Soviet artist Andrei Mylnikov 1919-2012
Soviet artist Andrei Mylnikov (22 February, 1919 – 17 May, 2012) – Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Arts, member of the Russian Academy of Arts, People’s Artist of the USSR, Hero of Socialist Labor, Professor of St. Petersburg State Academic Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture of Repin. Andrei Mylnikov: “In my opinion, the birth of a work of art is like the birth of a living organism and goes through the same stages – excitement, love and, of course, the suffering. The product most often born in pain. But, having been born, it can have a very long life. Grains of goodness and beauty, planted by the artist, do not always give instant shoots. The painting, done for a long time, still bear fruit.”
Some of the poets said, we love what we were brought on. Mylnikov brought up on the traditions of Russian life. He was born in the village of Pokrovsk, near Saratov, on the other bank of the Volga. His father died, and his uncle had to bring up three orphans. Hungry, but free life under the cries of seagulls, rumblings of stuffy Volga thunderstorms in the vast expanses of the river – all this filled the heart, delighted, fascinated. In the fall and winter he, with his mother went to Saratov to the markets and fairs. It was the time of the NEP (New Economic Policy).
In 1929, Andrei and his mother moved to Moscow and then to Leningrad, where he was able to settle. A relative of the mother, who at her time studied at the famous artist VE Savinsky, showed him Andrei’s pictures. Old teacher noted: “… the art business is complex… What will come – known example – Malyavin was in high glory and then fell into the pit …….” These words were remembered. Especially about “pits”, which he met, big and small, during his lifetime.
In Leningrad, he graduated from the ten-year school, tried to enter the preparatory course at the Academy of Fine Arts, but failed. In 1937 he was admitted to the faculty of architecture. But as they say, there is a blessing in disguise. Catching up on the study of architecture, Mylnikov acquires basic knowledge of spatial – structural arrangement of volumes, drawing prospects, and Professor N. Radlov together with VM Oreshnikov recommend him to go to the Faculty of Painting. After the third year Mylnikov chooses monumental workshop of D. O. Kiplik.
The academic year was held in intensive classes, and in the early summer cheerful company of fellow students went to practice in the southern city of Gurzuf. On a sunny June day the Crimean town – as well as the whole Soviet land was deafened by a cry: War! Students went to the draft board to join the militia. Medical Commission gave Mylnikov full retirement. In Leningrad, the story repeated, but then he still was taken to a battalion of the national militia, located in the building of the Academy of Arts. They reflected the Nazi air raids … Then – the blockade, cold, hunger. But people did not sit humbly, waiting for death, but worked. Mylnikov draws a lot, unfortunately, these works have not been preserved, as well as many other works of artists created during the siege.
Andrei Mylnikov graduated from the Institute of Repin, with diploma painting “The Oath of Baltic Fleet sailors (1946), which became a phenomenon in the Soviet art. The head of the diploma was an outstanding Russian Soviet artist Igor Grabar. For more than seventy years of artistic career Andrei Mylnikov created easel paintings and works of monumental art and sculpture, graphic works. Among them, the painting “On the peaceful fields” (USSR State Prize, 1951), “Summer”, “Morning”, “Dream”, “Silence”, praising the goodness and beauty of life.
An important place in the artist takes a picture of the “Farewell” (USSR State Prize, 1979), where the author again returns to the theme of the heroic past of our country, as well as the “Spanish Triptych” (Lenin Prize, 1984), deeply philosophical work, speaking of the eternal categories of good and evil in human life.
The artist’s work is inextricably linked to teaching. For more than fifty years of pedagogical work the way he was brought up a large group of artists, occupying a leading position in contemporary art and working as in all corners of the USSR and in the countries of near and far abroad.
The works of AA Mylnikov are in the collections of major museums in our country (the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Russian Museum), in many museums and private collections both in Russia and abroad: in Europe, the USA, China and Japan.
The artist’s work is the subject of numerous monographs, films, and articles. His work is a striking example of service to art, an inseparable part of the Soviet culture. In the center of creativity of AA Mylnikov is always a man with his thoughts, experiences and feelings.
Master asserts ideals of harmony in the modern world, agitated, split. Pictures of Mylnikov are humane in nature, they bring the joy of attainment of an ideal. His art in the chaos of the modern world stands with clear aesthetic program. He is one of those who believe that “beauty will save the world.”