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Andreevich Fedotov

Russia • 1815−1852

Biography and information

Pavel Andreevich Fedotov (June 22 (July 4) 1815, Moscow - November 14 (26), 1852, St. Petersburg) - an outstanding Russian painter and draftsman, one of the founders of critical realism in Russian painting.

Features of the artist Pavel Fedotov: Fedotov's paintings and drawings are distinguished by their wit, subtle observation, the ability to notice the typical features of different classes and the circumstances of their life, the accuracy of social characteristics. At the beginning of the way I tried myself in battle painting, but rather quickly realized that his vocation was a genre. The object of his soft satire was the mores of the big city, the heroes were merchants, officials, noble families, companies of single officers, emancipated ladies. Critical understanding of reality does not prevent Fedotov from acutely feeling its plastic and scenic beauty.

Famous paintings by Pavel Fedotov: "Fresh Chevalier", "Matchmaking Major", "Breakfast of the Aristocrat", "Legible Bride", "Widow".

The textually dull phrases about Fedotov: "the founder of Russian genre painting", "the founder of critical realism in the domestic art." Pavel Andreevich Fedotov, of course, did not know anything about himself. By profession he was a military captain of the guard. In the official resolution of the high chief Fedotov, Emperor Nicholas I, prescribing the subordinate to leave the service and do painting, there is a remarkable wording “painting officer” in its grace.

He was born in a poor family of the Catherine's servant in Moscow, in the parish of Khariton, near the Red Gate. Unlike thousands of artists whose abilities were noticed by their parents and developed by mentors, nobody engaged in Fedotov in his childhood. Left to his own devices, he spent time in romps and fights with peers, running around in the center and attic in the summer, skating from the hills in the winter. It is life in the Moscow patriarchal backwater that art critics will later explain the originality of painting and graphic art by Fedotov. Born in a strict, European and ambitious Petersburg, and not in a simple merchant Moscow, there would have been neither a “founder” nor a “pioneer”.

Fedotov himself was well aware that the source of his art was that as a child he could observe plenty of vendors and cooks, housekeepers and ponomarists, merchants and the common people, parish priests and smart matchmakers - "Not covetous in secular life".

11 years old Fedotov gave study in the Cadet Corps. There was nothing surprising: your father served, come and serve! Time, moreover, was appropriate: historians would later call him “Nikolaev military”.

In drawing classes in the Fedotov Corps, they were lazy. Much more occupied his history with geography. Where classmates were starting to yawn above the textbook page, Fedotov painted the brightest scenes. He was endowed with an imagination of rare intensity. Behind the dry pages arose large-scale battles, eerie and colorful details of palace coups, lush vegetation of exotic countries and distant continents.

And it was wonderful. If Fedotov had entered the Petersburg Academy, he would have been “put into prison” and this would inevitably kill the unusualness of his talent. But, learning not to art, but to military science, he was not bound by deadly academic requirements. He painted as God put on the soul. None of the mentors did not mentor that there is a worthy subject for the image, and that - no. Nobody limited his lively and tenacious observation. Therefore, all the cadet notebooks and notebooks of the cadet Fedotov were caricatured.

The cartoons came out very similar (apparently, Fedotov's sense of line was innate), but not offensive. Their humor was not clumsy, but rather subtle. The corps comrades, in any case, adored Fedotov and were not insulted by his mockery. He was a good fellow, was the first in academic performance, besides he sang and played the guitar. At first he did not dare to take oil paints, but he practiced a lot in graphics, watercolors and sepia.

For quite a long time, its main theme remained the one that was before the eyes of the military. Grand Prince Mikhail Pavlovich, who took care of Fedotov’s unit, was so delighted with the battle talents of the guardsman (and of his own portraits that Fedotov managed especially well), that he presented him with a diamond ring and reported to him on Nikolai Pavlovich.

When Fedotov matured to the idea that professional training was nevertheless necessary for him, he was already an established artist. With a view, as Benoit would later put it, “Strengthen your hand on drawing dead bodies and sitters”Fedotov began attending evening classes at the Academy. Instructors (including the famous Sauerweid) seen in the overgrown eccentric. And he, as damned, worked until night in classes filled with samples of human noses and ears.

