Soviet sculptor Sergey Orlov
In the history of Russian art Soviet sculptor Sergey Orlov (1911-1971) came as a master of sculpture of small forms and the author of monumental works that have become classics of Russian culture of the twentieth century – Yury Dolgoruky monument in Moscow and Athanasius Nikitin in Kalinin (now – Tver). Sergey Orlov was born in St. Petersburg. In 1918, fleeing from hunger, his family moved to Vologda, where the future artist spent his childhood and adolescence. In 1929 Orlov came to Moscow with the intention to learn, but failed to enter the Art Institute. Despite everything, he decided to stay in the capital. Help came from the staff of the Museum of Ceramics, who noticed the talent in a young man and gave him a job in this museum. Soon, in practice, visiting Dmitrov porcelain factory, he learned all the details of ceramic production.
The result of almost a half-century of activity of Sergei Mikhailovich – huge artistic heritage: small plastic easel and monumental sculpture, paintings and drawings. The work of the early period and years of maturity of the artist follows a tradition of national culture: folk ceramics, porcelain and Russian faience of late XIX – early XX century. Orlov’s first plastic compositions: “Forest conversation”, “Fight”, which the author himself called fantasies or fantastic jokes.
The works of his mature period include brilliant series “Circus”. Inspired by Russian folk tales he created beautiful compositions of porcelain – “Humpbacked Horse”, “Ilya Muromets and Nightingale the Robber,” “The Tale of the Golden Fish” and many others. It should be noted that they are not made in the traditional way of molding and clung directly from the china clay that before S.M.Orlov nobody did.
Postwar years can not be called a time, favorable to the development of Russian small plastics. Loss of its utilitarian functions, focus on Statutory lead to the development of so-called “armchair” sculpture, often repeating patterns of monumental sculpture. It was during this period S.M.Orlov realizes himself as sculptor monumentalist. He is the author of the compositions for the pavilions of the Exhibition Center, Moscow State University and Moscow metro.
Relying on the best traditions of the world and national classics, he creates monuments that have become not only an integral part of the urban ensemble, it is stylistically and emotionally organizing link, but the milestones in the history of monumental sculpture of the country. As a result of the announced competition for the monument to Yuri Dolgoruky was recognized as the best project of Orlov. Work on the monument began in the summer of 1947 and lasted for six years. June 6, 1953 was a solemn ceremony of opening a new monument, which became at once one of the most popular monuments adorning our capital. In 1954, the sculptor was elected a corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Arts.
In the spring of 1955 Orlov was asked to work on the monument to explorer Afanasy Nikitin. Sculptor immediately found a good solution figures depicting Nikitin in traveling dress, bare-headed, reaching calm and resolute step. The monument was completed in an extremely short period of time – three months – and another creative success of the sculptor. Located in the city center, on the high bank of the Volga, it organizes all the adjacent part of the waterfront and is the dominant feature of the new square.
Laureate of the State Prize in 1946, winner of the silver medal of the World Exhibition in Brussels (1958), Sergey Orlov in 1968 was awarded the title of People’s Artist of the RSFSR. The master’s works are in the collections of major museums in our country.
SM Orlov died on November 18, 1971 in Moscow