In the history of Russian art figure N. P. Ulyanov - like in the shadows. He belonged to art groups and stayed away from innovative ways of painting. His gift - the gift is not of the discoverer, but a successor and the custodian; this role, he corresponded with the same dignity. His first teacher at the school (1889-1900) was N. N. GE, who predicted the future of student historical painter (it came true in the 1930s and 40s. "Pushkin series" and the painting "Lauriston in the rate of Kutuzov"). But stronger was the influence of V. A. Serov: Ulyanov became his friend and assistant (in teaching in a Free workshop at the school and in the Studio of E. N. The Zvantseva, 1900-07), took the style of drawing and compositional "formalnosti" portraits (A. S. Glagoleva, 1911, VI Ivanov, 1920, up to the portrait "Stanislavsky at work", 1947). However, the color saturation painting Ulyanov 1910-20-ies. and her rhythmic acuity is far from Serov covenants. The artist finds metaphorical thinking - he is interested in compressed symbols of modern civilization, its transience and fantomette ("Paris window", 1909-11; "Cafe", 1917;"Carousel" and "Swing" 1909-20-ies). Fondness for sharp angles, the spatial intrigue - for example, the motif of the mirror repeat forms ("self-Portrait with the hairdresser", 1919; "A. S. Pushkin with his wife at the court ball", 1937) - is associated with the important topic of discernment of reality and visibility, real and imaginary. Attention to this issue brings Ulyanov with the artists of the symbolist circle. Ulyanov inherent connection symbolist significance images with a natural realism was akin to the program of the Moscow art Theater, hence the long artist collaboration with K. S. Stanislavsky, from the "Drama of life" K. Hamsun (1907) to the plays of M. Bulgakov "Days of Turbin" (1925-26) and "Moliere" (1933-36). In Soviet times it was the theater and work on the image of Alexander Pushkin (painting and graphic cycles, 1935-49) helped the artist to retain skills and cultural organics.
Born in Yelets on April 19 (may 1) 1875 in the family of the paramedic. The boy spent about a year in the icon painting workshop. Used the tips of his countryman of the artist V. N. Meshkov. Studied at the Moscow school of painting, sculpture and architecture (1889-1901)..In.Nevrev, I. M. Pryanishnikov and at the workshop of V. A. Serov (1899-1902), which had an especially large impact. He was a member of the Association "Union of Russian artists", "World of art", "Four arts". He lived in Moscow.
Already in the early period proved himself as a fine draftsman and impressionisticheskie sensitive to the nature painter, portraitist (N. N. GE at work, 1895, Tretyakov gallery; Anton Chekhov, 1904, Literary Museum, Moscow; O. L. Knipper in the role of Ranevskaya (the Cherry orchard), 1907, Museum of the Moscow art theatre, Moscow; K. D. Balmont, 1909, Tretyakov gallery). Later, under the influence of cubism and futurism developed a kind of "retardation"-cubist style, dividing the visible world on the edge, but still keeping it in line with the pattern of the traditional type (self-Portrait with the hairdresser, 1914-1923; Cafes, 1917; both work the same). In the 1920-ies of the left avant-garde search, again returning to the style of several academicianul modern. Among his possessions these years certainly Excel portraits, in particular the poet and philosopher V. I. Ivanov (1920, Russian Museum) and the sculptor A. S. Golubkina (a charcoal drawing, 1937, Tretyakov gallery). In the 1930-1940-ies turned to neoclassical in spirit to the images of history and artistic creativity (a series of Pushkin in life, the 1930-ies; the Lauriston in the rate of Kutuzov, 1945; K. S. Stanislavsky at work, 1947; Stalin prize, 1948; both – in Tretyakov gallery). Special popularity was won by Pushkin with his wife in front of a mirror (1937, the Institute of Russian literature, St. Petersburg) – poet, throwing the surrounding upper light mercilessly evil and spiky look.
Developed the tradition of pictorial symbolism in its scenography: Scapin's Tricks by J.-B. Moliere at the Maly theatre (1918); the days of the Turbins (1926); a Cabal of hypocrites (Moliere; 1936) by M. A. Bulgakov in the Moscow art Theater; Carmen G. Bizet at Opera theatre named after K. S. Stanislavsky (1935). Much fruitful work as a teacher at E. N. Zvantseva arts (1901-1907), Free art workshops – Higher art and technical studios (VHUTEMAS, 1918-1922) and other schools. Posthumously published his memoirs book My appointments (1952).