Petrovich Chistyakov

Russia • 1832−1919

Pavel Petrovich Chistyakov (June 23, 1832, Prudy Village, Tver Province - November 11, 1919, Tsarskoe Selo (now Pushkin), St. Petersburg) - Russian realist painter, master of portrait and historical painting, an outstanding teacher who educated several generations of famous Russian artists.

Features of the artist Pavel Chistyakov: Pavel Petrovich left an interesting picturesque heritage, but the number of his works is small. But his main vocation and meaning of life was teaching. Over the years of teaching at the Imperial Academy of Arts, Chistyakov developed his own system in which he unified the best of the academic school and his own work, creating the basis for the development of pupils' wider views on realistic art. As spoke about Chistyakov Ilya Repin, "He is our common and only teacher." Viktor Vasnetsov,Mikhail Vrubel and Vasily Surikov,Valentin Serov andVasily Polenov - Stars of Russian painting, released from the workshop of Pavel Chistyakov.

Famous works of Pavel Chistyakov: "Giovannina", "Boyar", "Roman beggar",“Grand Duchess Sofya Vitovtovna at the wedding of Grand Duke Vasily the Dark ...” 

From the former serfs
Pavel Chistyakov’s mother and father were serfs of Major General Alexei Petrovich Tyutchev.Father Peter Nikitich successfully managed the estate of his master in the Vesyegonsk district of the Tver province, and the award for honest work was voluntary, which the children of Chistyakov received at baptism: Paul became free three days after his birth.

After the parish school, Pavel entered the county school of the city of Bezhetsk, and he studied very hard, having graduated from college with honors. As the artist recalled, “my father ... sometimes made charcoal bills on a white unpainted floor. These are the numbers I remembered and copied (on a brick stove) also in coal. I didn’t like the units and wands, but more and more 2, 0, 3, 6, 9, etc., everything was round ... For twelve years I felt ... something about the perspective in kind and even painted a wooden bell tower standing in front of the viewer ... ”The city authorities wished to send the boy to study at the Tver gymnasium at public expense, but Pavel Chistyakov had a more meaningful goal - the Academy of Arts, he did not agree to anything less.

Studied - and taught
After college, Pavel Chistyakov worked as a surveyor. For two years, which he gave to this occupation, a dream has finally taken shape in him - to become an artist. The father agreed and the money - 17 with a half rubles, borrowed. And now - the capital! In 1849, Pavel Chistyakov was enrolled as an independent student at the Imperial Academy of Arts. In St. Petersburg, a young man lived with relatives, went to classes on foot, ate poorly and worked a lot: he had to give drawing lessons and take orders.

Routine repetitions of drawing gypsum irritated Chistyakov, but he knew the drawing and the perspective brilliantly. Giving private lessons, he taught - and he studied himself, inventing new techniques, including the principle of drawing from the bottom up - "from the ground, from his feet." He was able to explain and show the students the basics of the drawing, explain the principles of composition, and all this is intelligible, without flatulence. His pedagogical talent was noticed, and Chistyakov was invited to teach at the Drawing School of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts.

In April 1858, the artist was awarded a silver medal; his goal — to become a historical painter — is getting closer. For this it was necessary to write a program composition created according to strict academic canons. A small gold medal was awarded to a young artist in 1860 for his work “Patriarch Germogen denies the Poles to sign a letter”. Two years later a grand"Sofia Vitovtovna" brought Pavel Chistyakov a coveted Grand Gold Medal and the right to a pensioner's overseas trip, and they paid 800 rubles for the painting - it was something to travel.

Academic Studies
Starting a voyage with Germany, Chistyakov goes to France - wherever without Paris! From there - to the blessed Italy. Lush nature, bright colors, delightful Italians: “... imagine our summer, our sky, only all colors are brighter and at the same time somewhat foggy, through the flair, as if, it seems that everything you see is this half-asleep the fading tenderness is the exceptional character of Italy. ” Chistyakov works a lot, walks through museums and absorbs impressions like a sponge. He paints "Giovannina", "Head Chochary", "Roman beggar", begins work on "Messalina" - a picture that he wrote all his life, but he never finished.

In 1870, at the end of the pensioner's trip, Pavel Chistyakov was awarded the title of academician. He began his teaching activities at the Academy of Arts, and from the first lessons he let his students know that they would not be trampling on one place and endlessly repeating the same things. “It is good to teach, so loving to teach, and loving is not boring to do anything” - with such an approach to teaching, Pavel Petrovich made enemies for himself from among the academicians. But students adored him, and gradually the most talented grouped around a passionate and gifted teacher. Vasnetsov called Chistyakov "an intermediary between the student and in kind." The teacher paid much attention to nature, natural colors, shapes and lines.

"It will be easy, as you will do once with a hundred"
In 1872, Chistyakov received the position of adjunct professor of gypsum-headed and sketchy natural classes, which he held for two decades. He taught the basics of drawing hundreds of students, sensitively highlighting the most talented of them. In his classes studiedElena Polenova and Fedor Bruni,Victor Borisov-Musatov and Heinrich Semiradsky,Dmitry Kardovsky and Vasily Mate.

