23 december 1999—14 march 2000
Exhibition of works by outstanding Russian artist Yury Vasnetsov (1900-1973) was timed to his 100th birthday. In exposition were presented around 300 works created by the master in various genres and kinds of fine art: painting, book and easel painting, prints and unique porcelain.
His creative way Y. A. Vasnetsov began in 1921 when he entered the painting department of the Higher State Free Art Workshops (the former Academy of Arts). Here in 1921-1926 he was taught by A. Rylov, V. Savinsky, Cezannist O. Braz, Russian Impressionist A. Karaev and was mastering with K. Petrov-Vodkin's spherical perspective. More than anything Vasnetsov was interested in V. Matyushin's painting system who color with space and movement. From 1926 to 1928 Vasnetsov was studying cubism under K. Malevich's direction in the Leningrad State Institute of Artistic Culture and in 1926 - 1932 he continued post-graduate studies lead by V. Lebedev in the Academy of Art. Versatile interests allowed the young artist to enter circle of searches of contemporary national and latest Western painting.
The main trend of creative searches of Y. Vasnetsov was interaction of professional art with folk art and formation his own original style in this complicated process. Idea of turning to fine art folklore, town (bourgeois) culture was literally in the air in the beginning of the 20th century and many famous masters realized it. The artist often told of influence of his children impressions on his work. Vyatka citizens (Vyatichi) were famous by their crafts: bright painting of trunks, handicraft furniture, lace weaving, wares from birch. Vasnetsov liked them very much and made up his own collection with these articles.
Vasnetsov's painting (mainly landscape and still-life) is distinguished by its dynamism in searching of expressive means. It was very characteristic for works of the late period where the artist has achieved difficult color harmony and used various methods of texture painting in one work.
Vasnetsov was constantly occupied with painting though he didn't show his works during his lifetime as he not without reason feared that formal technical tasks he was interested in would not put down the construction of ideologized Soviet art. That is why in consciousness of several generations the artist's name is strictly associated with illustrations to Russian tales and colorful lubok (cheap popular pint) plates.
For the first time Vasnetsov turned to print in the end of 1930s, when on the base of Leningrad department of the Artists' Union was organized the Experimental lithographic workshop. In the end of 1920s there was published by Gosizdat the first children book with the artist's drawings. Classical style of Vasnetsov's illustrations was not formed at once. Only in 1940s their image, space, plastic and color way was defined.
In 1966 Yury Vasnetsov was conferred the rank of the People's Artist of the RSFSR. It sounds almost symbolical. In his face Russian art has a master of deep national character who managed to put in his individual work centuries-old traditions of his people's culture.
On the exhibition were presented the main stages of formation and evolution of the artist's painting system - apprenticeship period, travelling with artist N. Kostrov to the White Sea in 1931, the Great Patriotic War and the last, the so-called Roshino period of the master's work (1960-1972).