Andreevich Favorsky

Russia • 1886−1964

Biography and information

Famous graphic artist, Honored Artist of the RSFSR, People's Artist of the USSR. Born in 1886 in Moscow. He studied at the school of K. Yuon, then in Munich: at a private art academy and at the art history department of the philosophical faculty of the university. In 1907 - 1912 - at the art history department of the historical and philological faculty of Moscow University. 1920 - 1930 - Professor of Graphic Department of Vhutemasa - Vhuteina. At the ZIK - 1934 - 1935 He made drawings on the plates "Swans", "Milkmaid with Cows" (2 versions), "Goats" and on the bowl "Pigeons".

Known primarily as a book graphic artist, the woodcut by V.A. The artist’s universality, qualitatively different from the sparkling artistic versatility of the masters of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, included a fundamental understanding of the theory of art, a developed pedagogical system, the Favorsky school itself, which, without exaggeration, allows us to call his talent similar to the Renaissance artists and thinkers.

Favorsky received his first drawing skills at home under the guidance of his mother, nee Sherwood (daughter of the famous architect V.O. Sherwood). Later, he attended the private studio of K.F. Yuon (1903-1905) and evening classes in sculpture at SKHPU.

After graduating from high school, Tabor in 1905 entered the University of Munich. Studying at the art history department of the Faculty of Philosophy, he simultaneously studied at the school of S. Holloshi and later considered him his main teacher of art.

Returning to Moscow in 1907, Favorsky continued his art studies at Moscow University and in 1913 defended his thesis "Giotto and his predecessors." The initial letters to the "Judgments of Mr. Jerome Cunard" by A. France, made in 1918, brought Tabor fame.

The growing need for a new society in illustrated literature prompted the artist the main direction of creativity. In the 1920s he created illustrations for the books “The Kremlin. Sverdlovsk Hall” (1921), “Egeria” by P. P. Muratov (1921), “A House in Kolomna” by A. S. Pushkin (1922), “Tales of Animals” by L. N Tolstoy (1929). The most consistent creative principles of the master were reflected in the work on the Book of Ruth (1921). Starting from the cover, title, font, and up to the end, the design follows the idea of the work, presenting a single spatial image that does not violate the inner life of the text with its invasion, but conveys its style without becoming a stylization. Tabor’s style of a thing is defined as the relation of an object to space, which, filling the work, “creates the world within, limited by a frame or contours, infinitely complex and integral.”

In his plastic vision, Tabor discovers proximity to the Byzantine mosaicists, to Michelangelo, Vrubel. Tabor combines in one image not only events that are close in time, but sometimes fills the space with whole eras. On the frontispiece of the Book of Ruth, a young woman leaned toward a tree with a spreading crown that dates back to biblical symbolism, whose lines also show firmness and obedience to her duty to become one of the origins of the Davidov family, plant a tree crowned with the royal crown.

In a series of engravings "Years of Revolution" (1928), all space is engulfed by rapid movement, a kaleidoscope of events, the pulsating center of which is the figure of a leader surrounded by associates; in the portrait of F.M. Dostoevsky (1929), the dramatic background, personifying reality, tightly squeezed the figure of the writer, and the tilt of his head and hard hands express an unstoppable opposition to external forces.

Already in his early critical articles on the artist’s work, his special attitude to engraving material was noted. “Archaic of Tabor,” wrote A. M. Efros in 1923, “outlines the era of the first maturity of woodcuts. Its area is the last decades of the 15th century and German-Dutch soil.” Favorsky, cleaning wooden engraving from late technical and imitation layers that led to the loss of sensation of material (wood), emphasizes the sculptural nature of the engraving, likening it to the relief.

In 1920-30. Tabor taught at Vhutemas-Vhutein, headed the department of woodcut. In 1923 he was elected rector of Vhutemasa; the flowering of this educational institution in those years is largely connected with his leadership. Actually for educational purposes, his main theoretical works were written: "Lectures on composition theory" and the course "Theory of Graphics".

In the early 1940s there was a stylistic reorientation in the work of Tabor. The artist, partly forced to reckon with the requirements of publishers, transforms formal expressiveness into the subtlety of form processing, the sophisticated stroke technique, and the psychological depth of the images.

Having the opportunity to work on the most interesting orders, he focuses on the holistic design of the book, the connectedness of its parts. In 1950, he creates his most “monumental” work of this period - draws up the “Word about Igor's Regiment”; then illustrated by Boris Godunov by A. S. Pushkin (1954-55). The latest work in the field of book graphics - "Little Tragedies" by A. S. Pushkin (1959-61).

For the first time, Favorsky was asked to choose a literary work and publication format, which determined the artist’s visual freedom, which allowed him to generalize the best aspects of his early and late work. The book is given an emphasized horizontal system linking four works. All of its elements, according to the artist, serve to express her seriousness, the passion of human feelings with which she is full.

Illustrations to the "Stone Guest" can be attributed to the masterpieces of Tabor's creativity. Laura’s dinner and duel scene, spaced across several pages, that is, separated by the progressive movement of literary time, are endowed with an internal temporal and spatial relationship. The emphasized static nature of the first scene with sequentially built plans explodes with the swift rhythm of the duel scene, in which elements of the previous action, the present and the upcoming denouement are combined. An unclean table in the Foreground recalls a dinner that just ended calmly; the next plan is a lightning duel (like Pushkin's) - a choppy present; further - Laura, who has turned away from the horror of what is happening, but so that, figuratively, she presses herself against Don Guan’s head - this is what will follow immediately after the duel; and finally, the shadow of the hand and hilt of the sword of Don Guan, turned into an ominous cross hanging over everything that happens - this is the denouement of the tragedy. So in the engravings of the artist, "time enters into composition and composition becomes complex, multifaceted."

Favorsky, both in life and in social activity, despite the many difficult and difficult moments associated with the changing views of the authorities on art, a number of personal tragedies (both sons died during the Patriotic War), remained faithful to his principles. He accepted official recognition with the dignity of a sage (in 1962, Favorsky became the Lenin Prize laureate, in 1963 he was awarded the title of People's Artist of the USSR). Once upon a question of his student about the future of Soviet art, Favorsky answered in an evangelical way: “We need it this way: to God the God, and to Caesar Kesarevo,” he added: “It is only necessary that a space be built ... Everything we do, something serves. "