by Vadim NARTSISSOV, art critic, State Tretyakov Picture Gallery, Moscow
There is a small outhouse standing deep within one of Moscow's little courtyards. A place many would like to see. Grossing the threshold of this rather unprepossessing annex, you enter a real kingdom of painting. This is the memorial museum of Pavel Korin, an eminent Russian portrait-painter and restorer. A branch of the Tretyakov Picture Gallery today, the Korin art studio offers a rich collection of exhibits acquainting guests with the artist's heritage and with the world-famous sampling of Old Russia's art he has gathered.
Pavel Dmitrievich Korin was born in 1892 at Palekh, a village in the Vladimir province, whose name is known to every art lover here. His father was a peasant icon- painter. Reared in the atmosphere of lofty spirituality, the boy imbibed folk art motifs from the tender nail and learned the ABC of painting which he further developed to proficiency in 1912 to 1916 at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture under such famous masters of the day as Konstantin Korovin and Sergei
Malyutin. At age 20 Pavel Korin became a full-fledged master of the brush.
One of his tutors, a prominent Russian painter Mikhail Nesterov, saw a rare combination of talent, diligence and sublime inspiration in the young man and compared him to a "youth from Del Ghirlandaio's fresco". That's how Nesterov pictured Pavel Korin in 1925-after the image of a High Renaissance maestro. The canvas shows Korin holding a palette and contemplating his creation, unfinished yet. The artist's visage is radiant, all agleam against Our Lady's image showing through a backdrop of darkness. In this wise Nesterov sought to depict Korin's self-sacrificing feat and religiosity in his dedicated service to his Fatherland and its people: the young painter undertook his epic God-loving work, Requiem , in the years of rampant atheism.
Much later, in the grim war year of 1942, Nesterov wrote these ... Read more