Aristarkh Lentulov – one of the founders of Russian avant-garde art

Aristarkh Lentulov Self portrait - 1940
Self portrait – 1940

Aristarkh Lentulov was also a brilliant theater artist and created many stage scenery for performances. For many years he has been active in teaching. He constantly took part in Russian and international exhibitions.

Aristarkh Lentulov Portrait of Claudia Petrovna Rukina - 1911-1913
Portrait of Claudia Petrovna Rukina – 1911-1913

Biography of Aristarkh Lentulov

He was the youngest fourth child in the family of a local priest and from childhood he was very fond of drawing. Unfortunately, the father of the future artist died as soon as the boy was two years old. After that, his mother and children moved to relatives in Penza for permanent residence.

Aristarkh Lentulov After the Storm - 1923
After the Storm – 1923


After graduating from elementary school, Aristarchus was accepted to study at a religious school, but he was not destined to become a clergyman. Lentulov in 1898 entered the newly opened art school in Penza with the firm intention of becoming a professional painter.

But already after the second year, Aristarchus dropped out of school, having come into conflict with teachers due to creative differences. He left for Kyiv, where he was accepted as a volunteer in a similar educational institution. Lentulov lived for five years on the banks of the Dnieper. However, shortly before the final exams, he seriously quarreled with his teacher and was expelled from the school.

Aristarkh had to return to Penza, where, thanks to the great efforts of the relatives of the artist’s mother, they were again enrolled in the graduation course. But the impudent young artist was liked by Ilya Repin’s assistant Dmitry Kardovsky, who took him as a student in his studio at the academy.

Aristarkh Lentulov At the old Borodino bridge - 1923
At the old Borodino bridge – 1923


In St. Petersburg, Aristarkh Lentulov met many representatives of Russian avant-garde and became an active supporter of this revolutionary artistic movement. He developed especially warm friendly relations with Nikolai Kulbin, Pyotr Konchalovsky and Vasily Kamensky.

In search of new ideas, in 1911 Lentulov left for Paris, where he was strongly impressed by the work of the Cubists. After meeting several young French colleagues and attending several classes at the La Palette Academy, Aristarchus went to Italy, where he spent three months, and then returned to Russia.

Portrait of N.A. Solovyov - 1907
Portrait of N.A. Solovyov – 1907
Creativity during the war years

Having settled in Moscow, on the wave of patriotic upsurge in the year of the centenary of the victory over Napoleon, the artist painted a number of monumental paintings on historical themes. And after the outbreak of the First World War, he became interested in creating army-themed luboks. At the same time, Aristarchus first tried his hand as a theater artist, making scenery for the production of the play “Vladimir Mayakovsky”.

Aristarkh Vasilyevich turned out to be an ardent supporter of Soviet power and never came into conflict with the Bolsheviks. In his work, he combined the writing of charming Russian landscapes and portraits of friends with the creation of monumental works glorifying communist ideals.

Portrait of Nita Svedomskaya (1898-1973) - 1915
Portrait of Nita Svedomskaya (1898-1973) – 1915

The artist has been married twice. From his first wife, a native of Kyiv, Natalia Yachnitskaya, his son Alexander was born in 1906, who later took his mother’s surname, and the marriage itself lasted only a year. In 1912, in Moscow, Lentulov married Maria Rukina, with whom he lived until the end of his life. The second wife gave him his only daughter, Marianne, who later became the keeper of her father’s creative heritage and an outstanding art historian.

The authoritative artist did not suffer from repression during the years of Stalinist terror, and his works were constantly exhibited at major exhibitions.

Street in Sergiev Posad - 1922
Street in Sergiev Posad – 1922
Summer landscape - 1920s
Summer landscape – 1920s
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