Iurii Pen

Pen, Iurii Moiseevich


Born May 24 (June 5), 1854, in Novoaleksandrovsk, present-day Zarasai, Lithuanian SSR; died Mar. 1, 1937, in Vitebsk. Soviet painter.

Pen studied at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts under P. P. Chistiakov from 1881 to 1886. In 1891 he settled in Vitebsk, where he founded Byelorussia’s first art studio (1892–1918). His pupils included M. Chagall and S. B. Iudovin.

In the 1890’s and the early years of the 20th century, Pen painted a number of landscapes, for example, Street in Vitebsk. His works are truthful renderings of ethnic types (The Old Soldier, 1902; The Old Tailor), the revolutionary events of 1905 (After the Strike), and the everyday life of the Jewish poor (Divorce). After 1917, Pen depicted the new life of the Soviet people (The Shoemaker-Komsomol Worker, 1925). The artist’s works combine elements of portraiture and genre painting. (The paintings mentioned in this article are all in the Art Museum of the Byelorussian SSR in Minsk.)