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One of the first professional artists of Yekaterinburg -Vladimir Kazantsev - came to art in a roundabout way. His fast-moving career as a painter began when he was in his mid-twenties. But the master not only managed to make up for lost time, having created many paintings, imbued with a reverent attitude to the harsh beauty of the Ural region, but also became an academician of the Imperial Academy of Arts.
Ural landscape painter, graphic artist, academician of painting Vladimir Gavrilovich Kazantsev was born in 1849 in Yekaterinburg into a family of Old Believers, gold miners. His paternal family descended from the fugitive peasants of the Old Believers of the Moscow region. When the Old Believers began to persecute in Russia, the artist's ancestors, who once lived near Moscow, ended up in the Urals in 1723. His grandfather started out in a new place with the lard trade, soon becoming the largest salad dealer. For six years he served as the mayor of Yekaterinburg, he was also one of the first to stake out areas of gold discovered in Siberia and soon became a gold miner. Later, his son Gavrila Fomich already owned a dozen gold mines and multiplied his father's capital at times.
And on his mother's side, Vladimir Kazantsev belonged to the ancient family of Murom icon painters who worked in the Annunciation Monastery from the seventeenth to the eighteenth century. Apparently from them, Vladimir Gavrilovich drew a talent for drawing, which manifested itself in him many years later.
Thus, the family, which had a solid income, gave a decent education to both Vladimir and his brothers in their hometown. And then the future artist, at the behest of his parents, went to Moscow and entered Moscow University at the Faculty of Law. Later, returning to his homeland as a certified lawyer, Kazantsev spent about ten years engaged in judicial investigations in the city of Perm. However, from year to year, the young man understood more and more that his activity as a lawyer was absolutely not what his soul was in. He no longer wanted to be a servant of Themis.
Only at the age of thirty-one, Vladimir Gavrilovich Kazantsev decisively changed his fate, entering the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts as a volunteer, where he began to comprehend the basics of painting. The head of the landscape class, in which Kazantsev studied, was the famous landscape painter Mikhail Klodt, whose influence can be clearly seen in the work of the Ural painter, especially in epic works. From the first days of his studies, Kazantsev discovered a passion for the landscape. And by the way, Kazantsev was lucky to work at a time when the landscape was taking the leading positions in the national fine arts.
His direct teacher was also the professor of landscape painting V. Orlovsky, the author of academic landscapes with genre motives. Beginning in 1883, Vladimir Kazantsev became a regular student of the academy, and began to take part in academic exhibitions. In the same year, Kazantsev presented a painting to the commission for which he was awarded the title of academic artist. And already in 1884, Vladimir Kazantsev received the title of free or extracurricular artist of the second degree for landscape painting.He took part in exhibitions, including traveling exhibitions, as well as the jubilee academic in Berlin in 1886.
Having successfully graduated from the Academy, Kazantsev travels a lot around Russia, capturing his admiration for natural landscapes in landscapes. And in 1891, Vladimir Gavrilovich was awarded the title of class artist of the first degree for his high achievements in painting, three years later he was elected an academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts.
Returning from a trip to the Urals in Russia, Vladimir Kazantsev continued to work on landscapes and constantly exhibited his works at exhibitions in Berlin, St. Petersburg, Kharkov, Odessa, Kazan, Yekaterinburg and Kiev.
“At the station. Winter morning on the Ural railway. "
This canvas is considered one of the most famous works of the Ural artist. It contains documentary and historical implications. In the 50s of the XIX century, there was a vital need to build railways across Siberia to the Great Ocean. In particular, work began on projects for the construction of the Ural railway, part of which was opened in 1878. Impressed by this epoch-making event, the artist painted his famous painting "At a Half-Station". Which also became one of the first industrial landscapes of the 19th century in Russia. It is no coincidence that this particular painting was acquired at an exhibition in St. Petersburg by V. Sukachev from Irkutsk, who, like all his fellow countrymen, dreamed of a railway for his native city. By the way, the first train arrived in Irkutsk only in 1898.
It should also be noted that the plot and the coloristic solution distinguish this work from all the works of the artist. As you can see, in a relatively small painting, Kazantsev masterfully managed to convey the feeling of the endless winter expanses of the Ural snowy winter. The azure high sky, illuminated by the rising sun, contrasts with the cold platform covered with snow. There is a strong frost and a kind of pacification. The station booth, buildings, small figures of people seemed to be frozen in a snowy space. The dynamism of the track is emphasized only by the railway rails running to the left of the viewer, and in the background a passenger train ready for dispatch.
It is known from biographical information that Vladimir Gavrilovich, in addition to working on paintings, directly participated in the wall painting of some buildings of railway stations under construction on the Ural railway.
It should be noted that the author received recognition and fame during his lifetime, his contemporaries unanimously declared that he was born a landscape painter. Kazantsev's creative path as an artist, although it lasted only two decades, but during this time the artist created a number of paintings and sketches, which are imbued with his thoughts, feelings and reverent attitude to the harsh beauty of the nature of the Ural region, as well as to its inhabitants.
Today, the picturesque and graphic heritage of Vladimir Gavrilovich is kept in museum and private collections. Most of it is in the Irkutsk Regional Art Museum. VP Sukachev, as well as in the art museum of the city of Poltava, where the artist lived and worked in the last years of his life.
By the way, the Kazantsevs' estate played a significant role in the cultural life of Yekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk) after the revolution. D.N. Mamin-Sibiryak. There was a theater within the walls of the house, and the wonderful garden was open to free visits. Writer D.N. Mamin-Sibiryak spoke about the work of Vladimir Gavrilovich:
Volodymyr Orlovsky, an outstanding Russian-Ukrainian landscape painter, can also be counted among the now almost forgotten painters. You can see the gallery of his works and find out about him in our publication: Why did they forget the "luminary of the Russian landscape" Orlovsky, who shared fame with Aivazovsky.