Yakovlevich Golovin

Russia • 1863−1930

Alexander Yakovlevich Golovin (March 1, 1863, Moscow - April 17, 1930, Children's Village (now Pushkin)) - Russian and Soviet artist, set designer, decorator, master of portrait and still life.

Features of the artist Alexander Golovin: Numerous theatrical works created by Golovin for Meyerhold, Dyagilev and the Imperial Mariinsky Theater were always distinguished by color and ornamental decor, and were imbued with the symbolism of the Silver Age. Contemporaries called his scenographic solutions "music for the eyes", each production had its own color mood and completeness of scenery and costume solutions. Golovin was a multifaceted artist: he could build a suit, paint fabrics, design furniture and create a ceramic panel. He also created a number of portraits of his friends, colleagues, and prominent theatrical figures. His wonderful still lifes with porcelain and flowers demonstrate mastery brush in the image of various textures and surfaces.

Famous paintings by artist Alexander Golovin: Portrait of the actor Fedor Ivanovich Shalyapin as Boris Godunov, Portrait VE Meyerhold, "Porcelain and flowers", "Silver willows", "Umbrian Valley", Portrait of artist N. K. Roerich, "Spaniard in a black shawl".

Botany, gymnasium, Shakespeare
Alexander Golovin was born in the family of a Moscow priest. When the boy was three years old, Professor Yakov Danilovich Golovin was appointed abbot of the temple and teacher of theology at the Petrovsky Agricultural and Forestry Academy. The family moved closer to the arrival of his father, in Petrovsko-Razumovskoye, surrounded by beautiful gardens and parks. As Alexander Yakovlevich himself recalled, Academy Director Nikolai Zheleznov became the discoverer of his artistic talents, who often visited them. Being a botanist, Zheleznov in painting understood something - his brother Andrei Zheleznov was a portrait painter, a student of Karl Bryullov.

In due course, Alexander Golovin entered the Katkovsky Lyceum, and after his father's death, he was transferred to the Polivanovsky Gymnasium. Here, in the famous for all Moscow school, not only well taught, but also loved to put Shakespeare plays. Add to this an absolute ear for music and a talent for drawing - and it will become clear from where Golovin’s vocation for theatrical scenography has grown.

In the circle of "Polenovtsy"
In 1881, Alexander Golovin entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. The architectural department did not impress him, and three years later he transferred to the picturesque one. Here he metLevitan and Korovinmade friends withNesterov and Arkhipov. Korovin introduced him Vrubel. Genre painting Golovin taughtHilarion the Pryanishnikov and Vladimir Makovsky. But the professor’s favorite teacher was Vasily Polenovwho was not only a teacher of future geniuses of Russian painting, but also their mentor, and, one might say, spiritual father. Communicating with "Polenovtsy", Golovin met the sister of his teacher, a talented artist Elena Polenovawhich has dedicated its life to teaching. Elena Polenova took care of Golovin and his friend Yeghishe Tadevosyan, traveled with them on sketches and in every way directed in search of her way in painting.

Urgent works
In 1884, mother Golovin died. Left with virtually no funds, Alexander took on a variety of orders. He painted satin fabrics, designed furniture and interior items, made majolica panels and various ceramic products together with the participants of the Abramtsevo art circle, and, of course, engaged in easel painting. His college nickname "frantik", mock panache and dupe are in the past. Nevertheless, money was found for a trip to Paris: in 1889, together with his Polenovites friends, Golovin went to the World Exhibition, where, together with Konstantin Korovin, he participated in the design of the Russian Pavilion of handicrafts. And, like many, he fell under the charm of the newest trends in French painting, which he studied for some time at the Kolarossi Academy and the Vitti Studio School.

Returning to Moscow, Golovin began to actively apply his knowledge in practice, which was noticed in art circles: after a while one of his works acquired for his gallery Pavel Tretyakov. The picture, the other, the third found their buyers - Golovin became a little easier with finances. In 1897, the artist made a marriage proposal for Maria Konstantinovna Kotova - and received consent. The wedding was played in September. Two daughters were born in marriage - Helen and Maria, and son Alexander. Alas, family happiness did not last long, and soon the family fell apart.

