Soviet Sculptor Mikhail Smirnov
In Soviet art 1960-70-ies Mikhail Smirnov has a special place. The artist more closely than most of his contemporaries, was connected with the traditions of wooden sculpture. Masters of Permian Plastics, ST Konenkov and GI Motovilov played a great role in shaping him as a sculptor. The artist asserts human ideal, capable of strong feelings and actions. This embodied his dream of a harmonious personality, coupled with the nature loving people who know the price of a simple peasant labor. The ability in easy pose, in the expression of natural human movements capture the beauty of everyday life, distinguishes the sculptor. Sculptures of MN Smirnov – a poetic statement about the beauty of working people. Soviet artist Mikhail Smirnov (January 26, 1926 – January 10, 2011) – a member of the Union of Artists of the USSR (1952), Honored Artist of Russia (1976), People’s Artist of the RSFSR (1983). Sculptures of MN Smirnov are in the State Tretyakov Gallery, more than 30 museums in Russia and former USSR republics, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, France and England, as well as in private collections in the country and abroad.
The first attempts to cut anything out of wood Mikhail has made as a child. He did wooden figures of soldiers for a game, with a penknife. His father in his spare time, just for fun, carved small figures, painted them in watercolor, so Mikhail was allowed to plane wood, although he ruthlessly cut off his fingers. Cutting out, he was holding the product in his right hand, but his left hand remained forever in scars.
As a teenager, Mikhail studied at the art studio of the Palace of Pioneers of P. Morozov in Moscow. Then he entered the Moscow regional art-teacher school in memory of 1905. His teachers were PI Petrovichev, VN Baksheev, AN Chirkov, NI Abakumtsev (1944-1945). In 1950, Mikhail graduated from the Moscow Higher School of Industrial Art, Department of architectural decorative plastics, workshops of GI Motovilov, SL Rabinovich, PV Kuznetsov.
Having begun studying professional art, Michael left the tree for a long time and really could not think that a long-standing fascination will force him to become a sculptor. But it turned out that way. And now half of the work that he has done in his life, executed in wood. Over the years, working with wood, he has developed a specific method, or a method of implementing plans. It is similar to the following: “first, think of the motive, that is what you want to say in your work. In the piece of wood try to see the future composition. Having a specific plan, go look for material. … Often I go to the forest. In winter, skiing. I seek out dead aspen and willow (often standing on a root or felled by wind and hanging above the ground). In the trunk choose certain pieces, fork in the branches and, cut off, carry to the studio almost finished thing. It only remains to do some work so that not only I could see what lurks in this log”.
His works of 1960-70s are mostly of wood. But wood is not the only material of the sculptor. Smirnov has created several works in granite, marble, granite, plastics – “Student” (1975), “Bather” (1976), “Ossetian” (1982), and others.
Professional biography, the period of “accumulation”, the young sculptor began in 1951. As part of team of Motovilova until 1953 he worked on the decorative sculpture on the building of the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the composition in Oktyabrskaya metro station, in the pavilions of the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition. Then there were the memorable creative trips with a group of Moscow artists to the virgin land in 1956 and the Yenisei in 1971.
Mikhail Smirnov began to participate in exhibitions in 1952. In the period 1954-2005 he participated in more than 80 Moscow, Russian, all-Union and international group art exhibitions, among them – Exhibition “Russian Wood” Paris, France (1974), the exhibition “Art of the USSR” in Bologna, Italy (1975), the V Biennial “Art of the Baltic countries” Rostock, Germany (1975), the international Biennale in Venice, Italy (1982), the exhibition “Soviet Art” Vienna, Austria (1983).