Tatiana Plastova


Tatiana Plastova

#4 2018 (61)

“Bathing the Horses” is one of the most important works that Arkady Plastov (1893-1972) accomplished in the decade of the 1930s. Created for the 1938 “Exhibition on the 20th Anniversary of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army”, it was effectively a commissioned work, but nevertheless remains one of the most genuine and honest paintings of its period. Like the artist’s “Harvest Feast”, it reflects Plastov’s almost instantaneous evolution into a master of painting in oil. The story of the painting, along with its creator’s quest to capture its artistic quintessence, is particularly relevant for understanding the foundation and development of Plastov’s artistic vocabulary in the late 1930s.


Tatiana Plastova
Arkady Plastov. Reading Tolstoy

#1 2016 (50)

"Reading Tolstoy" is the first exhibition of Arkady Plastov's art to bring together almost all of his works dedicated to Leo Tolstoy and Tolstoy's literary heritage. In November 2015 the Leo Tolstoy Museum in Moscow, the Tretyakov Gallery and members of the artist's family contributed works to the show in the Tolstoy Centre Museum in Moscow.


Tatiana Plastova
The Call of the Future

#4 2012 (37)

For nearly 50 years the Chernyshev-Gorsky family has played a vital role in the Russian visual arts. In 1969 Dmitry Zhilinsky, a student and associate of Nikolai Chernyshev, painted “The Artist’s Family. The Chernyshevs” (Russian Museum), and a year later “The Chernyshev Family” (Tretyakov Gallery), thus completing the family’s image. He wrote of the works: “I imagined all the Chernyshevs walking in an autumnal forest. Nikolai Mikhailovich, in profile, against Antonina Alexandrovna, full-face; further on, young oak trees, branching out, and between them the trio: daughters Katerina and Natasha, and son-in-law Andrei Gorsky. To the left, grandson Kolenka hopping around like a grasshopper, daughter Polina to the right, behind the trees. The composition and the colour seem to have been decided. A golden autumnal background. Chernyshev in a light-coloured raincoat, nearly weightless. Behind him, Antonina Alexandrovna, serious and close to the earth, stands quietly, holding a bunch of autumnal flowers. He is narrow and light-coloured – an incarnation of spirit; she is wide, quiet, beautiful – his support.”1 Many years later, in the picture “Paths of Childhood” by Nikolai Chernyshev’s grandson Nikolai Gorsky-Chernyshev, this chain of times would be looped back: the boy (Kolenka from the Zhilinsky painting) running along the road to a church and Nikolai and Antonina, supporting each other as they walk behind him, embody that continuous, endless road of spiritual quest which the members of this admirable Russian family have been treading for a century.


Tatyana Plastova
The Plastovs - A Family of Artists

#4 2011 (33)

The Plastovs are an ancient Russian family. Their ancestors, many of whom were priests, lived in the Arzamas region. Legend has it that one of the Plastovs was a cleric in an area populated by the Mordvins (the Erzya people). Their family surname then was Sinitsyn, and among them was, in the late 18th-early 19th centuries a certain Vasily Sinitsyn, a deacon fond of painting. One of the Sinitsyn family was an apprentice with the icon painter Plastov – he painted icons with the artist travelling from village to village. When his mentor died, the apprentice took his family name: at first he was called Plastov the apprentice, and then simply Plastov. The first family member about whom anything is reliably known is Gavrila Stepanovich Plastov (1801-c.1843), whose father is known to have been a cleric. Gavrila studied at (but did not graduate from) a seminary in Kazan. He also studied at an art school in Arzamas founded in 1802 by the painter Alexander Stupin. Founded on academic principles (Stupin himself had studied at the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg), the school had a curriculum combining professional education with a large range of general subjects and was endorsed by the Academy. The school placed a special emphasis on teaching icon painting.


Tatiana Plastova
Arkady Plastov. Portraits of the Artist

#4 2010 (29)

And never for a single moment
Betray your credo or pretend,
But be alive – this only matters –
Alive and burning to the end.

Boris Pasternak

The verse of the great Russian poet of the 20th century can be seen as an epigraph to the destinies of the generation of Russians who grew up with and came of age together with the 20th century. For all the differences in their life stories, Boris Pasternak and Arkady Plastov were contemporaries in the deepest sense of the word: if for nothing else, they were connected by the fact that Leonid Pasternak – the poetʼs father – taught Plastov at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.




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