Sunday, 11 December 2016


“The day, water, sun, moon, night - I do not have to purchase these things with money.” - Plautus 

Arkady Alexandrovich Rylov (Russian: Аркадий Александрович Рылов; 29 January [O.S. 17 January] 1870 – June 22, 1939) was a Russian and Soviet Symbolist painter. Rylov was born in the village of Istobensk, in the Vyatka Governorate of the Russian Empire (present-day Kirov Oblast, Russia). He was brought into the family of his stepfather, a notary (Rylov's father had a psychiatric illness). He moved to Saint Petersburg and studied at the Technical Design School of Baron Schtiglitz (1888–1891), then at the Imperial Academy of Arts under Arkhip Kuindzhi (1894–1897).

Rylov was a member of the Mir Iskusstva movement and its spin-off Union of Russian Artists, and also a member of the Association of Artists of the Revolutionary Russia. He was a chairman of the Kuindzhi Society. He started as a historical painter (his graduation piece in the Imperial Academy of Arts was “Assault of Pechenegs on a Slav Village”) but became a landscape painter predominately, though many of his paintings have some allusions to Russian history.

Many of his landscapes painted after the October Revolution were seen as symbols of revolutionary freedom. At that time he also painted some typical Socialist Realism compositions like "Lenin in Razliv". He taught in the Academy of Arts. In his studio he created what could almost be described as a small nature reserve, with squirrels, rabbits, a monkey named Manka, many wild birds (without cages) and two anthills. According to Mikhail Nesterov wild animals and birds loved Rylov and often came to his studio.

Rylov’s most renowned works are the “Green Noise” of 1904 showing a spring landscape with some early Slavic ships on the background and “In the Blue Expanse” of 1918 (see above) showing wild geese flying in the sky over a sea with a sailing ship in the far distance. Rylov not only wanted to glorify the beauty and uniqueness of his native land, its wildlife and its changing moods and seasons, but also to remind the viewer that we are all responsible for its preservation and prosperity.

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