Viktor Ivanovich Ivanov

Viktor Ivanovich Ivanov

  • Laureate of the State prize of the USSR (1968)
  • Laureate of the State prize of the RSFSR named after I. Repin (1989)
  • The Order Of Friendship (1995)
  • State prize of the Russian Federation (1996)
  • The Order Of Honour (2000)
  • Honoured artist of the RSFSR (1968)
  • Corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Arts (1978)
  • Academician of the USSR Academy of Arts (1988)
  • People's artist of the USSR (1990)
Viktor Ivanovich Ivanov is an outstanding Soviet and Russian artist-philosopher whose most remarkable and distinguished artistic career's period happened to be during the 1960s. He was reflecting on human life through his majestic monumental paintings of 'severe' style. Also, a devoted follower of the Soviet Realist school of painting and admirer of the patriarchal life of the Russian village, Ivanov was a respected academician and possessor of numerous state awards, ranks and titles. The artist was born on August 2, 1924, in Moscow into a simple family of a Moscow-born father and a peasant woman from Ryazan, who had come to work in the capital because of the financial needs. Despite his family being absolutely detached from the arts and aesthetic education, Ivanov showed enthusiasm towards drawing and a promising ability to do it properly at an early age. The boy was sent to the art studio of the Pioneers Palace under the leadership of a talented painter Alexander Mikhailov. The young man entered the Moscow Art School for artistically gifted children in 1939. As a master of pencil drawing, Ivanov, even at the age of fourteen, has already deftly sketched objects of peasant life and portrayed villagers of his mother's native land. As the artist himself later proclaimed: 'My creativity, views, and beliefs are all the result of being rooted in the land of Ryazan'. The village has played a significant role in the artist's life especially during the war years: he was evacuated together with his art school group in a Bashkir village.

Ivanov entered the Moscow State Art Institute named after V. I. Surikov in 1944. Ivanov's curious mind, strong personality and highly aesthetic view of the world have created an honoured reputation for the artist among his fellow students and colleagues. His teachers were V. V. Pochitalov, A. M. Gritsai, A. A. Osmerkin, V. N. Yakovlev, Y. P. Kugach. The artist began to participate in the youth exhibitions starting from 1950, and since then has continued to actively and successfully display his work at the all-Union, Republican, and international art exhibitions. Ivanov joined the Union of Artists of the USSR in 1951. Ivanov had begun to define his creative path already during his study process at the institute, when he turned to the genuine, rough reality of the modern village, the cycle of human life, the moral foundations and values of peasant existence and universal questions of being. Dating from early periods of Ivanov's art, his paintings have expressed severe grandeur of time, but simultaneously, they showed a dynamic, pronounced connection with modernity, which has been relevant for the contemporary world. The artist has claimed: 'I admire the beauty of the earth and the beauty of man. My only desire is to convey this beauty, to convey an amazing combination of modern and what has always lived, lives, and will live among the people'.

The artist began teaching painting in 1952, when he received the position in the Moscow Secondary Art School at the Institute named after V. I. Surikov. In 1957, the artist undertook a fundamental step for his creative career starting to work on his cycle of paintings called 'Russian Women' and also portraits devoted to Ryazan's peasants. Ivanov is largely responsible for creating the image of a true Russian woman of the second half of the XX century. This character of Ivanov's paintings is the backbone of her family and homeland: she is working tirelessly, raising her children, contributing to the public well-being and surrounds her beloved ones with love and care. Despite his powerful attraction to the Russian village, Ivanov did not limit his horizons only to familiar landscapes. For three years, from 1959 to 1962, the artist was making creative trips to Egypt, Italy, Syria, and even visited distant Mexico and Cuba. As a result of these visits, the artist's oeuvre was enriched and developed with something that was atypical for Ivanov's subject matters. An example of the inspiration derived from one of those journeys can be the portrait of a young Fidel Castro. In 1968, Ivanov was appointed to the post of Secretary of the Board of the Union of Artists of the RSFSR, which he held for the next thirteen years. Since 1976, Ivanov's solo exhibitions have occurred repeatedly in Moscow and many other cities of the Soviet Union and Russia. The artist always returns to his special place, the most valuable for his inspiration, his native village Ryassi near Ryazan. In 2004, Ivanov contributed to the opening of the art gallery of painting and drawing in Ryazan, donating many of his works to the museum. The artist's works are exhibited in the State Tretyakov Gallery, Ryazan Regional Art Museum, the State Russian Museum, and in other national and international galleries, as well as in private collections. Ivanov's self-portrait can be found in the collection of the Uffizi gallery in Florence.


Зайцева М.В. (2011) Виктор Иванов в собрании Рязанского государственного музея им. И.П. Пожалостина и галереи "Виктор Иванов и земля Рязанская". В 2-х томах. Рязань: Приз.
Комова Н.К. (1976) Виктор Иванов. Живопись. Рисунок. Каталог. Москва: Советский художник.
Сысоев В.П. (2002) Виктор Иванов. Москва: Белый город.