesting people from the military-historical clubs of St. Petersburg and Moscow, who in due course became the characters of my pictures.
Only few artists nowadays paint historical pictures: some do not feel a vocation for and are not capable of doing it, others have taken up commercial art. Whereas this genre is especially important for the self-realisation of the nation, the people's memory of Russia's great past. I am deeply convinced that those who say that historical picture is dead and realism itself has become obsolete are wrong. Realism cannot exhaust itself, it is multifarious and unique, like nature that never ages, and can be admired on end. It can be forgotten or lost on purpose - this happened in many countries.
The absence of good school and realistic traditions has brought about legions of pseudoartists.
Therefore, it is most important that in the atmosphere of chaos and stagnation due to the efforts of rector Ilya Glazunov it has become possible to erect the citadel of Russian realism - the Russian Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Together with my friends and sympathizers. I am privileged to teach there and share with young students my knowledge and experience received in the portrait workshop of the Surikov State Art Institute."
1967 - Born in Leningrad
VOCATIONAL TRAINING COMPRISES STUDIES AT:
1978 - 1985 - Secondary art school named after Ioganson
1986 - 1994 - Surikov State Art Institute in Moscow. Travels in the North of Russia: Arkhangelsk, Veliky Ustyug, Vologda, Valaam
1987 - 1989 - Military service
1991 - Participant of the Russian National Exhibition of Portrait. Kuznetsky Most, Moscow. A trip to Sweden
1992 - One-man show in Hernosand, Sweden. Membership in the International Art Foundation. Participant of the Exhibition "Education. Culture. Language" in the Manege exhibion hall, Moscow
1993 - A number of portraits of A. Alhanko, the prima-ballerina of the Swedish Royal Theatre. A trip to Italy: Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan
1994 - Graduation from the Surikov State Art Institute in Moscow. Special distinction for his diploma painting Service before the Battle. Participant of the First Exhibition of the All-Russia Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture
Since 1993 Teacher of the All-Russia Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture
1995 - Participant of "The new names of the Russian realism" exhibition. St. Petersburg
1996 - Participant of "The new names of the Russian realism" exhibition. Samara