Flemish and Dutch in the Hermitage completed the formation of Fedotov. They tried to convince themselves of what he himself guessed: the most interesting and most significant thing is ordinariness. That it is necessary to portray.

By 1844, Fedotov had a difficult choice between a promising military career and an uncertain, semi-poor future of the artist. He went to consult to Bryullov, the most successful at that time Russian artist. Bryullov did not recommend resigning, said: at the age of Fedotov it becomes too late to become an artist.

But Ivan Andreevich Krylov interfered. Complacent and phlegmatic in appearance, in fact, he was caustic and sober. Krylov saw the cartoons and sketches of Fedotov and came in admiration. Tenacity of look, vitality, hidden moralism - all this was akin to Krylov himself. The fabulist overcame his legendary laziness and wrote a letter to Fedotov. Its essence was to ensure that the artist’s task in modern society is to denounce the nastiness of Russian life and thereby contribute to its improvement. The mission is difficult, but noble. Fedotov took the words of Krylov with enthusiasm and retired, retaining the "friend and kinsman" of Korshunov.

From 1846 to 1848, the main paintings by Fedotov were created, which immediately provided him with everything except wealth: the recognition of colleagues, the title of academician, and immense popularity with the audience. First written "Fresh Chevalier", a little bit later - "Matchmaking Major", "Legible Bride" and "Breakfast of the Aristocrat". At the exhibitions to them was not overcrowded. The crowd is not thinned until the evening. For the middle of the XIX century. It turned out to be a revelation to see on the canvas not sovereigns of emperors, famous warlords or, at worst, ancient deities, but their own contemporaries - mediocre, ridiculous and so recognizable.

Together with the engraver Vernadsky, Fedotov decided to publish a moralizing magazine. For him were dozens of caricatures, now scattered in museums and private collections. Choosing a name, hesitated between “Evening instead of preference” and “Northern windbag,” but then the matter got upset.

Lived Fedotov ascetic. I got up very early. He poured cold water and, after drinking tea, went "to push between people." Wandered around the city, reaching the most provincial parts of it, in search of "living types." He met with representatives of the city bottom - port "Ewami" and the poor. Precious nature, before "spying on nature," was still to be found. Here was something akin to hunting. Once Fedotov walked several kilometers behind a kind of “subject in a green cap”, only to memorize his movements and the smallest details of a face.

Feeding himself, Fedotov kept his father and sisters left in Moscow. For myself, I rented small houses in St. Petersburg, and always one of the two rooms served him a bedroom and a workshop, and the second was given to Korshunov for undivided use. Batman hung walls from floor to ceiling with cheap prints and convinced visitors that he painted them himself - following the example of the owner.

For those who knew Fedotov, his mental illness turned out to be a bolt from the blue. In a fit of violent insanity, he was caught by the police and placed in a Leedsdorf clinic for the mentally ill. Shortly before this, the artist, who was not inclined to strangeness, or to despondency, suddenly began to yearn, and then chud. For a rare large fee for a picture for some reason I bought jewelry. And he unexpectedly wound up in several houses known to him at once, although he always convinced that he could not divide his life between two loves — to painting and to a woman.

In the hospital, Fedotov, distinguished by the strength of his muscles, will tear out nails from the walls. Stitched in a straitjacket - with his teeth.

During periods of relative enlightenment, Fedotov was allowed friends. He struck them with what he had not seen before - with a projector. He said that it was necessary to turn Vasilyevsky Island into Athens. He showed the picture: Tsar Nicholas I watched tiny Fedotov with a magnifying glass. The doctors complained: I painted all the walls in the ward.

When in 5 months the artist died in the house of mourning for pleurisy, there was no one to cry at the funeral: comrades had long since mentally buried him. Only the faithful orderly Korshunov wept inconsolably. Guilt mixed in to the main grief. Fedotov asked him to tell his friends to come to say goodbye. The servant turned the matter over to someone else, the messenger ran into the tavern on the way, got drunk, like a character from numerous Fedotov caricatures, and went to sleep almost in a ditch. When news of Fedotov's fever reached the addressees, there was no one to say goodbye to - the artist ended his days in complete solitude. The “Founder” and “Progenitor” were 37.

Author: Anna Yesterday