Andrei Andreevich Mylnikov

Andrei Andreevich Mylnikov

1919 —2012
  • Stalin Prize winner (1951)
  • State prize of the USSR (1977)
  • Gold medal of the USSR Academy of Arts (1981)
  • Lenin Prize winner (1984)
  • Honoured Artist of the RSFSR (1963)
  • People's Artist of the RSFSR (1968)
  • People's Artist of the USSR (1976)

Andrei Mylnikov is one of the most successful Soviet Russian artists, who, already during his own lifetime, has become an acknowledged classic of the Russian realistic school of the second half of the XX century; a monumentalist and, at the same time, an artist who created touching, emotional works; a thoughtful, gifted teacher who educated more than 500 painters and headed a studio of Monumental Painting and the Department of Painting and Composition at the Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture for more than 60 years. Throughout his life, Mylnikov was experimenting in an endless quest in the pursuit for the ideal, continually reworking same paintings all over again in order to convey his artistic vision more precisely. Despite his longing for innovation and the unknown, the traditions of European art have always been of great importance for Mylnikov. The scale of his artistic interests and media that he used is extensive: he created portraits, still lifes, landscapes, graphic works, mosaics, monumental paintings and panels, sculpture. Andrei Andreevich was born on February 22, 1919, in the city of Pokrovsk (now Engels), Saratov region, in Russia in a family of the civil engineer, the chief of Tambov railcar-building workshops. The artist never saw his father, Andrei Konstantinovich Mylnikov. The family has experienced the great sorrow - the father of Andrei Andreevich was shot by the Bolsheviks in 1918 in Tambov. The artist's mother, Vera Nikolaevna Mylnikova (formerly Ukhina), came from a wealthy merchant family and was an educated woman. Together with little Andrei, she was forced to leave for Moscow in 1930 because she had been unfairly dismissed from work, and then they moved to Leningrad, where she survived the blockade. Vera Nikolaevna has always strongly supported the education of her son and his craving for painting.

After graduating from high school, Andrei Andreevich was admitted to the Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in 1940 at the Faculty of Architecture. Mylnikov studied under the guidance of G. I. Kotov, L. V. Rudnev, and A. S. Nikolsky. As a child, while studying in the art studio, Mylnikov was fortunate enough to meet with the renowned artist K. S. Petrov - Vodkin. After studying for a year, Andrey Andreevich was transferred to the Department of Painting, where his mentors were V. A. Obolensky, B. A. Fogel and P. S. Naumov. During the war, Mylnikov participated in defence of the sieged Leningrad, but in 1942, being in the last stage of dystrophy, he was evacuated to Samarkand. In 1946, after graduating from the Institute with a diploma work of the monumental genre "Oath of the people of Baltics", which was highly appreciated, Mylnikov has embarked on the path of a professional artist with regular participation in Russian, all-Union and international exhibitions, grand state orders for monumental works, and continuous, tireless work on paintings. The artist was awarded medals "For Valiant Labour in the Great Patriotic War 1941 - 1945" and "For the Defence of Leningrad" in the same year. Also, in 1946, Mylnikov joined the Leningrad Union of Artists. Soon Andrei Andreevich was invited to work on the design of the Moscow Soviet Palace of Congresses. In 1947, Mylnikov returned to the Repin Institute to continue his studies in graduate school under the direction of I. E. Grabar and V. M. Oreshnikov. During that period, Mylnikov took part in the all-Union exhibition "Celebration of the 30th anniversary of The Soviet Lenin Communist League".

Overall, Mylnikov has successfully held numerous positions of authority at the Institute and the cultural sector: among many other positions he was a Chairman of the Oil Painting Committee of the Federal Association of Artists of Russia of the Leningrad branch from 1948 to 1950, a Deputy Chairman of the Federal Association of Artists of Russia of the Leningrad branch (elected in 1953), in 1954 he was elected as a member of the Council of the Russian Association of Artists, and he also was elected as a representative at the First Soviet Artists' conference in 1957, and in 1958 Mylnikov was appointed Chairman of the Council of the Association of Soviet artists. Andrei Andreevich was awarded the title of Hero of Socialist Labour received the Order of Lenin and the Order of Friendship of People and was awarded the Order of III and IV degrees "For Services to the Fatherland". The artist's academic career has quickly become a successful one: he began teaching in 1947, and in 1957 he was awarded the status of Professor of the Academy of Arts. The 1950s and 1960s were particularly productive years for the artist's monumental works. Mylnikov has created mosaics and made paintings for the underground stations "Vladimirskaya" and "Lenin Square" in St. Petersburg, public buildings of Leningrad, such as the Theatre of Young Spectators named after A. A. Bryantsev, the airport, the Kremlin Palace of Congresses, the Memorial Hall of the Monument to the Heroic Defenders, the House of Soviets of the Russian Federation in Moscow, etc. Mylnikov has spent many years of work on a thorough study of the mosaics and its technical aspect. In order to achieve perfection and maximum expressiveness in his mosaic panels, the artist went to Kiev and scrupulously studied the mosaics of St. Sophia Cathedral, making countless copies. Andrei Andreevich has repeatedly returned to the image of Lenin in his mosaics works: a monumental portrait of the leader for the Conference Hall of the Palace of Congresses in the Kremlin, a mosaic panel "Lenin" created in 1958 together with A. L. Korolev for the underground station, a portrait of Lenin of 1964 in the technique of the Florentine mosaic. The artist's success is clearly notable not only in his home country but also abroad. In addition to Moscow and Leningrad exhibitions, the artist has regularly participated in exhibitions of Soviet artists in China, Germany, Egypt, Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Italy, France, Japan, and other countries. Mylnikov also took part in the Venice Biennale in 1960.

After visiting Spain in 1974, the artist was inspired with the idea of the triptych called "Spain" and which in 1981 brought him the gold medal of the Academy of Arts and later The Lenin Prize. Solo exhibitions of the artist were held in the State Russian Museum, in the halls of the Academy of Arts of the USSR, in the Museum of the Academy of Arts, in his hometown of Pokrovsk, as well as in Austria, Germany and China. Today his art is stored in the largest and most famous collections of Russia: The State Russian Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in Moscow, the State Tretyakov gallery, the Museum of the Academy of Arts, Gallery of Z. K. Tsereteli, Smolensk art gallery, as well as in other public and private collections in Russia and in other countries of Europe, USA and Asia. Many of his works were transferred to Pokrovsk, where since 2004 the artist's personal gallery was opened. Mylnikov's activity was not limited to the artistic sphere. He was also a public and political figure: from 1989 to 1991 he was elected as a people's deputy. Since 1997, Mylnikov held the post of Vice-President of the Russian Academy of Arts. The artist died on May 16, 2012, in St. Petersburg at the age of ninety-three years. He is buried at Literatorskie Mostki at the Volkov cemetery in St. Petersburg.


Андросова М.И. (1989) Андрей Мыльников. Живопись. Скульптура. Графика. Каталог. Ленинград: Государственный Русский музей.
Каганович А.Л. (1986) Андрей Андреевич Мыльников. Ленинград: Художник РСФСР.
Мыльников А.А. (1977) Андрей Мыльников. Ленинград: Аврора.
(n.d.) "Биография Мыльникова А. А." [online] А. Мыльников Available at: