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Inventor, adventurer, prophet and "talent" Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin: 10 most interesting facts from the artist's life
Inventor, adventurer, prophet and "talent" Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin: 10 most interesting facts from the artist's life
Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin is a famous Russian artist

Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin - a unique artist who worked at the junction of two eras, whom his contemporaries called "an ancient Russian icon painter who, by chance, fell into the future." The painter's works were not only a reflection of the present, but also prophesied the future, and also caused fierce opposition of opinions and assessments - from enthusiastic praise to contemptuous ridicule.

1. The history of the origin of the surname of the famous artist

Self-portrait. Author: K.S. Petrov-Vodkin

Kuzma Sergeevich's grandfather was at one time also a celebrity, famous for his irrepressible addiction to alcohol. The whole city knew the story of how grandfather Peter, having stabbed his wife with a cutting knife, himself died within a few hours. But the city of Khvalynsk also knew well Kuzma's father, who was an excellent shoemaker, and, moreover, he did not drink at all.

And all the descendants of that same grandfather Peter, a lover of "little white", were called "Petrovs", then "Vodkins". And in the end, the two nicknames were combined into one surname Petrov-Vodkin. And Kuzma Sergeevich, the imprint of this not too honorable surname, had to bear all his life.

The Red Horseman. Author: K.S. Petrov-Vodkin

2. The first test of the brush of a young talent

From childhood, Kuzma was a notable inventor and dreamer, he could come up with such believable stories that everyone around was amazed. And once in the pantry he caught sight of pots of oil paint and a piece of tinplate, on which the first landscape was painted by a young talent. Baba Arina, seeing the creation of her grandson, took it with the words: “We will put this on the grave of Grandfather Fyodor. He will have a memory of you as well”.

Vasya. (1916). Author: K.S. Petrov-Vodkin

The following work was painted for a special occasion. Somehow Kuzma swam almost to the middle of the Volga, and back - he did not have enough strength. By chance, the drowning Kuzma was rescued by the carrier Ilya Zakharov, who drowned a week later, saving some poor fellow. And then the boy took a tin plate and drew a boat swaying on the waves, the heads of drowning people, the sky and zigzags of lightning, and in the corner he signed: “Who died for others! Eternal memory to you!”. So Kuzma first showed himself in the art of painting.

3. Failed icon painter

While still a student of a four-year city school, the young man met two local icon painters. And watching with interest how icons were created, Kuzma tried to paint the holy image with oil paints himself. But the priest did not accept his icon:. This work of Kuzma, of course, did not survive, and later he turned to this image more than once.

Petrograd Madonna. (1918). Author: K.S. Petrov-Vodkin

4. Providence of fate

Mother's portrait. Author: K.S. Petrov-Vodkin

The artist's mother was a maid in the house of the Kazaryin merchants, and once she managed to show the drawings of her gifted son to the architect Meltzer, which interested him very much. Soon the architect took Kuzma to St. Petersburg, where he began to study at the Central School of Technical Drawing. And the same Kazaryins paid for study and accommodation - 25 rubles a month.

In 1897, Petrov-Vodkin moved to Moscow and entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, where he was taught by Valentin Serov.

Petrov-Vodkin Kuzma Sergeevich (1878-1939)

5. The great adventurer: "The rich is cunning for money, and the need for inventions."

Self-portrait. Author: K.S. Petrov-Vodkin

The adventurism of Petrov-Vodkin knew no bounds. While studying in Moscow, Kuzma had to go on vacation to his native Khvalynsk. And that was when some of his fellow practitioners went abroad for sketches.

And then one day, during a regular vacation in one of the Moscow newspapers, Kuzma read that the publishing house had promised to pay for a trip to Europe for someone who dared to "get from Moscow to Paris on a new fashionable means of transportation - a two-wheeled bicycle." Kuzma incited his friend Vladimir Sorokhtin on this adventure, and they set off on a long journey.

