Soviet artist Arkady Plastov
Soviet artist Arkady Plastov (1893 – 1972) – Academician of the USSR Academy of Arts (1947), People’s Artist of the USSR (1962), winner of the Lenin Prize (1966) and the Stalin Prize of the first degree (1946). The main themes of his creativity – rural landscapes, portraits of contemporaries, scenes of peasant life. He has also worked in the field of illustration and easel drawing. During his lifetime, Arkady Plastov was recognized as a classic of Soviet art. His works were published even in school textbooks. Although he painted traditional Soviet pictures depicting Lenin, collective farm holidays, the best of his paintings became classics of Russian art of XX century. He exhibited his works at the exhibitions of the Union of Artists. His works are kept in the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Russian Museum, in Ulyanovsk Regional Art Museum, Samara Regional Art Museum and other major museums of the former USSR. Solo exhibitions of AA Plastov were held in Moscow in 1976, 1983, 1993, 2003 and in Sofia in 1964.
Arkady Plastov was born January 31, 1983 in the village of Prislonikha of now Ulyanovsk region. He studied at the Stroganov Central School of Industrial Art (1912 – 1914), in the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, the sculpture department (1914-1917). In parallel, he studied painting at the workshops of AE Arkhipov, AS Stepanov, AM Vasnetsov. Most of the time he worked in Prislonikha.
Plastov – a great artist of peasant Russia. He was the son and grandson of the local village iconographer. He graduated from the seminary. From his youth, he dreamed of becoming a painter. In 1914 he entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, the sculpture department. In parallel, he studied painting.
In the 1917-25 Plastov lived in his native village; as “competent”, engaged in various public affairs. Only in the second half of the 1920s he was able to return to the professional art work. In 1931, the house of Plastov got on fire, and almost all created by that time paintings had been burnt. The artist was about forty years old, and he was almost in the position of a beginner. But forty years of tireless work – and a number of his works reached 10 000. Only portraits – a few hundred. These are mainly portraits of villagers.
Plastov realizes himself as the successor of the entire national artistic tradition. In the colors of Russian nature, he sees the enchanting paint of our old icons. These paints live in his paintings: in the gold grain fields, in the green grass, in red, pink and blue peasant clothes. In place of the holy ascetics appear Russian peasants, whose work is heavy, and the holy, whose life for Plastov – embodied the harmony of man and nature.
Painting “Collective Farm Holiday”, shown at the exhibition “Industry of Socialism” in 1937-1938, the brings to the author a well-deserved success. Here the artist with great poetry and the fullness of life showed a Russian village of 1930s.
The artist works much and fruitful in the 1930s. But his first masterpieces he created during the war years. Before the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, Plastov has created a number of large compositions of watercolors, including “Election Committee of the poor”, which bears an autobiographical character.
In the works of the war years the artist has achieved a huge drama, pictorial embodiment of big thoughts and feelings. Even before his trip to the front at the end of 1942, Plastov has created a series of paintings: “The Germans have come”, “Protection of hearth and home,” “The prisoners are”, “One against a tank.”
“Fascist has flown” (1942) – one of the most powerful paintings of Soviet painting time of World War II. The war is presented here in its terrible guise. The absurdity of tragically cut short life is especially impressive against the backdrop of a peaceful nature, in a quiet area where there is no hint of war. Picture of Plastov is imbued with a deep humanistic content. Here is heard the curse to War.
The artist continued to work until the very last days. Plastov Died May 12, 1972.
Soviet artist Arkady Plastov
magazine Young artist 1983, 1985, 1986
Masters of painting. Plastov. Illustrated album. 2001