Decorator of the Moscow Bolshoi Theater
In the autumn of 1898, Elena Polenova, a kind friend and mentor Golovin, passed away. And if it were not for the invitation to work at the Bolshoi Theater - how to know where Golovin would bring sorrow and suffering. However, his new chief, head of the Moscow office of the Imperial Theaters, Vladimir Arkadyevich Telyakovsky, pinned great hopes on the young artists Korovin and Golovin. Besides, Vasily Polenov and Viktor Vasnetsov. Golovin debuted successfully, having designed the opera “Ice House”; that was when the three years spent at the architecture department of the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture were useful. The following year, Golovin designed ballet and opera performances, including Mermaid, Swan Lake, Boris Godunov, demonstrating a deep understanding of the folk art of Ancient Russia, as well as knowledge of national traditions and stunning color solutions.

Golovin does not leave the Abramtsevo circle that became close to him: from 1898 to 1901, by order of the organizer of the circle, philanthropist and industrialist Savva Mamontov, the artist performs a number of ceramic panels in the Art Nouveau style that now adorn the Moscow Metropol hotel. Great work on the main facade - "Princess of Dreams" - done by Mikhail Vrubel, and the rest - "Cleopatra", "Thirst", "Worship of the deity", "Worship of nature", "Orpheus plays", "Bathing Nadyu" - created by Golovin.

Chief Consultant of the Mariinsky
Vladimir Telyakovsky was promoted to director of the Imperial Theaters. Along with him, one of his best decorators, Alexander Golovin, who became the main consultant of the Imperial Mariinsky Theater moved to St. Petersburg. Their creative and friendly union lasted for many years and was based on mutual trust and respect. Despite the fact that Golovin from time to time lost the pace of work, Telyakovsky highly appreciated his talent, was indignant, scolded - but he tolerated the artist’s quirks. From time to time Golovin was helped by Telyakovsky's wife, Gurli Loginovn: together they painted costumes for performances, many of the samples of their joint works are now kept in the collections of the St. Petersburg State Museum of Theatrical and Musical Arts. The amateur artist's hand is visible in the costume sketches for the operas Ruslan and Lyudmila and The Trojans, and the ballet Don Quixote. According to Golovin, some "costumes were made in the" artisanal way "at Telyakovsky's apartment, with the active participation of his wife." They were distinguished by their constant convenience for the actors, as well as stunning decorative and coloristic solutions of Golovin himself. By 1907, Alexander Yakovlevich had his own workshop at the Mariinsky Theater.

"World of Art", Dyagilev and Meherhold
Having plunged into the life of the capital, Golovin made close acquaintances with the artists of the association."World of Art" and began to take part in their exhibitions.Alexander Benois andMstislav Dobuzhinsky Colleagues were not always artistic decisions, however, he recognized his undoubted talent. At the same time, his ten-year acquaintance and collaboration with Sergey Dyagilev. The latter was attracted by the versatility and plasticity of creativity Golovin, his ability to show Russian national traditions through European modern. Dygilev gave Golovin great support in artistic circles, regularly publishing his work in the pages of the magazine “World of Art” and mentioning the artist in his articles. It was Golovin who in 1908 became the artist of the Musorgsky opera Boris Godunov for the first Russian season of Dyagilev in Paris. The performance was a great success and was the beginning of the triumph of the Russian seasons.

Another work page of Golovin in St. Petersburg is his collaboration with Meyerhold. Golovin recommended the director to Telyakovsky after Meyerhold left the theater of Vera Komissarzhevskaya. Joint remarkable projects of Golovin and Meyerhold - “Orpheus and Eurydice” and “Masquerade” - were remembered by contemporaries for a long time.

Last triumph
1912 for Alexander Golovin was the year of recognition: he was accepted into the full members of the Academy of Arts. Unfortunately, at the same time, doctors discovered the first signs of heart disease from the artist. Golovin was recommended to change his stormy activity in the capital to a more relaxed lifestyle, and in 1913 the artist acquired a house in Detskoye Selo (today Pushkin), where he lived for the remaining years. The active theatrical activity of Alexander Golovin ended in 1917: there was no place for exquisite theatrical solutions in the Land of Soviets, the “Silver Age” gave way to the vanguard. Golovin’s last triumph - The Marriage of Figaro, by Beaumarchais, took place in 1927 on the stage of the Art Theater. The artist, who by then felt very bad, did not hit the premiere. In recent years, Alexander Golovin did not have the opportunity to work in his usual theatrical atmosphere; he felt forgotten, lonely and useless. At night, the artist dreamed of the scenery ... April 17, 1930, Alexander Golovin died.

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