Artist Alexander Shilov Automatic translate
In Likhov Lane, where he spent his poor post-war childhood, Alexander Shilov comes infrequently. Rare memories of that time warm the soul. And yet it is from there, from childhood, that this amazing story originates. It was reported on the radio that in Austria at the World Children’s Drawing Competition, Serezha Shilov received the first prize. This event literally turned Sasha’s mind: if a brother can, why can’t he? After all, he also draws.
That was in 1957. Exactly forty years later, the State Gallery of Alexander Shilov opened in the very center of Moscow.
The gallery buildings on Znamenka have already become part of the familiar look of Moscow. Today, to get around all the halls, you will need a considerable amount of time. After all, the number of paintings and graphic works exceeded one thousand. And twenty years ago, the collection donated by the artist to the city totaled 355 works.
The transfer of paintings was preceded by an appropriate resolution of the State Duma, for which the people’s deputies voted unanimously. So the State Gallery was born, bearing the name of the author of the paintings, to this day donating to the capital all his best works.
When in 1821 the imperial state secretary Peter Kikin, together with Prince Gagarin, Count Dmitriev-Mamonov and other philanthropists founded the Society for the Encouragement of Artists in St. Petersburg, they hardly thought that their deed would not only give a powerful impetus to the then Russian painting, but also brilliantly respond after two centuries in the works of Shilov.
And at that time, the first, as they said then, were Alexander and Karl Bryullov, the pensioners. The society sent them on an annual trip to Italy in order to study the best world art samples and improve their own skills. Karl Bryullov returned from the trip already by the “Great Karl”. His "Last Day of Pompeii" was, in fact, the beginning of Russian painting.
Thanks to the society, other geniuses of Russian classical painting also passed through the Italian school. It was the work of these masters that shocked young Sasha Shilov when his mother first brought him to the Tretyakov Gallery.
The first years of the artist’s life took place in Likhovy Lane. Mom brought up Sasha and two grandmothers. Over the years, bitterness from the need experienced at that time will always be mixed with happy memories of the childhood season. The first labor experience was by no means connected with painting. A furniture factory loader had to carry something heavier than an easel.
Work in a furniture factory took all his strength. But the thought was much harder than the work itself: will I really remain forever a loader? Meanwhile, in the life of Sasha Shilov it was a decisive period. He could not abandon the factory in order to concentrate on entering the Surikov school. It was necessary to live on something. Every day, having thrown off the loader’s clothes, he picked up a pencil or brush and painted.
Very early, Alexander Shilov began to regard his talent as a means of serving others and giving thanks to people close to him. This anxious attitude towards the old people originated in Sasha’s childhood. It sprouted out of gratitude to family people who were ready to sacrifice anything so that he did not feel the need and deprivation.
Brilliantly owning a brush, Shilov could choose the creative method and objects of future canvases himself. And he makes a choice: he paints portraits of older people. His talent and inspiration are drawn to simple clothes and senile wrinkles.
“One should not renounce poverty and loneliness” - this commandment cannot be read, looking at expressive images. Once a simple person could still become a hero of the screen, literature and painting, but from the beginning of the nineties they were replaced by other heroes. Shilov’s fame and talent, his principles did not allow the utter oblivion of people who were outcasts, who had been virtually deleted from modern culture.
He began to paint portraits of old people from the time he felt real skill in himself. And he does it to this day.
After the art studio of the house of pioneers, seven long years passed before entering the school. Alexander improved his talent on his own, constantly drawing friends, acquaintances and neighbors, making graphic copies of famous portraits.
Every day, hundreds of people visit the Shilov Gallery. Most strive here in search of harmony, ideal. Sometimes people are driven simply by curiosity. They walk around the hall and try to unravel the artist himself. Seek symbolic in objects, details.
Who, besides the author, has the right to insist on a special attitude to each of his hero? But all of them, so different, with biographies and fates that could only intersect here only thanks to the conscious or unconscious choice of the artist, are united by the main thing: on Shilov’s canvases they are a little closer to the ideal. If you like, a little closer to the image that the Lord had in mind in each case.
And neither age nor social status matter. You should not sit down to the canvas if you do not know why it is necessary to convey precisely these features and this character to the heart of the viewer. This is the principle of the artist.
Needless to say, each character of the portrait with meticulously, expertly prescribed facial features, details of clothing, accessories, and interior has its own destiny. Sometimes this is a light romantic story, and sometimes an everyday drama.
