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Veniamin N.Popov (1869-1945)

The artist, the founder of realistic professional painting in Karelia,
the disciple of Ilya E.Repin

Veniamin N.Popov was born on July 27th, 1869 in the Perm province. In 1891 he had entered the the Art School at the Petersburg Academy of Arts, and upon graduation worked on probation in Ilya Repin's studio.

Veniamin Popov's degree work Thrown Ashore (Sailing Boat) has been purchased by the museum of Kazan Art School. His painting At Weaving, painted under Ilya Repin's direction was shown at exhibitions in Moscow in 1898, in Munich in 1901, and in St.Louis (France) in 1904, and has gained international recognition.

In 1911 Veniamin Popov came to Karelia for the first time and since then his creativity is inextricably related to our land.

At the exhibition in St.-Petersburg in spring of 1912 Kivatch Waterfalls painting appears which reproduction is stored in the National archive of the RK (now the location of the painting it is not known, etudes for it are stored in the Karelian state museum of the RK).

This painting has started the Karelian theme in the artist's creativity. In 1914 at the exhibition in Petersburg Veniamin Popov's painting Karelian Bride was exhibited, Karelian Woman painting followed. In 1915 under the order of the Academy of Science the artist paintes the portrait of the native of Karelia the Moscow University Professor F.Fortunatov.

In 1919 V.N.Popov finally moves to his permanent residence in the city of Petrozavodsk. Here, alongside with painting, he continues his pedagogical activity started in Petersburg.

Documents of the National archive of the RK testify in full to this period of the artist's life.

From 1919 to 1921 he was a teacher, and since April 1920 has become a director of the first art school in Karelia which called Petrozavodsk art school-studio.

Painting fundamentals, history of art were taught, were exercise landscape works held, excursions to museums of Petrograd were organized at school.

V.N.Popov personally studied national crafts of this land to which the report made by the artist on his business trip to the village of Shuya testifies.

The school has opened the way to art for such nowadays famous artists as A.Katseblin, the first national grant-aided student from Karelia in the Academy of Arts M.Makarievsky, one of the organizers of the Karelian branch of the Union of Artists A.Mitrofanov, the architect of Petrozavodsk, etc.

For about 15 years Veniamin Popov was the teacher of drawing in the Russian pedagogical technical school of Petrozavodsk. The report of teachers of arts of the technical school of October, 27 1922 testifies to his creative attitude to teaching the favourite subject telling about V.Popov's development of the program for teaching drawing in this educational institution.

From 1936 to 1941 Veniamin Popov taught drawing and painting in the fine art studio organized at the Central House of culture in Petrozavodsk.

The studio has brought up many artists of Karelia. Among them there are the national artist of RSFSR S.H.Juntunen, the critic T.A.Hakkarajnen, the artist K.L.Butorov, etc.

Veniamin Popov was able to combine his pedagogical activity with the creativity of the artist. In 1921 the exhibition of works of pupils of Petrozavodsk art school and its teachers V.N.Popov and A.J.Andrianov was a success, in 1928 the first personal exhibition of works of Veniamin Popov was held in Petrozavodsk.

In 1937 during the decade of the Karelian art in Leningrad, as newspapers of that time informed, Veniamin Popov's paintings caused special interest among visitors. Among them there were:

  • Girvas Falls on the River Suna
  • Voitsky Falls
  • Winter Tractor Timber-Carrying
  • Whitebait Ice Fishing

The same year one of the best Popov's paintings Autumn in Karelia appeared. It was exhibited at the personal exhibition of the artist devoted to the 40th anniversary of his creative labour.

The gifted artist realist Veniamin Popov has made a number of paintings devoted to historical and military subjects. The National Archives of the RK has reproductions of Meeting of the Bolshevik Cell of Alexandrovsky Plant and Frontier Guards.

The archive also has Veniamin Popov's letters written by the artist to his friends V.M.Agapov and E.M.Lavrinenko in 1942-1943, where he spoke of his loneliness, hopelessness, famine, felt keenly about loss of his comrades and friends, told what he knew on the work of the artists of Karelia during the war.

Many-sided creativity of the artist realist Veniamin Popov has been highly appreciated in our republic. Under the petition of the Karelian branch of the Union of Soviet Artists in 1939 Veniamin Popov was awarded with the rank of the Honored Artist of Karelian ASSR.

In 1944 he became the first National Artist of the republic.

Many of Veniamin Popov's paintings were lost within the war. The rest are stored, basically, in the Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Karelia and in the Karelian State Museum. Reproductions performed by photographers A.Ankudinov, V.Ivanov, and V.Kotov remained in the National Archives of the RK.

The reproduction of the natural portrait of Veniamin Popov painted by the artist Georgy Stronk by in 1940 is also kept in the archives. This portrait has Veniamin Popov's autograph he had made to approve another artists' job.

Veniamin Popov's name is remembered in our republic today as well. Numerous catalogues of his paintings exhibited at exhibitions both in museums of Karelia and beyond its bounds testify to it.

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Created: December 2, 2004. Last updated: January 18, 2005.
© State Committee of the RK for ICT Development, 1998-2015