To Europe by bike

He and a friend traveled the way from Moscow to Warsaw in 12 days, which is 100 miles a day. Worn in blood hands and feet, a broken bike could not stop the brave guys. They got to Germany, alternating between themselves: either by train or by bicycle. And I had to forget about Paris for now.

Many Russian novice artists studied at the famous drawing school of Anton Ashbe in Munich: Bilibin, Grabar, Kandinsky. And Kuzma was again lucky: new friends raised some money for him, which was enough for a couple of months of classes and for a return ticket to Russia.

6. An artist from the hinterland of Russia and a Parisian woman Mara Jovanovitch

"Portrait of MF Petrova-Vodkina". (1906). Author: K.S. Petrov-Vodkin

But the artist was able to get to Paris only after five years. Kuzma was so eager to this city as if he knew that he would meet his love there. Indeed, this journey completely changed his life. Having barely met the daughter of the owner of an inexpensive boarding house, Mara, the 27-year-old artist first proposes to paint her portrait, and then his hand and heart.

Kuzma Sergeevich and Maria Fedorovna. Paris. 1908 year

In the fall of 1906, the newlyweds, having signed at the mayor's office, celebrated their civil wedding. For some time they lived in Paris, and before leaving for Russia, Kuzma Sergeevich still managed to visit North Africa, about which he later told so many fables that the audience did not even believe that he was there at all. he wrote touching lines from distant Africa:

The Petrov-Vodkin family

At thirty-seven years old, Maria Feodorovna will give birth to a daughter, Lenochka. And Kuzma Sergeevich himself, beside himself with happiness, will declare:

"Family portrait (Self-portrait with wife and daughter)". (1933). Author: K.S. Petrov-Vodkin

7. "Talent …"

Even Ilya Repin, who was democratically condescending to artists from the people, when he first saw the painting of Petrov-Vodkin, did not favor the newcomer much, but tried to prick the “cook's son” more painfully:. But only a few years will pass, and in 1912, at the show of the famous painting "Bathing the Red Horse", the same Ilya Efimovich, having changed his opinion about Petrov-Vodkin, declared: "Talent …".

Bathing the Red Horse. (1912). Author: K.S. Petrov-Vodkin

8. The gift of prophecy

Petrov-Vodkin became famous for his extraordinary gift of prophecy. In his life there were many amazing cases when a passing phrase became prophetic. In 1918, after completing work on the canvas "Herring", he was laughed at by his colleagues:. In response, he only grumbled:. But before the blockade of Leningrad there were 23 years left, and he, as it were, had already seen this blockade in his mind's eye.

Herring (1918). Author: K.S. Petrov-Vodkin

9. Petrov-Vodkin - writer

In 1929, it happened that doctors forbade Kuzma Sergeevich to work with paints. Tuberculosis, which he had been suffering from for a dozen years, began to progress, and the fumes of the paints exacerbated the disease. The artist, worn out from inaction, decides to try his luck as a writer. He will write two autobiographical novels in one fell swoop: "Khlynovsk" and "Euclid's Space" and will try to submit them to the publishing house. But Maxim Gorky will hack to death the writing talent of Petrov-Vodkin:. And since Gorky was considered an indisputable authority, the doors of all publishing houses immediately closed for Kuzma.

Self-portrait. Author: K.S. Petrov-Vodkin

10. Relationship with Soviet power

Petrov-Vodkin from the first days of the revolutionary events was an active participant in the artistic life of the country of the Soviets. He devoted a lot of effort to teaching, the development of a new theory of painting. And for his work in 1930 he was awarded the title of Honored Artist of the RSFSR.

When Kuzma Sergeevich was gone, the Soviet government, suddenly realizing that the origins of his work lay in icon painting and French symbolism, noticeably lost interest in his artistic heritage.

Tombstone of Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin

And the famous painting "Bathing the Red Horse" ended up in Malmo (Sweden) and was returned to Russia only at the end of the 40s.And thanks to the diligence of the artist's widow, this famous canvas was restored and transferred to the Tretyakov Gallery.

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