The State Memorial and Natural Preserve "Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy "Yasnaya Polyana"
  • krokus.jpg
  • kucherskaya.jpg
  • midpond.jpg
  • pond_eng.JPG
  • pond_eng2.jpg
  • veranda.jpg
Exhibition: The Known Unknown Boris Kustodiev
kustodiev2November 11 - December 18, 2016
Yasnaya Polyana Gallery

The opening of the exhibition will take place on November 10 at 17:00.

The Known Unknown Boris Kustodiev exhibition reveals little-known facets of the artist Boris Kustodiev‘s (1878-1927) creative heritage. Thanks to the materials provided by the P.M. Dogadin Picture Gallery in Astrakhan and its branch – the B.M. Kustodiev House-Museum--visitors to the exhibition have a unique opportunity to plunge into the master‘s creative and family world, and to feel how and in what kind of atmosphere his great works were created. 

A talented portrayer of everyday life, a master of the psychological portrait, book illustrator and theater decorator, Boris Kustodiev created significant works almost in all genres of fine art. His talent showed especially strongly in poetical paintings depicting simple folk’s life; in them, the artist managed to convey the inexhaustible strength and beauty of the Russian soul. Since our school years, we all have known his portraits of Roerich, Voloshin, Shalyapin, and such paintings as The Merchant’s Wife and the grandiose canvas Bolshevik. But few are aware that the famous painter Boris Kustodiev was also a wonderful photographer. 


The first part of the exhibition is based on photographs from the family album donated to the Astrakhan Picture Gallery by the artist’s granddaughter, the well-known Russian art historian Tatiana Kustodieva, in 2009. The works are grouped according to several sections: The Family, Creative Work, Travels, Pavlovskoye, The Terem House, and Astrakhan – the Beloved City.

The exhibition features 45 photographs, most of which were taken by Boris Kustodiev himself, and some by his wife Yulia Proshinskaya and his brother Mikhail. The collection includes views of old Astrakhan captured by Kustodiev during his visits to his home town in 1903 and 1912. Some photos are related to visits to Kostroma Region where the artist’s house-studio, the so-called Terem, was located. Some of the photos taken in 1903-1905 have never been published.

These photographs help reveal some professional secrets of the well-known artist’s works. For example, it’s an interesting fact that some of these photographs were staged and were later used during the work on sketches and paintings. Kustodiev often saw his future paintings’ subject through the lens of his camera. Thus, the painting Astrakhan is based on a photograph showing people unloading water-melons in the port. Later the painting was lost, but the photo has been preserved. 


The second part of the exhibition includes Kustodiev‘s autolithographs, in which the artist “translated“ the rich colorfulness of his genre paintings into black-and-white graphic language. Kustodiev began mastering this kind of art in the last years of his life. In the early 1920s, when the country had not yet quite recovered after the Civil War, printing offices had no access to industrial polygraphical ways of reproducing original graphics and had to go back to manual ways and making printing forms, including lithography. Boris Kustodiev did drawings with a lithographical crayon on cornpaper, and then they were transferred to the lithographic stone.

Working in the technique of lithography, in the fall of 1921 Kustodiev created in Old Russa a series of drawings, which later formed the core of the album Sixteen Autolithographs published by the Committee of Promoting Art Publications. Some of the sheets, though, were based on Kustodiev’s pre-revolutionary works (The Tavern, 1916; and The Vicar Bishop, 1917). The edition included 14 lithographs, plus the title page and the contents page decorated with vignettes; everything was lithographed with the artist’s direct involvement.

Lithographing added a special poetical and musical shade to Kustodiev’s vivid colorful canvases. The melodic rhythm and the precise ornamentation of his compositions came into the foreground. Reproduced in graphical form, Kustodiev’s paintings acquired new characteristics. Critics commented on the abundance of expressive details and scenes catching one’s eye, and the charming color of the bygone life of Russian merchants.

The exhibition is held as part of the Unknown Things about Known People annual project of the Yasnaya Polyana Museum. It can be visited Wednesday to Sunday from 11:00 to 19:00. Admission costs: free of charge for visitors under 16; 15 rubles for a discounted ticket; 30 rubles for a full-price ticket. Cost of a guided tour: 30 rubles for a discounted ticket and visitor under 16; 45 rubles for a full-price ticket. 


Оценка услуг

Thematic sites


Отзывы о Ясной Поляне на