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Pavel
Petrovich Benkov
Russia 
1879−1949
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Biography and information
 
Pavel Petrovich Benkov (December 20, 1879, Kazan — January 16, 1949, Samarkand) — Russian artist, portrait painter, master of the cityscape, theater designer, teacher of the Kazan Art School and the Samarkand Art School. The master had a great influence on the formation of the original pictorial traditions of Uzbekistan and the whole of Central Asia.

Features of the artist Pavel Benkov: during his studies, Benkov was nicknamed "Titian" for the great attention he paid to color solutions. The artist freely and gently modeled the sunlight, creating a beautiful image in broad strokes, conveying the mood and mobility of various states of nature. His style in his mature years is called partly impressionistic. Note, the painterly style of the artist is different from the style Nikolay FeshinBenkov was friends with.

Famous paintings of the artist Pavel Benkov: "Khiva Girl", House with waterpots, "Girlfriends. Letter from the front ", "Old Bukhara".

Pavel Benkov was born in 1879 in Kazan. His parents kept a furrier workshop, the family lived quite modestly. From a young age, the boy dreamed of becoming an artist, and in spite of all the obstacles — misunderstanding of his parents, financial difficulties, everyday disorder — in 1895 entered the Kazan art school. Here Benkov showed himself to be an unusually hard-working and persistent student, he met Nikolai Feshin here, and they quickly became friends, sharing joys and misfortunes with each other.

After graduating from the Kazan Art School in 1901, Benkov and Feshin were recommended for admission to the Higher Art School at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg without exams. If possible, Paul went on vacation to Europe, in Paris he studied at the Academy Julien.

At the Academy, in his works, Benkov showed a great deal of attention to color, for which fellow students called him "Titian." However, his discipline was lame, and after another late arrival at the beginning of classes (Benkov went to Italy) he was excluded from the list of students. The Benkov Academy nevertheless finished and received the title of artist on October 30, 1909. Next was his native Kazan, teaching at the Art School and good old friend Feshin, who worked there. The students literally worshiped their teachers and divided the two camps: "The Feschineans" and "The Benkovists"; however, there was no friction or competition between the artists themselves.

Along with the landscape, a favorite genre of Benkov was a portrait. Models for the majority of paintings became close and friends of the artist. Pavel Petrovich collaborated with many Kazan theaters, was friends with artists, who often posed for him. In 1913 another direction appeared in the artist’s work — the design of theatrical performances for the Kazan Opera Theater. Benkov created the scenery for such performances as "Chio-Chio-San", "Aida", "Carmen", "Ruslan and Lyudmila".

The revolution of 1917 made significant adjustments to Benkov’s quiet life: he had to go to Irkutsk with the retreating white troops. A terrible famine in the Volga region has come to Kazan. It was necessary to change, adjusting to the new reality, and in 1922 Benkov joined the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia. A year later, another painful blow: his best friend, Nikolai Feshin, decides to leave for the United States with his family.

Innovative pedagogical processes, introduced in the Kazan Art School, did not like Benkov. In 1925, the Tatar branch of AHRR removed Pavel Petrovich from teaching. Over time, at the insistence of students, Benkov was restored, but the attacks on him by the "innovators" continued. Things went badly, and in the 1920s the artist again turned to the design of theatrical productions.

Meanwhile, uncertainty and financial difficulties, the death of his son Viktor, complex relationships in the family and at work led Pavel Petrovich to the thought of leaving Kazan. In the summer of 1928 he went to Bukhara — and this city, frozen in time, made an indelible impression on the artist. The features of the Middle Ages were on every corner of Bukhara — from the characters on the streets to the way of life and the details of everyday life, only the red flags reminded that socialism reigned here. The master of the open-air turned out to be in an environment where every street or block became kind, and every person became a potential model.

In 1929, Benkov finally moved to live in Central Asia. All his previous experience was transformed into his own unique, impressionistic style. The white sun, yellowish-gray dust, openwork gray shadows, the gray-blue sky became the visiting card of the artist’s landscapes. And, of course, he continued to paint portraits, perpetuating the "leaving nature" of the Noble Bukhara. It is hard to say how Benkov persuaded to pose for middle-aged men who honored Muslim traditions and negatively viewed the image of living beings.

In 1930, an art college was opened in Samarkand, where Pavel Petrovich became a teacher of painting. He bought a small house on the outskirts of Samrkand, where his wife moved from Kazan in 1930. There were many orders: portraits of the leaders of Uzbekistan, plot canvases on the themes of socialist construction projects. Career went uphill, Benkov exhibited a lot. In 1939 he was awarded the title of Honored Artist of the Uzbek SSR. During the Great Patriotic War, Pavel Petrovich did not write battle paintings, but he created many campaign posters. In Samarkand, which became his native, he was a local legend — heavy, with a cane, he moved around the city in tarantass, bought students canvases for his money, and at work he strongly advocated the principles of realistic art. A sick heart made itself felt stronger, and in 1949 Pavel Petrovich Benkov died.

Based on Tigran Mkrtychev’s article "Pavel Benkov", prepared for the exhibition "A place under the sun. Benkov / Feshin"in the Museum of Russian impressionism.


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Artworks by the artist
45 artworks total
1919, 126×152 cm
1940-th , 100×100 cm
1931, 132×127 cm
1943, 128×152 cm
1940-th , 100×99 cm
1947, 140×140 cm
1929, 136×127 cm
View 45 artworks by the artist