Born in the city of Nezhin of the Chernigov province. In 1879 — 1885, he studied in St. Petersburg Academy of arts (B. Villevalde), 1886 — 1889 — in private studios in Paris. In 1885 received a gold medal and the title of class artist 1-th degree. Academician of the Academy of 1890. In 1912 — 1917 he taught at the Academy of arts, led the class of battle painting. 1913 — Professor of senior art school at the Academy of arts, full member AH. 1936 — 1941 he worked in HHI. The honored worker of arts of RSFSR 1937. In 1941 awarded the State prize of the USSR. Author of several works on the history of Zaporizhzhya Cossacks. Together with S. Vasylkivsky worked on illustrations for books in history of Ukraine. Lived and worked in St. Petersburg, Kharkov, Simferopol.
Nikolay Samokish was born 13 (25) November 1860, in Nezhin. Graduated from the Nezhin classical school. The first attempt to enter the Imperial Academy of fine arts failed, but was adopted by a volunteer at the battle Studio of Professor BP Villevalde (1878). In a year of occupations was adopted by the student. Studied at the Imperial Academy of arts (1879−1885), class B. P. Villevalde, other well-known teachers p. P. Chistyakov and V. I. Yakobi.
Quickly began to achieve success. Already in 1881, he received a small gold medal for the painting «the return of the troops home.» In 1882 he published the first album of etchings, executed under the direction of L. E. Dmitriev-Kavkazsky. In the following, 1883, he received the prize of S. G. Stroganov, for the painting «the Landlords at the fair.» In 1884 he was awarded a second small gold medal for the painting «the Episode of the battle of Maly Yaroslavets», and a picture of the «Walk» acquired for the gallery Pavel Tretyakov. In 1885, for the thesis «the Russian cavalry returned after the attack on the enemy at Austerlitz in 1805» received a gold medal and the title of class artist 1-th degree. From 1885 to 1888 was perfected in Paris by the famous painter Edward Detaila. In 1890, for his work «the Herd Orlov Trotter mares» (Novo-Temnikovskogo stud farm in Tambov province) awarded the title of academician.
In 1888 he traveled to the Caucasus to collect material for paintings, commissioned Tiflis military history Museum. Created three paintings: «the Battle of AVIARA», «Battle at the river Iori», «Protection Naur village», which brought him fame as the painter.
Conference Secretary of the Academy of arts P. F. Iseev showed drawings Samokish Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich, the former President of the Academy. He presented drawings to the heir Nikolai Alexandrovich. The young artist has recommended to the war Department for sketching maneuvers. From 1890 he began to work. «And so I embarked on the road of an illustrated work, not knowing how I will be involved in this case and will give this work a large part of my time, only occasionally taking to paint for exhibitions," he wrote later in his diary.
In 1889 he married Helena Petrovna Sudkovsky (nee. Benard). In marriage, it took a double surname Samokish-Sudkovskaya. Elena Petrovna Samokish-Sudkovskaya (1863−1924), a famous book Illustrator, pupil of V. P. Vereshchagin. Many illustrated Alexander Pushkin. Very famous are her illustrations for the tale Yershov «humpbacked Horse». In 1896 the figures for «Coronation collection» volucella Highest award and medal on a blue ribbon. The couple occasionally worked together, as they both participated in the preparation of an illustrated edition of «Dead souls» by Gogol (the printing house of A. F. Marx, 1901). In one of the halls of Vitebsk station (the original name — Tsarskoye Selo), built in 1901−1904 years, the walls are decorated with panels N. S. Samokish and E. P. Samokish-Sudkovskaya on the history of the Tsarskoye Selo railway. D. Died E. p. in exile in Paris. Together with S. Vasilkovsky and N. S. Samokish worked on illustrations for books in history of Ukraine (1898−1900). The author of thousands of magazine and book illustrations. Among them are illustrations to the works of A. S. Pushkin (Poltava), L. N. Tolstoy («Strider»). Gogol, Marko Vovchka, L. A. Mey, I. S. Nechuy-Levitsky, M. Gorban, etc.
Among the most famous works — illustrations and artwork essays N. I. Kutepova «Grand-Ducal, tsarist and Imperial hunting in Russia» in 4 volumes (1896−1911). In illustrating the book took part of L. S. Bakst, A. K. Beggrov, A. N. Benoit, A. M. Vasnetsov, V. M. Vasnetsov, E. Lansere, K. V. Lebedev, A. P. Ryabushkin, Ilya Repin, V. I. Surikov, F. A. Rubo, L. O. Pasternak, K. A. Savitsky, V. A. Serov, A. S. Stepanov. Used and lithogravure with the works of Dzh. Dou, V. G. Schwartz, F. G. Solntsev, A. D. Litovchenko. But the design of the entire publication as a whole was entrusted to N. S. Samokish. In particular, they personally made 173 illustrations of the 4 volumes of «Hunting». This edition has brought the artist fame, animal.
Many different illustrations have been published in the magazines «Niva» and «Sun of Russia». By order of the «Fields» in may 1904 and went to the front of the Russo-Japanese war and worked there as an artist until the end of 1904, the result of a trip to the front was the album Samokish «War of 1904−1905. From the diary of the artist». In addition to album pictures from the front impressions were created of the painting. The most famous of them — «Liaoyang. 18 Aug 1904». The painting, dedicated to one of the most brutal battles between the Russian and Japanese armies, in 1910, was placed in the military gallery of the Winter Palace.
In 1912 Russia celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Patriotic war of 1812. For this anniversary, N. S. Samokish has created a series of drawings for the magazine «Niva» — a series of consecutive episodes, the major battles and campaigns of the Russian army: from «crossing the Niemen on June 12, 1812 to Napoleon leaves the army in Smorgon 3 Nov 1812» Fame was made for the anniversary of «the Attack of the Shevardino redoubt" and «a Feat of the soldier Rajewski under Saltanovka».
