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Victor Borisov-Musatov biography

Facts about Victor Borisov-Musatov life & bio

Information on Wictor Borisov-Musatov life

Victor was born on April 14th 1870 in Saratov in Russia in the family of a minor railway official who was a serf earlier. (Victor added the name BORISOV later).

Owing to an injury caused to his back after a fall in his early childhood he had a humpback for the rest of his life. His artistic skills got encouragement from his understanding and tactful parents and also from his painter-teacher Konovalov.

Victor left his home in 1890 to join the Moscow School of painting, sculpture and architecture. Being dissatisfied with the traching at the Moscow School he left for St Petersburg. There he joined the Academy of Fine Arts to get better trainin. Victor was not comfortable with the conservative approach in the academics and hence joined the private school of Tchistyakov. He was a famous teacher at the Academy. The humid weather in St Petersburg started affecting Victor’s health forcing him to come back to the Moscow School.

Victor’s early works exhibited at a students’ function came under severe criticism for being decadent. Though the School showed its displeasure his friends had great admiration and sympathy for him. Along with his friends he formed a circle of young painters, of which he was the leader, bent upon developing newer methods in art.

Victor left for Paris in 1895 to hone his drawing skills at the school of Fernand Cormon, a mediocre painter of historical subjects. Cormon was a good teacher. His contact with contemporary French painting contributed much to his life and work. He felt that his artistic capabilities had widened.

He saw new vistas in his domain. He achieved what he had dreamt. He understood Impressionism in its pristine form. Berthe Morisov who did sunny paintings full of feminine tenderness appealed to him. From him Victor imbibed newer techniques of Impressionism and Neo-impressionism.

Victor was also attracted to the symbolists for their sincere poetic vision of the world. He held in great esteem Puvis de Chavannes, father of Symbolism. Puvis charmed All the young artists with his dream emotions and poetry. Victor saw Puvis’ works as a revival of monumental decorative painting and this attracted him all his life.

The summers of 1896 and 1897 he devoted to his studies. In his garden aside the Volga he painted nude pictures of small boys in shifting daylight hues. He also made several sketches of his younger sister. These were precursors of his later major works.

He returned to Russia in 1898 where he slipped into depression. Many cruel aspects of the surrounding reality affected him. He found a new spiritual world of pictures; a mix of fantasy and reality. Several European and Russian artists and poets at that time crept into their cocoons of euphoria. Victor abandoned oil painting and took to Tempera with water color and paste with great zeal.

By 1901 Victor’s talents bloomed fully. TAPESTRY was an important work of his in 1901. In this he created a world of his own. The young women in his works were a reflection of his sister. His works SPRING, TAPESTRY and LADY EMBROIDERING showed a relationship between Victor and World of Art Society. In 1902 he painted THE POOL. He himself considered THE POOL as his most important picture. The two young women depicted in this were his sister and his future wife Yelena Alexandrova. PHANTOM was another work of Victor. It showed women, tree and the house as a dream. He came closer to Russian Symbolism in this work.

For many years Victor was one of the most prominent organizers of the exhibitions of the Moscow Association of Artists. This organization was said to have brought together Victor’s followers: Pavel Kuznetsov, Peter Utkin, Alexander Matveyev, Martiros Saryan, Nikolai Sapunov and Sergei Sudekin. Though the press treated Victor skeptically the artists adored him. His contacts with St Petersburg painters Alexander Benois, Evgen, Lancareyand Diaghilov increased. Moscow symbolist poets Valery Briusov and Andrei Beliy were also among his admirers.

In Germany and France his pictures were widely exhibited and he was made a member of the society ,SALON de la SOCIETE des ARTISTES FRANCAISE. His financial situation was grim because his pictures were bought by art lovers only in the last two years of his life. His last work was REQUIEM. In this he comes closer to Symbolism in its mystical aspect. Victor died on October 26th,1905.

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