Soviet Russian artist Ivan Kulikov
Portrait Gallery of Pioneers and Komsomol members of the 1920s, created by Soviet Russian artist Ivan Kulikov (13 April 1875 – 15 December 1941) – disciple of the great Repin is the artistic embodiment of the glorious era of the beginning of construction of socialism in the USSR.
Those who at least once visited the Russian Museum, of course, remember the huge painting by Ilya Repin – group portrait – “The ceremonial meeting of the State Council.” In working on this piece to the great artist helped Boris Kustodiev and Ivan Semyonovich Kulikov – his “most significant” disciples, as Stasov called them. From The first creative steps the artist showed the brightness of his pictorial talent. Already becoming academician of painting, Ivan Semenovich talked about his vocation for art: “I loved to paint since childhood, and the guys called me an artist. Art teacher insisted that I was engaged in painting, and even brought me an easel – the tripod.”.
Murom district school, where the first drawing skills were obtained, Kulikov graduated as a fourteen year-old young man and began to help his father in the painting works – painted the stoves to resemble the marble, floors and walls to look oak and ash. However, the dream to join did not leave the artist. And a happy coincidence. From St. Petersburg came to the sketches academician painter AI Morozov. Ivan Kulikov watched his work with admiration. Plucking up courage, he decided to show his drawings to the artist. Morozov appreciated his first experiences and advised to seriously study art. “You have a talent! A rare talent, you should develop it, and for this – go to St. Petersburg to study!”
Only two years later Ivan Kulikov had the opportunity, having saved some money, come to the capital. Morozov fatherly met the countryman and brought him to the art school. Teachers noticed outstanding ability and recommended the young man to take the examination at the Academy of Arts. “Academy! With trepidation I walked into this building, “- wrote Kulikov. In the fall of 1896, he, irregular student of Higher Art School at the Academy of Arts was enrolled in the workshop of genre painting, where he revealed his talent of portraitist. Therefore, the head of the studio, known Peredvizhnik V. Makovsky advised Kulikov to learn at the workshop of Repin. His workshop was at that time the center of the Art Academy, and here studied young painters.
At an exhibition of student works Ilia Yefimovich Repin liked sketches and portraits of an unknown student, and he took him as an apprentice.
“What luck! – Recalled Kulikov.- I got to Repin! I did not believe myself: am I going to learn from the Repin? I immediately went into the studio and told the headman that I am a new student of Repin.”
Thus began the study at the leading artist of Russia. Quite unexpectedly, in preparation for the diploma work, in April 1901 Repin suggested Kustodiev and Kulikov to help in work on a registered product of “Ceremonial Meeting of the State Council.” On the history of this canvas Kulikov said in 1940: “The fact that what was painted by me and Kustodiev, Repin did not correct, but merely pointed out that was necessary,” and then, trying to give the whole picture a single color palette sound, he held his brush, and we have clearly seen his, special Repin’s way of painting”.
November 25, 1902 Kulikov has completed his part of the “Meeting”, and a little earlier received the diploma of the Academy of Arts, a gold medal and the right to travel abroad at State’s expense.
Ivan Kulikov had the happy opportunity to visit the art galleries of Rome, Venice, Dresden, Paris and other European cities, to see the creation of brilliant artists, whose art he admired in the Hermitage. After the third trip, in 1905, the artist settled permanently in Murom, where everything was near and dear to him. On canvases the artist captures the multicolored fairs, native Prioksky nature, monuments of the ancient city. His works are recognized and exhibited in St. Petersburg, at the international exhibitions in Rome, Venice, Liege, Munich.
Always following the progress of the student, Repin wrote to him: “You are a true artist … your work breathes with freshness and health.” A recognized master Kulikov entered the Soviet art, taking an active part in the creation of a new socialist culture. The People’s Commissariat for Education commissioned him to take measures for the protection of artistic and historical treasures in Murom and surrounding area. Kulikov became director of the museum in Murom. He devoted much effort to the protection of cultural monuments, considering that work the overriding and urgent.
Museum activities he combined with teaching drawing and painting at courses and in art studio for gifted youth. Under his leadership, the disciples decorated the city with slogans and posters for revolutionary holidays.
Staring at the signs of the new, Kulikov keen on the idea of creating images of Soviet youth. Cheerful, big-eyed Varya Sheronova, who studied in the art studio. She was the inspiration for the “Komsomol girl”, painted by Kulikov in watercolor. Her sister Lyudmila often came to the art room, also posed for the artist. “In my youth, – Lyudmila Alexandrovna told – I worked a lot on the eradication of illiteracy in rural areas. Was also the chairman of the village council.” Here she is on the canvas “Yungshturm” cheerful, smiling cheerfully as if stopped for a moment in front of us. Reproduction of this work, in 1920s saw the whole country.
As an important event Ivan Kulikov took a demonstration of young fighters for peace, which was held in one of the sunny days in September 1928 in Murom. He felt that he was in their midst.
Looking at the parade artist once introduced the sketch of the future picture. “And suddenly for us, – says the heroes of the paintings – Ivan Semenovich came to a youth club and offered to pose. We were pleased with this. We do not remember how Kulikov drew individual portraits, as if we immediately appeared on a large canvas, in a festive column. All of us are in this picture: joined the Komsomol in 1924 by Lenin’s call.” Thus was created the multi-figured painting “The International Youth Day”.
The first pioneers! Discounted pioneer fires, red flags and ties, drums and horns! How unusual and new, romantic and beautiful they are! Portrait Gallery of Pioneers and Komsomol members of 1920s, created by a pupil of the great Repin is the artistic embodiment of the glorious era of the beginning of construction of socialism in the USSR.
Soviet Russian artist Ivan Kulikov
Young Artist magazine, 3-1987
Masters of painting. Ivan Kulikov. Illustrated album. 2003