Aleksandr Artem

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Artem, Aleksandr Rodionovich


(pseudonym of A. R. Artem’ev). Born 1842 in the village of Stolpovo. Zaraisk District, Riazan’ Province; died May 16 (29), 1914, in Moscow. Russian actor. Son of a serf. Graduated from the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture in 1878 and worked for 25 years as a teacher of drawing and calligraphy. By the time he retired, Artem was already a well-known actor in the Moscow Art Theater.

Artem appeared in amateur performances from the early 1880’s. In 1888 he became a member of the Society of Art and Literature. He worked on the stage of the Moscow Art Theater from its inception (1898). His gifts as an actor unfolded most fully in the plays of A. P. Chekhov. With gentle humor, touching sincerity, and lyricism, he played the roles of Shamraev (The Seagull), Vaflia (Uncle Vanya), Chebutykin (Three Sisters), and Firs (The Cherry Orchard). Chekhov highly appreciated the actor’s talent—the roles of Chebutykin and Firs were written specifically for Artem. Among his best roles were Perchikhin (The Petite Bourgeoisie by Gorky) and Kuzovkin (The Boarder by Turgenev).


Durylin, S. N. “Artem, Stanislavskii, Chekhov.” In the collection K. S. Stanislavskii: Materialy, Pis’ma, Issledovaniia. Moscow, 1955. Pages 408–43.
Durylin, S. N. “Liubimyi akter Chekhova . . . .” Teatr i dramaturgiia, 1935, no. 2, pp. 17–25.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.