Ilya Glazunov: history and modernity – two facets of creativity

Ilya Glazunov paints a portrait of Gina Lollobrigida in Rome.
Ilya Glazunov paints a portrait of Gina Lollobrigida in Rome.

Ilya Sergeevich Glazunov is a famous Russian artist of the XX-XXI centuries, an outstanding teacher, winner of numerous awards. The biography of Ilya Glazunov covers different eras in the life of the country. The master’s work is multifaceted, it includes landscapes, portraits, still lifes, works in the nude genre. But the most famous are the monumental paintings of the painter, where historical and religious themes are intertwined.

Eternal Russia
Eternal Russia

Biography

Ilya Glazunov is a native of Leningrad. He was born on June 10, 1930 in an intelligent family: his father was a history teacher at Leningrad State University, and his maternal grandfather was an imperial state councilor. The boy received an appropriate upbringing: from a young age he visited the Hermitage, got acquainted with classical music, biographies of Russian rulers.

Ilya Glazunov became a student of the art school at an early age, after which he studied at an art school. However, the Great Patriotic War began, the boy had a chance to survive the blockade, the death of loved ones. The paternal uncle managed to transport his nephew to the rear along the “Road of Life”. Glazunov found himself near Novgorod in the village of Greblo. He returned to his hometown in 1944, where he continued to study painting. And in 1951, the future master entered the LIZHSA them. Ilya Repin.

Ilya Glazunov with Vladimir Putin
Ilya Glazunov with Vladimir Putin

The artist’s early works glorified the beauty of his native land, he created sketches on lyrical themes. In 1956, Ilya Glazunov received first prize in an international competition held in Prague. After graduating from the institute, the painter was sent to Izhevsk, where he began to teach at a regular school. Soon Glazunov achieved a transfer to the city of Ivanovo, and later to the capital. In 1957, his first exposition took place in the Moscow Central House of Art Workers. Some of the paintings were made in an academic manner, while others showed the features of impressionism.

In 1958 Ilya Glazunov met Sergei Mikhalkov. The popular Soviet poet supported the young talent, and soon the artist was already painting portraits of celebrities and party leaders. The master visited abroad, where he also captured with his brush politicians, actors, writers.

Ilya Glazunov Roads of War
Ilya Glazunov Roads of War

In 1964, Ilya Glazunov organized an exhibition again, this time at the Manege. In 1967, the painter became a member of the Union of Artists of the USSR, published an autobiographical book. Glazunov illustrated works of Russian classics, created portraits of historical figures.

At the end of the 70s. of the last century, the master began to work on large-scale works that brought him worldwide fame. 1980 he received the title of People’s Artist of the USSR, and in 1987 he was awarded the title of People’s Artist of the USSR.

In the 90s. the artist was engaged in restoration work in the Kremlin Palace, was awarded the State Prize of Russia. In 2004, an art gallery of Ilya Glazunov was opened in Moscow. Always taking an active public position, in 2012 the painter became a confidant of the Russian president. Among the numerous awards of the master, the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, which he received four times, twice he was honored with an award from the Russian Orthodox Church. In 2017, the Museum of Estates was opened in Moscow, where an entire wing was dedicated to the work of Glazunov. A minor planet was named in his honor.

Mystery of the 20th century
Mystery of the 20th century

The master painted pictures until his death. Due to heart problems, Ilya Glazunov left this world on July 9, 2017.

The most famous paintings by Ilya Glazunov

The artist left behind more than one thousand wonderful works of painting. Among the most famous paintings by Ilya Glazunov are the following:

  • “Roads of War” (1985) – the retreat of the Red Army in 1941 is recreated on the canvas. The artist presented the first version of the work in his student years as a diploma work, the plot aroused the indignation of teachers. The painting was later destroyed and painted again decades later.
  • “Eternal Russia” (1988) – great Russians appear before the audience: saints, writers, rulers, commanders, scientists. Here, on the right side, on a team of horses, are those who made the revolution. The history of the eternal country is shown as an endless procession of the people, a procession of the cross.
  • “The Great Experiment” (1990) – the fate of Russia in the twentieth century is crossed out by a bloody pentagram. In its center is Lenin with his henchmen. The crying face of Christ gazes at what is happening.
  • “The Destruction of the Church on Easter Night” (1999) – the work again presents the image of crucified Russia. Tragic events take place against the backdrop of biblical stories.

Ilya Glazunov made a great contribution to Russian culture. Many consider his paintings to be masterpieces, although there are those who perceive them critically. In any case, it is difficult to remain indifferent to the artist’s work.

Prince Oleg and Igor
Prince Oleg and Igor
Roads of War (1985)
Roads of War (1985)
The Destruction of the Church on Easter Night
The Destruction of the Church on Easter Night
The Great Experiment 1990
The Great Experiment 1990
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