Mikhail Larionov

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Larionov, Mikhail Fedorovich


Born May 22 (June 3), 1881, near Tiraspol’, Moldavia; died May 10, 1964, in Fontenay-aux-Roses, France. Russian painter, graphic artist, and stage designer.

Larionov studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture from 1898 to 1910 under A. Serov and I. I. Levitan. From 1902 to 1906 he worked in the late impressionist style—for example, Lilac Bush in Flower (1904, Tret’iakov Gallery). He visited Paris in 1906, and, influenced by fauvism and naïve art (that is, lubok, or cheap popular prints, and commercial signs), began painting in the primitivist manner in 1907. With a precise line and richly decorative coloring, he painted harshly grotesque scenes from provincial and military life—for example, Soldier at Rest, 1911, and Spring, 1912 (both in the Tret’iakov Gallery).

In the early 20th century, Larionov and N. S. Goncharova began organizing exhibitions by Moscow’s “leftist” artists, including the groups Jack of Diamonds (1910), The Donkey’s Tail (1912), and Target (1913). The contradictions in his art led him to create rayonism (luchizm) in 1911. One of the first examples of abstract art, it proved to be a dead end as an artistic system. In the second decade of this century, Larionov did illustrations for the futurist poets, including Pomade by Kruchenykh, published in 1912.

After 1915, living in Paris, he designed decor and costumes for S. P. Diaghilev’s ballet company: two of his productions were Liadov’s Russian Tales (1916, with Goncharova) and Prokofiev’s Joker (1921). He returned to his earlier painting style, creating intimate genre paintings and still lifes.


Luchizm. Moscow, 1913.


Istoriia russkogo iskusstva, vol. 10, book 2. Moscow, 1969. Pages 38, 104, 125–30.
Sarab’ianov, D. “Primitivistskii period ν tvorchestve Mikhaila Larionova.” Russkaia zhivopis’ kontsa 1900-x - nachala 1910-x godov. Moscow, 1971.
George, W. Larionov. Paris, 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
While at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, Goncharova met fellow student Mikhail Larionov, who became her life partner and collaborator, and the chief promoter of her work.
The collection on display at the Hungarian National Gallery between late January and May will include paintings by Kazimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinsky, Alexander Rodchenko, El Lissitzky, Natalia Goncharova and those of her husband, Mikhail Larionov. Art historian Mariann Gergely, a researcher of the era and the curator of the exhibition pointed out to budapestinfo.hu that seeing these original works of art up front and personal is a unique opportunity.
Mikhail Larionov and the cultural politics of late imperial Russia.
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Ever since Camilla Gray's The Great Experiment (1962) Natalia Goncharova has seemed especially icon-attuned, along with her husband Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich, and rather differently, Vladimir Tatlin.
When she enrolled in sculpture classes at the progressive Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, (2) Goncharova met Mikhail Larionov. The two became lifelong companions as well as artistic partners, and their relationship would have a profound effect on the promotion and public reception of the artist and her work.
Of special interest are Russian Futurist works that combine seasonal subject matter and geometric patterning, such as Mikhail Larionov's painting Spring, 1912, or the nature-inspired poetry of his compatriot Velimir Khlebnikov, who invented a mystical cult of geometry that proclaimed history to be an illusion.
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A fascination with the Russian avant garde led him to purchase the works of Kasimir Malevich and Mikhail Larionov, as well as such female painters as Liubov Popova, Olga Rozova and Natalia Goncharova.
Artists of the Russian avant-garde such as Alexander Archipenko, Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich, and Liubov Popova combined political and social concerns with their stylistic innovations.
Robbins' collection included drawings by Elie Nadelman, oils by Ralph Fasanella, and set and costume designs for the Ballets Russes by Leon Bakst, Mikhail Larionov and Alexander Benois.
Thanks to Shchukin's extraordinary ability to select only representative masterpieces, Russian artists such as Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich, Vladimir Tatlin and others among their revolutionary contemporaries were able to acquire an immediate understanding of the latest and most important developments in modern art without even having to go to Paris.