Everything is as in life, only in comparison with the chronicle and the ordinary that remained behind the windows of the gallery, here, in this world, everything is more colorful and sublime.
When an interesting work is ahead, Shilov goes to bed with only one thought: to wake up soon.
Such nights were given out by the artist when he worked on the painting “For Faith and Fatherland”. The heroine of the portrait was mother Adriana, a woman with a unique fate. During the war, she was a scout and performed feats that men would envy.
The artist himself did not notice how the test of poverty once replaced a completely different one. It all started when, at Surikov School, he began to lean toward the genre of romantic realism - contrary to the official method of social realism, through which shoots of impressionism, avant-garde, and abstractionism made their way.
New trends were carried away by many teachers of the school. Shilov himself never considered it necessary to hide his attitude to other areas of painting. Impressionism and other newfangled "isms" he does not recognize.
He had to pay dearly for his conviction and commitment to romantic realism, the classical manner of writing. After two years of training, teachers refused to take Shilov student into their group, underestimating his grades. He was almost declared a boycott. But Alexander Shilov did not change himself.
In 1972, the head of the Cosmonaut Training Center, Vladimir Shatalov, invited student Shilov to Star City to participate in the creation of a gallery of portraits of the first cosmonauts. Until now, the artist gratefully recalls this. After creating the cycle, he is awarded the Lenin Komsomol Prize. And since then, fate has already carried Alexander Shilov towards the most serious test.
He stepped out of the shadows and received public acclaim. This was the first step to fame.
Only a few years will pass, and the young artist will be entrusted with representing the Soviet Union in France. This will be the first international exhibition of paintings by Alexander Shilov. Many Parisians have seen with enthusiasm will meet talented and understandable works. Turning to the artist, the famous poet and prose writer Louis Aragon will say: “You have preserved realistic art for Europe.”
Few people know that at first, three halls were allocated to the Shilov Gallery in the Kremlin. However, the sensitive object hardly met an important criterion: accessibility for the artist’s creativity to admirers. Then the city leadership proposed the architect Tyurin’s mansion on Znamenka, erected in the 19th century just under the art gallery.
The fate of the country in persons
On May 31, the 97th gallery opened its doors. By that time, the popularity of the master was so high that it was both a natural and unprecedented event at the same time. It seemed that all of Moscow gathered on that day on Znamenka. Was Alexander Shilov happy these days? To understand the feelings of the artist, you should know what drama preceded this stage of life. Not everyone can go crazy, not sleep, not get depressed after this. Died sixteen-year-old daughter Masha.
After that, the artist began to drink and practically abandoned the work.
In the days when there was still hope in the father and all loved ones, many not even very familiar people extended their hand. When Masha was undergoing treatment in Austria, Mstislav Rostropovich unexpectedly got in touch with Alexander Shilov. This participation in the fate of his daughter, over the years, causes the artist a sense of gratitude. Gradually, he returned to work.
There are several portraits of Maria Shilova in the gallery. But the one where she is in a pink airy dress, as if illuminates the hall with a special unearthly light. You can notice how people stand for hours at the portrait, peering into the facial features and literally tangible folds of the dress. If we talk about the soul and heart of the artist, they are, no doubt, here in the portraits of his daughter. These portraits are very personal, and therefore could remain in the collection of Alexander Shilov himself. But by the will of the artist, these works became the property of the state.
In 1980, Alexander Shilov was probably the first Soviet artist in the post-war period to be sent for an internship in Italy. As once Karl Bryullov, with whom the artist Shilov has undoubted external and spiritual similarities. Italy shocked Alexander for life. He wandered along the same streets of Venice, Florence, Rome, where his great predecessors roamed, and did not tire of admiring the eternal beauty that the genius of the Renaissance left to the world. He generally believes that everything beautiful in world art stems from recycled Italian images.
Music, architecture, painting and poetry - these are the things that from time immemorial shaped the soul of man, awakened in him a sense of beauty. And there is no other subject capable of nurturing these qualities from a young age.
There were times when people were distrustful of reproducing their image, whether it be a wooden or stone sculpture, a portrait painted with a pencil or a brush, or even a photograph. The mystical assumption was widespread that a piece of the soul remained in the portrait, which later was no longer subject to its owner. Many works of world literature are devoted precisely to the influence of a portrait on the fate of a character.
