Ilya Glazunov, Russian (1930 - )

Ilya Glazunov (Russian: Илья Глазунов), contemporary Russian artist from Saint Petersburg, born in 1930. He holds the title of People's Artist of Russia, and serves as a rector at the Fine Arts Academy in Moscow (Russian: Российская академия живописи, ваяния и зодчества)

Ilya Glazunov’s paintings have mostly historic or religious themes. Famous works include Russia the Eternal, The 20th Century Mystery, The Ruination of the Temple on the Easter Night and illustrations to the works of Feodor Dostoyevsky.

Ilya Glazunov was one of the main advocates behind the restoration of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour (Moscow). In his recent years, Soviet statesman Mikhail Suslov formed a close relationship with Glazunov. After a long time spent out of favour, Glazunov was given permission for a massive solo exhibition in the Manège. In the 1980s Ilya Glazunov was associated with far-right Pamyat society and became known for his nationalistic views. Awarded "For Service to the Motherland" decoration by the President Vladimir Putin.

Artist’s father – Glazunov Sergey Fedorovich, a historian. Artist’s Mother – Glazunova Olga Konstantinovna. Ilya Glazunov survived WWII, and, in 1942, eleven-year-old Ilya was transported from besieged Leningrad along the “Road Of Life”. He stayed in the village of Greblo in the Novgorod region after his entire family parished from starvation. In 1944, he returned to Leningrad and studied in the secondary art school. From 1951 to 1957 he studied art under the direction of Professor B. Iaganson. In 1956, he was married to the love of his life—Nina Vinogradova-Benois. The image of the artist’s wife Nina is visible in many of his works. Nina Aleksandrovna was a descendant of the Benois family, a familiar name art history. Her uncle was the artistic director of the La Scala Opera for 30 years.

Glazunov's success at the International competition of Young Artists in Prague prompted the opening of his first single exhibition in Moscow. Soon enough he traveled to Italy for the first time to paint the portrait of the famous actress, Gina Lollobrigida. From 1978 Glazunov was teaching in the Moscow University of Art. Glazunov’s children—Ivan and Vera—have both become artists. His wife died in 1986.

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