Konstantin Lomykin (1924-1994)
Sitting Nude

signed in Cyrillic lower right
pastel on cardboard
92 x 70 cm

The Cees Hogendoorn Gallery, Amsterdam
Private collection, The Netherlands
Price on request

"Sitting Nude" is an extremely characteristic work for the oeuvre of the People's Artist of Ukraine, the famous Soviet painter, Konstantin Lomykin. It is particularly appealing that today the paintings of his master are held not only in the main art museums of Odessa, Kiev, Nikolaev, Zaporozhye, but also are in great demand among collectors, and presented in private collections in Russia and abroad: in Japan, France, Greece, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and in other countries. The artist has rapidly gained deserved popularity after graduating from the Odessa Art School in 1951, where he studied under the guidance of L. Muchnik, N. Sheluto, and M. Poplavsky. The young painter has begun to show his works at exhibitions and immediately found his fame as "the Ukrainian Impressionist" becoming especially recognised and distinguished abroad as one of the brightest representatives of the followers of Impressionism in the USSR. He has always been considered as an unrivalled master of pastel graphics with his own unique style among Soviet artists. Indeed, his curiosity and desire to experiment made it impossible to limit himself to just one means of artistic expression and a single genre. Thus, Konstantin Lomykin was an incredibly productive artist who tried his hand at everything: portrait, landscape, still life, thematic paintings. The artist also worked with all kinds of materials to achieve a particular effect for his idea. However, he had a special preference for a rather complex but aesthetic technique of drawing, which, as clearly represented by the "Sitting Nude", he achieved only with the help of pastel. The painting reflects courage and boldness in line, colour, composition and artistic manner. Konstantin Lomykin quite often depicted nude figures which fully exposes his exceptional gift as one of an excellent drawer. His special talent lies in the ability to convey an individual gesture, a lively and relaxed pose of a model, spirituality and sincerity of the figure. Pastel, as a material, contains all the most necessary qualities for such depiction of a naked human body. Lomykin sought to combine the expressiveness of drawing and colour, which made an appeal to the technique of pastel inevitable in his work. The artist was able to maintain the purity of colour, as when working with pastel crayons, strokes are applied to paper or cardboard next to each other, rather than being mixed. Thus, Lomykin was able to create a fascinating play of light and shadow, keep the freshness of tones and fill the work with vibration, movement.

Undoubtedly, Konstantin Lomykin was not the only one in the history of art, who so masterly managed to benefit from using the technique of pastel, which dates back to the XV century. Surprisingly, Leonardo da Vinci has mentioned this material in his scientific treatises about science and art. Only at the beginning of the second half of the XVII century the French word that we use today was introduced to the wider public. If during the Renaissance the artists were usually painting with pastel just for preparatory sketches and any educational reasons without paying much attention to it, then since the Enlightenment, pastel has been used instead to create masterpieces by such famous artists as Maurice de La Tour, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, John Russell and Jean Etienne Liotard. However, the greatest fame and recognition among artists, this material obtained in France, in the XIX century, thanks to the art group called "Nabi", as well as such outstanding artists as Edward Manet, Pierre Bonnard, Edgar Degas, Jean Edward Vuillard and Alfred Sisley. Taking into account not only the material but also the plot, the works of the most prominent and brightest representative of the impressionist movement, Edgar Degas, are the closest to the works of Konstantin Lomykin. In addition to nudes, like Degas, Lomykin also painted ballerinas: "Warm-up" (1972), "Resting ballerinas" (1978), "Getting right pointe shoes" (1979). Both artists in their works revealed the beauty of the movement and expression of each moment, each action, whether it is a regular rehearsal, a lesson in the ballet class or the final preparation for the performance. Degas was fond of working in pastel technique for a century earlier than Lomykin, in the 1870s. However, the aspirations of both artists were similar: they were masters of a depiction of form through the line, stroke, or contour. Sometimes they could breathe life into the picture with just a few shades, although in another work they created a complex colour scheme. The technique of pastel has given an opportunity to Degas and Lomykin to show their obsession with the expressive line, while the "shimmering", quick stroke brings an exceptional atmosphere of lightness, iridescent, meaningful movement, "life at the moment". Degas himself said that pastel turned him into "a colourist through the line". Lomykin and Degas are similar in their passion for free, bold manner of drawing with angular, broken, swift strokes. "Sitting Nude" does not contain unimportant details, it is not overloaded with objects, and is entirely focused on displaying the plasticity of a particular female figure in motion. Here Konstantin Lomykin took over the experience of his French colleague and created a feeling of "peeping through the keyhole", which shocked the French public in the works of Degas. The artist does not embellish or praise the female body; he is the most truthful and sincere in his vision. Once Degas was ridiculed for exposing the ideal of women, which had been so meticulously created over the centuries. However, the French artist replied: "to this day, nudity was presented in a position that implied the presence of the audience. My models are honest creatures, they do not think about anything else, but are immersed in their activities". Lomykin, a worthy successor of the artistic ideals of Edgar Degas, has created a work that is the embodiment of a sincere moment, swift and beautiful in its immediacy.