Boris Kustodiev is the Russian artist, who devoted his art to homeland.
He was born in Astrakhan, therefore he liked provincial towns on Volga with theirs narrow streets that were smothered in greenery, with white churches, gold and blue cupolas, rich merchant cottages, pretty-bourgeois small houses, with flowers on the windows, municipal gardens, where nobility and town dwellers spent time.
Kustodiev became artistic education in the Academy of arts in Petersburg. I. Repin was his teacher. Kustodiev appreciated oeuvre of his mentor, his attitude to art.
In the diploma work artist chose the topic of market in the village. Then fairs and markets became one of the most favourite topics in his oeuvre. The pictures «The Fair», which were painted in 1906 and 1908 years, tell us about noisy village trade.
He travelled in Switzerland, Spain, Germany, France, but Italy made the brightest impression on him. The range of sketches was painted during the trip in 1907 to Florence, Venice and Rome. The sketch «St. Mark’s horses. Venice» has artistic interest.
Repin also noticed that he had a gift for comprehension and transmission of human psychology and personality. Kustodiev created the bright images of contemporaries, which became the history of the Russian portrait art.
Artist worked with love when he painted portraits of relatives, of mother, wife, children or friends. Among them are pictures «The Japanese doll», «The portrait of Yu. E. Kustodieva with daughter Irina», «The portrait of F. Challapin».
Plump Russian woman with nice frank face is the ideal of beauty for Kustodiev. He liked to paint the merchant woman, who slowly drank a cup of tea and admired her clothes in front of the mirror. She didn’t know the difficulty of work. We can see such merchant woman in the picture «The beauty».
After socialist revolution Kustodiev made sketches and painted pictures, which were devoted to II Congress of the Comintern, took part in decorating of Petrograd in the first anniversary of the October. In 1920 he painted «The Bolshevik» in which he showed the image of the Russian proletariat.
Last big picture «The Russian Venus» Kustodiev started in 1925 and finished it in 1926. During this time, artist was seriously ill, he wasn’t able to walk. Kustodiev had a lot of ideas and hoped to put them into practice, but he hadn’t enough time.