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Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy – Portrait Painter

Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy – Portrait Painter

Article by Vladimir London, Drawing Academy tutor

Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy (born 8 June 1837) came from humble origins in the town of Ostrogozhsk. He received only an elementary education, but studied and worked in the arts independently. He served as a photographic color corrector from age sixteen, eventually moving to St. Petersburg.

In 1857 he entered into the Arts Academy, impressing his instructors with his drawing skill. He also became a leader of his fellow students, heading protests against the ridiculous pieces the Academy demanded of its artists. After graduation, he helped form a collective called “The St. Petersburg Team,” founded in a spirit of cooperation and spiritual sensibilities.

Kramskoy developed as a portraitist, using skills he developed in his photographic career to draw famous figures throughout the 1860s, like Chistyakov, Morozov, and Shishkin. His accurate but sparing pictures were not only admired among the artistic circles, but also embodied his democratic ideals. It was also at this time (1863-8) that Kramskoy became a teacher at the Drawing School of the Arts…

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Valentin Serov

Valentin Serov

Article by Vladimir London, Drawing Academy tutor

Valentin Serov was born 19 January 1865, the only son to a family active in the St. Petersburg arts community. His father was a composer and famous music critic, his mother over 25 years his father’s junior. He grew up surrounded by the notable Russian artists of the day, his parents hosting sculptors like Mark Antokolsky and painters like Ilya Repin. In this environment, Serov’s talents were early recognized and cultivated.

When Serov was six, his father passed away. Although his mother devoted herself primarily to her social obligations to the detriment of her son, once she saw his artistic gifts they moved to Paris. There, the young Serov had the opportunity to study more deliberately under Repin, who had taken residence in Paris. Although Serov began to formally develop his talents,…

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The phenomenon of Malevich

The phenomenon of Malevich

Article by Vladimir London

Born 11 February 1878 to a Polish family in Kiev, Kazimir Malevich is best known as one of the standard bearers of non-figurative, avant-garde art. The eldest of fourteen children (nine of whom survived to adulthood), he moved around often because of his father’s work on sugar beet plantations.

Despite his distance from formal centers of learning, the surrounding beauty and color of the Russian landscapes left an indelible impression upon him. Seeing a roof-painter and being mesmerized by way in which color transformed his grand palette, Malevich fell in love with painting. His parents humored his interest, buying him a medical brush at a pharmacy, all the while assuming he would follow in his father’s footsteps and assume a more fitting occupation. He studied at an agricultural school (his only formal education), and for the…

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Isaac Levitan – Landscape painter

Isaac Levitan – Landscape painter

Article by Vladimir London, Drawing Academy tutor

Isaac Levitan, born 30 August 1860, was born near the town of Verzhbolovo, modern Virbalis, Lithuania. Raised in a poor but intellectual Jewish family, Levitan’s artistic proclivities were fostered by his father from a young age. When the artist was still young, his family moved to Moscow, where he was supported in his decision to join the Moscow College of Art, Sculpture, and Architecture. Unfortunately, his mother died in 1875 and his father only two years later, leaving Levitan orphaned and broke…

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Ilya Glazunov – The Mystery of the Twentieth Century

Ilya Glazunov – The Mystery of the Twentieth Century

Article by Vladimir London, Drawing Academy tutor

Born 10 June 1930 in Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, Ilya Glazunov was raised in a family that cherished Russian history. Unfortunately, his was one of the families trapped in the city during the Nazi siege of 1942, leaving him an orphan. His uncle helped him escape to Greblo, in Novgorod, where he managed to survive until the siege was lifted in 1944.

Although the war left permanent scars upon the young man, he overcame them and entered art school, graduating to the Ilya Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture in 1951.

As Glazunov developed as an artist, he further embraced his Russian roots. In particular, he found profound inspiration in Russia’s religious traditions, the persecution of which Stalin eased during the war. The comfort found in monasteries and Christian iconography translated into…

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Ivan Aivazovsky – the painter of the sea

Ivan Aivazovsky – the painter of the sea

Article by Vladimir London, Drawing Academy tutor

Ivan AivazovskyIvan Aivazovsky (Ива́н Айвазо́вский), born July 17, 1817 in Feodosia, Crimea. Most famous for his seascapes, he started life the son of a poor Armenian merchant. His artistic talents were recognized early in life when he became apprentice to a local architect, Jacob Koch. He soon moved to Simferopol to attend the local gymnasium, and eventually attended the prestigious Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg. Aivazovsky excelled at the Academy, winning medals and honing his craft under the French marine painter Philippe Tanneur…

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Arkhip Kuindzhi

Arkhip Kuindzhi

Article by Vladimir London, Drawing Academy tutor

Arkhip Kuindzhi was born in Mariupol, Ukraine, on 15 January. Sources give different years, but it was around 1842. In fact, the details of his life are sparing, save for the account offered in the diary of his beloved wife, Vera Ketcherdzhi. His parents died when he was 6, leaving him to move in with another family member and herd geese to make a living. He received minimal education, spending most of his time drawing instead.

At age 10, Kuindzhi left school and found employment at a nearby church construction site and then a servant. He continued to draw, impressing a friend of his employer who encouraged him to study under the seascape portraitist Ivan Aivazovsky. Kuidzhi travelled to Feodosia and worked for Aivazovsky, but was largely ignored by the greater artist. It was only another…

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Artworks by Andrei Dareev

Artworks by Andrei Dareev

Andrei was born in 1978 in Semipalatinsk, Russia.

Graduated from Novoaltajsk Art School.

Graduated from The Russian Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (landscape workshop by Afonin AP).

Member of the Russian Artists Union.

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WHAT IS DRAWING? An absolute must have skill.

WHAT IS DRAWING? An absolute must have skill.

Article by Ronnie Rayner Larter

Drawing is the expression of form on a plane surface, and although colour can have very expressive qualities, I personally feel a well-executed drawing in charcoal or graphite can have more expressive qualities than a rainbow of pigments.

If you stop and think for a moment, you will find many of the old masters’ drawings used very little colour in their studies and they were often more highly charged emotionally than their paintings. Why? Because of the expressive use of line and shading…

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Aleksei Savrasov – Russian landscape painter

Aleksei Savrasov – Russian landscape painter

Article by Vladimir London, Drawing Academy tutor

Born 12 May 1830 in Moscow, Aleksei Savrasov demonstrated artistic skills early; indeed, he sold his earliest landscape paintings at age twelve! Although his father wanted him to follow in his footsteps and become a merchant, Savrasov entered the Moscow School of Painting and Sculpture in 1844, focusing on landscapes. His father was so opposed to art school that Savrasov quit after only a few weeks, but was encouraged to return by his instructors in 1848. Studying under Rabus, he became the most distinguished landscape student at the academy. After he caught the notice of a notable patron of the arts, Likhachev, he received a scholarship to study in Odessa, where he further developed his landscape technique. The paintings made around this time earned him a certificate of appreciation from the art school,…

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