Among the remarkable artists - students of Chistyakov - there are a number of world-famous painters:Ilya Repin and Viktor Vasnetsov,Mikhail Vrubel and Vasily Surikov,Valentin Serov and Vasily Polenov. As Pavel Petrovich recalled, “Polenov, Repin at the end of the course at the Academy took drawing lessons in my Levitsky apartment, that is, they learned to draw a plaster ear and Apollo's head. Therefore, I am a good teacher if students take drawing lessons from ear and head with gold medals ... ”Vrubel studied in Chistyakov’s personal workshop since 1882, and, according to him, it was Pavel Petrovich who returned the joy of painting to him.

“It will be easy, as you do once with a hundred,” is Chistyakov's favorite saying. While Pavel Petrovich tried to give his students not only technical knowledge: he taught them to feel, to think, to think. Chistyakov was always interested in the theory of colors, studied in depth the physiology of vision. The sphere of his interests included not only painting, but also philosophy, literature, music and, of course, history. In communicating with students, Chistyakov was sociable and benevolent, he delved into the experiences and thoughts of artists working on a given topic, while not allowing indulgence. I used to be harsh, I was quick-tempered and ironic; a weak job could tell the student - "I envy your brush." This is what did not like - so it is arrogance and vanity. He said: “Since not all young men are equally talented, not everyone looks at nature correctly when drawing, then, first of all, we must teach them to look properly. It is almost the most necessary. ”

In 1892, Pavel Chistyakov was appointed a member of the academic council, a professor at a higher art school and the head of the mosaic workshop. From 1890 to 1912 he was in charge of the mosaic department, leaving the teaching of gypsum and nature. Under the leadership of Chistyakov, work was carried out on the interiors of St. Isaac's Cathedral and the Temple of the Resurrection of Christ, and in Moscow - the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. It was Chistyakov who dispelled the doubts of Vasily Vasnetsov, and he agreed to take part in the painting of the Vladimir Cathedral in Kiev.

Family, friends and households
The future wife of Chistyakov, Vera Egorovna Meyer (1848 - 1919) was born in Italy, during a pensioner's trip of her father Egor Meyer, a graduate (and since 1853 academician) of the Imperial Academy of Arts. For some time, Meyers lived in the Far East and returned to St. Petersburg in 1863. His father’s health was upset, and the mother of the family, Sofia Vasilievna, applied for state support to train her daughters at the Imperial Academy of Arts. Having inherited her father’s talent, Maria studied engraving, and by that time Vera had already received two medals for painting. On December 13, 1865, Vera Meyer received a diploma, which gave her the right "to teach drawing lessons in women's institutes, gymnasiums and other educational institutions."

It must be said that Pavel Chistyakov had some "insights" in his life when the upcoming events appeared to him. The artist did not particularly advertise them, but close people knew about this feature of him. And about his future wife, this prediction also happened to him. “Even in Bezhetsk, when I was about 14 years old, we were guessing with the boys at the Christmas time. I look through the chink, into the church of St. John the Divine, and I see: there is a girl standing and looking frowningly: he remembered something. And when I, for 23 years, entered their house, I shuddered. Sleep remembered - she! Standing and looking frowningly. ”

After the artist returned from a retirement trip abroad, despite the great difference in the age of 16, Pavel Chistyakov and Vera Meyer got married and settled in the Academy's apartment on Vasilyevsky Island. The couple had three children: daughters Anna and Vera and son Vsevolod. In 1876, Pavel Chistyakov bought a summer cottage in Tsarskoye Selo (now Pushkin), where he moved with his family permanently two years later, leaving a workshop in the city.
Olga Forsh, a writer and artist, a friend of the Chistyakov family, told that her teacher “was sorry for the people endlessly. Not only countless Tver relatives, but also completely alien random adolescents have always lived in the house. ” The farm under the strict guidance of Vera Egorovna was led by the artist’s sister, Agrafena Petrovna, or, as she was called by woman Du; She was accompanied by another sister, Yulia Petrovna. Olga Meyer, niece and beloved student, lived with Chistyakov Barbara Baruzdina.

There were always many visitors in Chistyakov’s house: pupils came to the lessons, friends and neighbors in the dachas came, many lingered for lunch. They talked about everything: about the people and Russia, about philosophy, discussed the latest scientific achievements. In the large living room on the first floor in the evenings they played music and sang. Pavel Petrovich was friends with Vasily Polenov, who after the Academy left to teach at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. In an extensive correspondence with Pavel Tretyakov, Chistyakov often discussed the perspectives of some of his students, gave advice on acquiring the most outstanding works for the gallery. “... The great sage was Pavel Petrovich and, as an artist, he was executed with ... grace and tact in circulation,” Ilya Repin recalled about the teacher, a frequent guest at the home of his teacher and colleague. "... He tied to himself and made all those who were lucky enough to communicate with him."

Pavel Petrovich maintained friendly relations with Dmitri Mendeleev, taught his sister Anna the drawing. In the wooden house with the cockerel weathercocks, the famous doctor Sergei Botkin and his brother-painter, academician Mikhail Botkin, the artist Vasily Savinskywriters Dmitry Merezhkovsky and his wife, poet Zinaida Hippius.

In their declining years
In 1914, Chistyakov retired. He was still alert, he accepted students. Numerous grandchildren scurried about at home, guests gathered in the evenings, conversations were held about the Russian idea and politics — where it was without it. The revolution brought with it hunger and disease. Relatives sold the portrait of the artist's mother, but the money they received was not long enough. In 1918, Chistyakov’s wife, Vera Egorovna, died, a year later the artist himself did not become: Pavel Petrovich died at his home in Tsarskoye Selo on November 11, 1919.

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