Grigory Leontievich Chainikov

Grigory Leontievich Chainikov

1960 —2008
  • Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Arts
  • Honored Artist of the Udmurt Republic
Grigory Leontievich Chainikov was a distinctive, bright artist who was passionately devoted to his art and whose genuinely lyrical work is filled with love for the homeland, sincerity, serenity and poetic quality which penetrates one's soul. Chainikov was born on November 28, 1960, in a small and distant village of Grakhovo, in Udmurtia, Russia. However, the artist spent his childhood in Vavozh, a much larger village, in Udmurtia and later, it developed into a nickname that was given to Chainikov 'The artist of Vavozh'. It happened that both his parents passed when the artist was still at a very early age and he was raised by his grandmother Anastasia Nikolaevna with his younger brother and two older sisters. In order to support his family, Chainikov at the age of five years was heading out into the fields to herd sheep. Long and tedious, summer days of a shepherd were contributing to the development of the relationship between the artist and the world that was surrounding him, the raw, unspoilt nature as well as facilitated to make sketches outdoors, to learn from nature. This intimate knowledge of an unpretentious, rustic, pastoral world and simple life of villagers, fields and meadows, rivers and forests, the variety of herbs and flowers, clearly could awaken this life-long commitment to the countryside and rural communities. The artist himself was arguing that 'nature bestows the perpetual motives for inspiration. Sunset, sunrise, evening, a meadow or a snowstorm… If you can translate your feelings - you can be original. Subject matters recur throughout, but the art and the artist remain to this day. I care about the life of the sky, clouds, I strive for the universal, for the mystery.'

Chainikov started his official artistic training in 1978 in the Udmurt State University in the department of the Graphic Arts. The artist's fascination with the nature and his interest in drawing grew into something more, when he decided to undertake the artistic path, and later were manifested in his bright talent. The academic environment greatly enhanced Chainikov's interest in arts and inspired him with its traditional grand classicism aura. It was hard to ignore that Chainikov was a successful, hard-working and gifted student. Soon, in 1982, he was referred to the prestigious Surikov Art Institute in Moscow under the guidance and supervision of Victor Tsyplakov, an excellent teacher and one of the USSR State Prize lauretes. Chainikov picked up his teacher valuable skills and mastered a new way of painting directly on the canvas without any preliminary sketches. Tsyplakov was an influential figure for Chainikov not only as a teacher, but eventually as a friend. After graduating from the Surikov Institute in 1987, Chainikov started his internship in 1988 with two highly esteemed People's artists of the USSR Aleksei Tkachev and Sergei Tkachev, whose attention Chainikov had attracted while still being a student. Mentoring, friendship, and patronage of the Tkachev brothers played a significant role in the creative formation and public recognition of the artist. Also, in 1988 Chainikov became a member of the Union of Artists of Russia. In 1991, the artist finished his internship with the Tkachev brothers in the workshops of the Russian Academy of Arts and focused on painting in the "Akademicheskaya Dacha" or Academic Dacha, in the renowned Russian art village and creative base for the Union of Artists of Russia, where he created most of his artworks.

Chainikov has achieved his own position in the Russian Realism movement and zealously followed the tradition of Russian art. When Chainikov was talking about his paintings, he once said, that 'when it comes to Realism, it is not so much a form but spiritual content. Without a soul, the form is tenuous.' These manifestations of the soul can be especially evident in Chainikov's portraits. The genre of the portrait occupies a very special place in Chainikov's art. A unique, peculiar aspect of these works lies in Chainikov's curious ability to add poetic quality to completely mundane subject matters and to depict people in that way that the viewer instantly feels a certain connection because of the striking sincerity and innocence of the work. The artist elevates ordinary people to the realm of sublime, spiritual, and grand. Chainikov travelled to many distant parts of the country, visiting Tver, Ryazan, Arkhangelsk regions, Vyatka, Solovka, Valaam, among many others. These journeys came to life in the paintings, depicting quiet villages and vast expanses of unique Russian nature. Restrained tonality, spontaneity in the composition, sincerity of people in these landscapes, and simple, truthful motives are shown over and over again in Chainikov's paintings, depicting the moment transmitted through a pure and honest perspective of the artist. Despite the fact, that the heart of Chainikov belonged to the countryside, Moscow became his second homeland. Since 1988, the artist has been a regular participant of exhibitions in Russia and abroad. In 2001, he became a Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Arts.

The artist's death was a tragic loss for the world of art. He died prematurely on September 8, 2008, at the age of forty-eight.

Погодин, В., Ткачев, А. and Ткачев, С. (2009). Григорий Чайников. Москва: Белый Город. (n.d.). ИРРИ | Чайников Григорий Леонтьевич. [online] Available at: (2008). Удмуртский менталитет московского художника. Памяти Григория Чайникова.. [online] Available at: