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Arkhip Kuindzhi

Russian landscape painter Arkhip Kuindzhi (1841-1910) was born in January 1841 in Mariupol (Ukraine), but he spent his youth in the city of Taganrog. He grew up in a poor family, and his father was a Greek shoemaker. Arkhip was six years old when he lost his parents, so that he was forced to make his living, working at the church building site, grazing domestic animals, and working at the corn merchant's shop. During five years, from 1860 to 1865, Arkhip Kuindzhi worked as retoucher in the photo studio of Isakovich in Taganrog. Kuindzhi tried to open his own photographer's studio, but without success. After that Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi left Taganrog for Saint Petersburg.

He studied painting mainly independently and in Saint Petersburg Academy of arts (from 1868; the full member since 1893). He was co-partner of mobile art exhibitions or "Peredvizhniki" ("The Wanderers"), a group of Russian realist artists who in protest to academic restrictions formed an artists' cooperative, which evolved into the Society for Traveling Art Exhibitions in 1870. During early period Kuinzhy felt Ivan Aivazovsky's influence. In 1872 the artist left Academy and worked as a freelance. The panting "Na ostrove Valaam" ("On the Valaam Island") was the first artwork, which Pavel Tretyakov acquired for his art gallery. In 1873, Kuindzhi exhibited his new painting "The Snow", which received the bronze medal at the International Art Exhibition in London in 1874. In the middle of 1870's he created a number of paintings in which the landscape motive was designed for concrete social associations in spirit of Peredvizhniki ("Forgotten village", 1874; "Chumatski path", 1875; both - in Tretyakov gallery).

In his mature period Kuindzhi aspired to transfer the most expressive on illumination of a condition of the nature. He applied composite receptions (high horizon, etc.), allowing creation of panoramic views. Using light effects and the intensive colors shown to several main tones, he achieved almost full illusion of illumination ("The Ukrainian night", 1876; "Birchwood", 1879; "After a thunder-storm", 1879; all three are in Tretyakov Gallery; "Night on Dnepr", 1880 in Russian museum, St.Petersburg). His later works are remarkable by decorative effects of color building. He lectured at the Saint Petersburg Academy of Arts (Professor in 1892; since 1894 Professor-Head of landscape workshop; but he was fired in 1897 for support of student's protests). Among his students were such great artists as: L.A. Rylov, Nicholas Roerich, K.F. Bogaevsky, and others. Kuindzhi initiated creation of the Society of artists (1909; later - the Society named after A.I. Kuindzhi).

Taganrog Museum of Art (located on Ulitsa Alexandrovskaya 56) houses a collection of Arkhip Kuindzhi art, including "Raduga" ("Rainbow") and "Volni" ("Waves") and the sketch "Zabitaya Derevnya" ("The Forgotten Village").

Viktor Vasnetsov. Portrait of artist Arkhip Kuindzhi. 1869. Oil on canvas, 46*36 Tretyakov Gallery

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