Abram Arkhipov – the singer of the Russian soul

Abram Arkhipov. After the rain. Canvas, oil. Rostov Regional Museum of Fine Arts, Rostov, Russia
After the rain. Canvas, oil. Rostov Regional Museum of Fine Arts, Rostov, Russia

Abram Efimovich Arkhipov (born August 27, 1862 – died September 25, 1930) – Russian artist-itinerant of the late XIX – early XX centuries. The subjects of Abram Arkhipov’s paintings were episodes from the life of ordinary peasants, depicted in unexpectedly rich colors. The artist’s work also includes poetic landscapes glorifying the unique beauty of northern nature.

Biography

Abram Arkhipov (real name – Pyrikov) is a native of the Ryazan region. He was born on August 27, 1862 in a poor family of peasants from the village of Egorovo. The boy had an interest in painting since childhood. His first teachers were local and visiting icon painters. Among them was a certain Zaikov, who turned out to be a volunteer at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. He helped the young man prepare for exams at this educational institution.

Abram Arkhipov. Along the Oka River. 1889. Oil on canvas, 41 x 77. Russia
Along the Oka River. 1889. Oil on canvas, 41 x 77. Russia

Abram Arkhipov since 1877 was a student at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, he mastered the basics of painting with the help of mentors:

  • Vasily Polenov (1844-1927);
  • Illarion Pryanishnikov (1840-1894); Vasily Perov (1833-1882);
  • Alexei Savrasov (1830-1897);
  • Vladimir Makovsky (1846-1920).

These artists were masters of realism, and the young painter began to create in this direction. In 1887 he was awarded a large silver medal for his work “Visiting the Sick”.

Arkhipov lived and worked in Moscow, but in the summer he invariably visited his small homeland, where he made rural sketches, depicted scenes from the life of peasants. In 1890 he met the Itinerants and began to actively participate in their exhibitions.

Abram Arkhipov. Birder. Canvas, oil. Museum-apartment of I.I. Brodsky's branch. Museum of the USSR Academy of Arts
Birder. Canvas, oil. Museum-apartment of I.I. Brodsky’s branch. Museum of the USSR Academy of Arts

The artist created his works in the open air: roads, endless meadows, open squares, illuminated by the rays of the sun, became his workshop. In the painter’s works, the landscape echoes human emotions.

Depicting genre scenes, Abram Arkhipov did not seek to convey active action, tense situations – the semantic load of his works is understandable through the environment.

Cell attendant. 1891 Oil on canvas. State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia
Cell attendant. 1891 Oil on canvas. State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

In the 1900s. Abram Efimovich was carried away by the harsh nature of the North, wrote a corresponding cycle of desolate colorful landscapes, imbued with sea motives. However, they still show the presence of a person: rickety houses near the coast, boat stations. The greatness of northern nature is presented by the master with a strict palette, but it contains an amazing variety of colors.

In the same period, the artist created radiant portraits of peasant women. These pieces are dominated by red and hot pink colors. Thanks to such a palette, Abram Arkhipov masterfully conveys the colorful clothes and jewelry of women, the national character.

Abram Arkhipov passed away on September 25, 1930 in the capital due to cancer.

Abram Arkhipov. In the workshop of masks. Canvas, oil. State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
In the workshop of masks. Canvas, oil. State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

The most famous paintings by Abram Arkhipov

Abram Arkhipov’s paintings are original and colorful. The artist honestly painted scenes from the life of the people, but he did it without drama, easily and lightly.

Abram Arkhipov. Gangway. Canvas, oil. Museum-apartment of I.I. Brodsky.
Gangway. Canvas, oil. Museum-apartment of I.I. Brodsky.

The following outstanding works deserve attention:

“Along the Oka River” (1889) – the master depicted a barge with peasants on canvas. Although they look tired and sad, they have not lost their faith. This sensation is supported by warm sunlight.

“On the Volga” (1889) – in the picture the author harmoniously combines a genre scene with a lyrical landscape. The gloomy palette of boats is compensated by the light colors of the dawn, as a symbol of hope and future joy.

“Laundresses” (1901) – the plot arose as a result of an accidental visit by a master of one of the laundries in Moscow. Abram Arkhipov faithfully recreated the hard work of women, while demonstrating in his work the generalization of form, avoiding detail, he wrote with broad strokes.

“Girl with a Jug” (1927) is a work from a series of portraits of Russian peasant beauties in red, an important part of the artist’s creative heritage. The open and at the same time modest appearance of the heroine personifies the whole essence of the Russian soul.

North village. Canvas, oil. State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia
North village. Canvas, oil. State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia
Abram Arkhipov. North Sea. Oil on canvas 71 x 90. Tula Museum of Fine Arts. Tula, Russia
North Sea. Oil on canvas 71 x 90. Tula Museum of Fine Arts. Tula, Russia
Abram Arkhipov. Peasant Woman in Pink. 1910th. Oil on canvas 89 x 68
Peasant Woman in Pink. 1910th. Oil on canvas 89 x 68
Abram Arkhipov. On the Volga. 1889. Oil on canvas 36 x 58. State Russian Museum. St. Petersburg. Russia
On the Volga. 1889. Oil on canvas 36 x 58. State Russian Museum. St. Petersburg. Russia
Radonitsa (Before Mass). 1892. Oil on canvas, 58 x 114
Radonitsa (Before Mass). 1892. Oil on canvas, 58 x 114
Abram Arkhipov. Peasant women on the banks of the Volga. Canvas, oil
Peasant women on the banks of the Volga. Canvas, oil
Abram Arkhipov. Radonitsa (Before Mass)
Radonitsa (Before Mass)
Return trip. 1896 Oil on canvas.
Return trip. 1896 Oil on canvas.
Visiting the Sick. 1885. Oil on canvas State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia
Visiting the Sick. 1885. Oil on canvas State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia
The ice has passed. 1895. Oil on canvas 70 x 136
The ice has passed. 1895. Oil on canvas 70 x 136
Woman in red. 1919
Woman in red. 1919
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