But, it seems, no one undertook to investigate what part of his soul the artist leaves on canvas. And not only the soul. When working with pastels, Alexander Shilov leaves particles of his skin on the portrait, erasing the tips of his fingers to the blood. The painstaking and sophisticated pastel technique is almost lost today. And once it was brilliantly owned by Lyotard, Rosalba Carriere, Russian painters Levitan, Scherbakov, Laktionov.
Of our contemporaries, no one has achieved such excellence in this art as Alexander Shilov. Among the world masterpieces of pastels is the portrait of Masha Shilova, created by the master in 1983.
In 2009, the Shilov Gallery was to push its limits and move part of the collection to renovated rooms in neighboring buildings on Znamenka. The reconstruction required the involvement of not just professionals, but builders and investors with the highest qualifications and responsibility.
Nevertheless, the artist himself delved into each stage of the repair so much that it literally turned into a foreman at that time. He personally resolved all economic issues. When everything was behind, he once admitted that it was a real battle, which cost him several years of life.
Looking into the soul of his heroes, Alexander Maksovich involuntarily exposes his own. All his feelings, passions, preferences - in full view. He knows about this and insists on his understanding of the world. And the most important thing here is the restoration of social and historical justice. The artist not only returns the concepts of “heroism”, “feat”, “glory” to their forgotten meanings, but also completely differently distributes places on a public pedestal. In the special world of the Shilov Gallery, veterans are honored and respected every day, not just May 9. The author himself is ready to talk with admiration about the exploit of each of his characters. One of them is Gevork Vartanyan - a scout who became the prototype of the protagonist of the Tehran-43 film.
The gallery has more than thirty portraits of the heroes of the Great Patriotic War. In November 2005, work was completed on the portrait of the legendary aviator Nadezhda Popova. She fought as part of a bomber night female air regiment. It was these famous girls-pilots that the Nazis called the "night witches." In total, she carried out more than 850 sorties.
Where is the spark that makes a person a hero? And is it possible to catch her glow by looking at the portrait? After all, the artist does not change anything either in the look, or in the proportions of the body, or in the posture to show - here he is, a hero, a hero, a superman. He is the same as each of us. He will take off a military tunic with orders, and he will be pushed somewhere in the subway or shop. This generation was not taught to fight for a place in the sun in peaceful life. This is their weakness and strength.
The uniqueness of the gallery is that portraits of important people are adjacent to simple and unknown images. On Shilov’s canvases there is no entrance for special passes. The very veterans who became the heroes of the portraits are even embarrassed by the justice that falls upon them. And visitors to the gallery convey some kind of biblical sense of the equality of people.
Recognition has never bypassed Alexander Maksovich. Back in 1985, he became a national artist of the USSR. Since 2001 he is an academician of the Russian Academy of Arts. His name is one of the planets.
At the turn of the century, it is difficult to divide generations. All of us, of course, living in the 21st century, have sprouted from the twentieth century. Under the arches of the Shilov Gallery every day they try to weave this delicate matter of respect and mutual understanding. Between the old and the young, poor and rich, happy and not so.
Genuine art is what excites everyone - both the peasant and the president. This is the credo of the artist. The day came when Vladimir Putin himself confirmed this by going through the halls of the gallery and leaving a note in the review book.
The author himself claims that in each portrait you can catch his attitude to the hero or heroine. But still, a portrait is not a cartoon, and often the viewer’s imagination takes precedence over his insight. Thus, many beautiful portraits of ministers of the Church do not at all indicate the piety of the artist. For Shilov, the personality and character of his hero are always more important. If we talk about the clergy, then rightfully a special place in the life and work of the artist was occupied by Vladimir Rodzianko, bishop of the Orthodox Church in America.
Almost from the first days in the gallery are chamber creative evenings. Under the arches of the hall voices of outstanding singers and music of the best performers are heard.
The name of the master, his fame attracts not only fans to the gallery. There are those who come here with prejudice, but, to their credit, do not consider it possible to talk about the work of Alexander Shilov according to rumors and newspaper criticism. As a rule, such a visit has a strong emotional, aesthetic impression and produces a revolution in consciousness. Meanwhile, the artist does not consider it necessary to convince opponents in the discussion. The pictures themselves are much more obvious.
The article was prepared by Vadim Ivanov, site manager it-will-help.com
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