In 1915, N. S. Samokish formed the «art squad» of five battle-class students of the Academy of arts (R. R. Franz, P. I. Kotov, P. V. Miturich, P. D. pokarzhevskii, K. D. Trofimenko) and went to the front of the First world war. This is a unique case in the history of art: artistic practice on the front. There were about 400 works. Drawings Samokish was (partially) published in edition D. Makovsky, «the Great war in images and pictures» (1915) and «Russian heroes of Serbia and Montenegro» (1915). According to some historians , namely a book Samokish was the dissemination of «the Great war» (in relation to the 1st World), which is then United with the «Patriotic war» (used for the war with Napoleon in 1812), was given the name «great Patriotic war».
Horses occupy a special place in the works of Samokish. Horse Samokish world famous. For images of horses he was awarded (elected academician in «Herd trotting mares», was given the medal of the world exhibition for the «Quads on the turn»,…) but not only. For the love of drawing horses him down and scolded, wrote that he was «a hack» and «repeated» in his drawings «the battle and «horse» theme» .
But, writes N. S. Samokish 24 April 1929, my future student, to soldier, veteran of a Cavalry Division Mark Domashenko: «Your love for horses and cavalry the cause resonates in my soul as I love it as an artist and as a former cavalryman (Japanese war). In this direction I work to this day, the horse is considered a noble and beautiful creature and try to portray her not only outside, but also to convey her psyche, her impulse, most beautiful horse, even a horse at full gallop is a beautiful and picturesque.»
Taught all my life since 1894, when he was invited the Drawing school, where he did drawing and painting for 23 years. Training manual N. S. Samokish «drawing pen» still learning Russian artists-illustrators. Member of the Imperial Academy of arts (1913), where he taught from 1912, Professor, head of the battle class in 1913−1918.
Among his students are renowned artists: M. I. Avilov, P. I. Kotov, P. V. Miturich, G. K. Savitsky, K., Trofimenko, L. Chernov.
At the Academy of fine arts and taught until 1918, when the Council of people’s Commissars of the RSFSR abolished the old Academy and created on its basis the State free art workshops. Taught in these courses prior to their departure.
In 1920е — 1930s he worked in the Crimea.
In 1918−1921 he lived in Yalta (where he created more than 30 paintings), since 1922 — in Simferopol. Created in Simferopol own art Studio (Studio Samokish), which became a major regional center for arts education. Gathered and supported the talented youth. Simferopol among his pupils people’s artist of Ukraine Yakov A. Bass (he studied at Samokish from 1922 to 1931), Amet Ustaev, Maria vikent’evna Novikova, mark Domashenko and many others. Decree of people’s Commissars of the Crimea No. 192 of June 28, 1937, «On the reorganization of the Studio to them. academician N. S. Samokish in the State secondary art school named. the honored worker of arts, academician N. S. Samokish» at the Studio, was organized by the Samokish Crimean art school. In 1960 the name of Samokish was also named one of the streets of Simferopol. On the house No. 32 on this street there is a plaque reading: «In this house in 1922−1944 lived academician of battle painting N. S. Samokish».
In 1936−1941 he worked in Kharkiv art Institute (HHI). Samokish is associated with the history of art education in Kharkov from the beginning — from the first building. In 1904 began in Kharkov to «solve the problem» on the construction of a building for the municipal school of drawing and painting. S. V. Vasilkovsky and N. S. Samokish has set the condition that the facades of the building had to be created with motifs of Ukrainian architecture. The city Duma was against it. Finally, the resistance of the Duma has overcome the competition of the facade won K. N. Zhukov, submitted the project in the style of Ukrainian modernism. the Building was completed in 1912−1913. In November 1912 at the Kharkov literary and artistic circle on the Autonomous rights of the Ukrainian formed the architectural Department under the chairmanship of S. V. Vasilkovsky. A N. S. Samokish, of course, from the very beginning a member of this Department. The main task of the Department was considered to be a continuation and development of the Ukrainian and South Russian artistic traditions. The club worked until 1919. Honorary member of the group was I. E. Repin. Since that time (1911−1912) in Kharkov, street Mironositskaya preserved house, the entrance of which he painted together S. V. Vasilkovsky and N. S. Samokish.
And so, the circle is closed, and in 1936−1941 Samokish again in Kharkov, Professor HHI. Now in Kharkiv there is an alley Samokish street (between Danilevsky and Culture, next to the metro station «Scientific»).
A member of AHRR (Association of artists of revolutionary Russia) in 1923. The Association of artists of revolutionary Russia was created in 1922. Since the establishment it was one of the closest students of N. S. Samokish, participant of the trip to the front in 1914, P. I. Kotov. The Declaration of the Association of artists of revolutionary Russia declared a civic duty of the master «art documentary capturing the greatest moment in the history of his revolutionary impulse.»
The Soviet government respected the achievements of the artist and noted their honorary titles, premiums, order. In the Soviet period, the master created paintings about the red Army and the liberation struggle of the Ukrainian and Russian peoples, «Intelligence» (1923), «machine Gun cart» (1930), «the Battle of Maxim Krivonos with Jeremiah Vyshnevetsky» (1934), «go red Army through siwash» (1935), «N. A. Shchors in the battle of Chernigov» (1938) and others.
Repression of the 30s did not affect the artist personally. Still, some sources report that at the end of life N. S. Samokish was on the verge of arrest. During the German occupation of Crimea (1941−1944), he remained in Simferopol. «Not to die with hunger, he sold paintings. The main buyers were German and Romanian officers, and that was the pretext for accusations of treason. From prison he was saved by death". The artist died in Simferopol on 18 January 1944.