Kuzma Sergeevich Petrov Vodkin

Early years

Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin was born in the lower middle-class family of a shoe maker. His first exposure to art was in his early childhood, when he befriended a couple of icon makers and a freelance painter. Still, Petrov-Vodkin didn't quite see himself in art at that time; after graduating from middle school, he took a summer job at a small shipyard with plans to get into railroad college in Samara. After failing his exam, he turned to "Art Classes of Fedor Burov" in 1893.
In April 1895, Burov died and for some time Petrov-Vodkin took different painter jobs in the regions. By chance, his mother's employee invited a well-known architect, R. Meltzer. Petrov-Vodkin was introduced to the guest and impressed him enough to get an invitation to study art at Saint Petersburg. The education was financed by a charity among local merchants.
Petrov-Vodkin stayed in Saint Petersburg from 1895 to 1897, before moving to the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Petrov-Vodkin was a student of Valentin Serov, another famous Russian painter. In 1901, he took classes in Munich. He graduated in 1904.

Beginning of independent work (1899-1912)

The iconic work of Petrov-Vodkin - "Bathing of a Red Horse".Even during his college years, Petrov-Vodkin managed to have a conflict with the Russian Orthodox Church, which discarded his work on a chapel in Samara and ultimately destroyed it as unacceptable. Some of his early works were deemed too erotic. His first really well-known work was Dream (1910), which sparked a discussion among contemporary Russian artists. A main proponent of the painting was Alexandre Benois, and his main opponent - Ilya Repin (thus, the painting was discussed by two major Russian painters of the time). Other major works of that time include Boys, and, most notably, Bathing of a Red Horse. The latter became an instant classic, and, in a sense, trademark for the artist and a conclusion for the period.
During this stage in his artistic development, Petrov-Vodkin extensively used an aesthetic of Orthodox icon together with brighter colours and unusual compositions. His works were often deemed blasphemous and erotic (sometimes even homoerotic).

Maturity (1912-1928)

During his earlier years, Petrov-Vodkin developed his "spherical perspective": a unique twist that distorted the drawing as to represent the viewer high enough to actually notice the spherical curve of the globe. He used it extensively through his works like Death of a Comissary and On the Line of Fire, which make the observer seem more distant, but actually close. It is argued that this twist has been built upon Byzantine perspective - an inverted perspective used in iconography.
Petrov-Vodkin used darker tones with time, but his paintings became more detailed. He started painting still life and portraits, stepping further away from his previous themes. With help from the Soviet government, he made several trips across the Soviet Union, producing many works with didactic purposes.

Later years (1928-1937)

In 1928, Petrov-Vodkin got ill and had to abandon painting for several years. He turned to literature ant wrote two major volumes, Khvalynsk and Euclid's Space. The return to painting was not so spectacular: his sketch became caricature-like, and his sujects turned satirical - although this is usually ascribed to the suffocating atmosphere provoked by Joseph Stalin through the Great Purge. Most notable among works of this period is 1919. Alarm. (1934), which basically displays the uneasyness of the time.


Until mid-1960s, Petrov-Vodkin was nearly forgotten in the Soviet Union as not true to the spirit of Socialist Realism. However, during the time of Nikita Khrushchev he was rediscovered and rightfully reinstalled as one of the major Russian painters.

Text From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - fantasy 1925
fantasy 1925
kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - bathing the red horse 1912
bathing the red horse 1912

kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin self portrait painting
kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - self portrait
kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin self portrait 1921
kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - self portrait

kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - 1918
kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - 1918

kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - 1913
kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - 1920

kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - alarm
kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - spring 1935
spring - 1935

kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - 1915
kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - 1926

kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - Boys playing
Boys playing
kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - Thirsty Warrior
Thirsty Warrior

kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - 1910
kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - boy 1921
boy - 1921

kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - samovar 1926
samovar- 1926
kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - after the battle 1923
after the battle - 1923

kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - on the line of fire
on the line of fire
kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - dream

kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - portrait of a young boy
portrait of a young boy
kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - portrait

kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - sleeping child 1924
sleeping child - 1924
kuzma sergeevich petrov vodkin - portrait of vladimir ilyich
portrait of vladimir ilyich

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