Ivanovich Murashko

Ukraine • 1844−1909

Biography and information

Nikolai Ivanovich Murashko (May 20, 1844, Glukhov, Chernihiv Province - September 22, 1909, Bucha, Kiev Province) —Ukrainian artist, graphic artist, painter, eminent teacher, founder of the Kiev drawing school. Uncle of the famous Ukrainian impressionist painter Alexandra Murashko.

Features of the artist Nikolai Murashko: having started his career as a graphic artist, over the years Nikolay Murashko mastered the pictorial direction, was a master of realistic natural landscape. But the main work of his life was the pedagogical work and the Kiev drawing school, which Nikolai Murashko officially opened in 1876.

Famous paintings by artist Nikolai Murashko: "Above the Dnieper", "Ukrainian landscape", illustrations to the first edition of G.H Andersen’s fairy tales in Ukrainian.

Nikolai was born in a large family of icon carver master Ivan Murashko. As Nikolai Ivanovich recalled, “the icons awakened in me an insatiable curiosity and a desire, if not to create in the same way, then at least to copy”. The boy copied book illustrations, tried to embody his own subjects. At the age of 14, Murashko arrived in Kiev, where he became a student of a copyist restorer. On the advice of visiting the artist's studio, he went to enter the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts, and in 1863 became his free listener. Murashko met there Ilya Repin, friendly relations and correspondence with which lasted for many years.

Due to his illness, Murashko did not complete the training course, and, having moved to the city of Voronezh, he later sent his drawings to the Academy, on the basis of which he was awarded the title of art teacher. Nikolai Murashko taught at the Kiev Pro-Gymnasium, and in 1869 he published a drawing manual for children, the basis for which was his own lithographic drawings and ornaments. The textbook became popular, the book reprinted.
Nikolay Murashko continued his studies in private and in parallel taught drawing at first in the 1st Kiev Gymnasium, then at the Real School. In 1879, for the picture “Motive from the outskirts of Kiev”, the Council of the Academy of Arts awarded Ivan Murashko the title of class artist of the III degree. Landscape painting became a weighty theme in the work. From 1880 to 1890, Nikolai Murashko created a number of outstanding realistic landscapes, some of which were purchased for the museum of the Academy of Arts.

In 1875, Nikolai Ivanovich opened the drawing school, which is located at his home. Officially, the Kiev Drawing School of Nikolai Murashko began its existence on September 16, 1876.

A high, lanky teacher who did not let go of a cigarette from the hands, the students jokingly nicknamed "The Chimney." Tuition was 6 rubles per month, and on Sundays they gave free lessons for artisans. Murashko provided financial support to the young philanthropist Ivan Tereshchenko, who over the past 25 years of the School’s existence spent over 150,000 rubles on it. The City Duma allocated a subsidy and premises to the School (later, thanks to Tereshchenko, the School moved to a new building on Vladimirskaya Street). Thanks to patrons of art, talented children from poor families could study at the School, and scholarships were established for the most successful ones.

At different times in the Drawing School, such famous artists as Nikolay Pymonenko, Valentin Serov, Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Murashko, Grigory Dyadchenko, Ivan Izhakevich other. Among the teachers were Mikhail Vrubel, Adrian Prakhov and other graduates of the Imperial Academy of Arts.
Murashko tried to bring the most progressive to the teaching methodology, he went abroad to exchange experience with leading educational institutions. The teacher adhered to the principle “from simple to complex”, paid attention to each student, regularly organized excursions for students to Kiev museums, where they sketched, and constantly reminded them: “There is no end to teaching!” Since 1877, Murashko organized exhibitions of famous artists in Kiev -realists, explained in the press the essence of the creative approaches of peredvizhniki artists.

The personal life of Nikolai Ivanovich was successful: Elena Konstantinovna Derkacheva-Litte, a kind, intelligent and educated woman from a wealthy family, became his life partner. Murashko’s family gave birth to a son, Yevgeny, and daughters, Elena and Lydia. Together with the family lived and the brother of Nicholas, the crazy Senya, as well as the boys, students of Green (Grigory Dyadchenko) and Yani (Vladimir Andreev). Both became students of the Imperial Academy of Arts, Dyadchenko returned to Kiev after graduation and taught at his benefactor’s School.

Every summer the family went to the Crimea, where Nikolai Ivanovich wrote sketches with the students. Along with them went his nephew Sasha, the son of Nikolai's brother Alexander Ivanovich Murashko (he continued his father's business and moved to Kiev, where he opened an artistic icon-painting workshop, and, in particular, designed the Vladimir Cathedral). Alexander Murashko successfully graduated from the Academy of Arts and later became a famous impressionist artist.

In 1901, the Kiev Drawing School of Nikolai Murashko was reorganized into the Kiev Art School, which was taken over by the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. Nikolai Ivanovich spent his last years near Kiev, in the town of Bucha; his dacha neighbor was Mikhail Bulgakov. Ivan Tereshchenko made sure that the artist did not need anything, and gave him a solid severance pay and a pension. At the dacha, Nikolai Ivanovich worked on his memoirs - the book “Memoirs of the Old Teacher” was printed at the expense of the Tereshchenko family in 1907.

Nikolai Ivanovich died at his beloved summer house in Bucha on September 22, 1909 and was buried at the Lukyanovka cemetery. One of the Kiev streets is named after him.