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Kuindzhi, Arkhip Ivanovich
Born January 1841 in Mariupol’, present-day Zhdanov; died July 11 (24), 1910, in St. Petersburg. Russian landscape painter.
Kuindzhi was the son of a Greek shoemaker. Although he attended the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts in 1868 (member in 1893), he was basically a self-taught painter. From 1875 to 1879 he was a peredvizhnik —a member of the Society of Wandering Art Exhibitions (a progressive art movement).
During his early period, Kuindzhi was influenced by I. K. Aivazovskii. In the mid-1870’s he painted in the spirit of the peredvizhniki a number of works in which the landscape motif was intended to evoke specific social associations (for example, The Forgotten Village, 1874; Oxcart Driver’s Road, 1875—both in the Tret’iakov Gallery). In his mature works Kuindzhi sought to convey poetically the expressive effects of light. Kuindzhi used compositional devices, such as a high horizon, that allowed him to create panoramic views. By using lighting effects and rich colors reduced to a few principal tones, he succeeded in creating an almost complete illusion of illumination in such works as Ukrainian Night, (1876, Tret’iakov Gallery), Birch Grove (1879, Tret’iakov Gallery), After the Thunderstorm (1879, Tret’iakov Gallery), and Night on the Dnieper (1880, Russian Museum, Leningrad). Kuindzhi’s late works are marked by a decorative quality and an emphasis upon the richness of his palette.
Kuindzhi taught at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts, becoming a professor there in 1892. In 1894 he became the head of the academy’s studio for landscape painting. In 1897 he was dismissed from the academy for his support of student disturbances. Kuindzhi’s students included A. A. Rylov, N. K. Rerikh, and K. F. Bogaevskii. In 1909 he initiated the establishment of the Society of Artists, which was later known as the A. I. Kuindzhi Society.
REFERENCESNevedomskii, M. P., and I. E. Repin. A. I. Kuindzhi. St. Petersburg, 1913.
Markov, V. A. I. Kuindzhi, Moscow, 1969. .