A Self-Portrait (Ivan Kulikov, 1939)
KULIKOV Ivan Semyonovich
Born: 1 April 1870
Died: 15 December 1945
Ivan Semyonovich Kulikov, what can we say of him? He was not an ordinary painter; he was also a teacher, and an author of insightful portraits and a faithful and loving depicter of the Russian way of life. His life was bookended by the Vladimir region, for he was born in Murom, Vladimir guberniya, and died in the same city (which was now in Vladimir oblast). His initial artistic training was at the drawing school of the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts (1893-96), where one of his instructors was the well-known painter and graphic artist Ernest Lipgardt. At the Academy of Fine Arts (1896-1902), his instructors influenced him greatly, especially the Peredvizhniki masters Vladimir Makovsky and Ilya Repin. Whilst he was studying at the Academy, he assisted Ilya Repin in the painting ofA Ceremonial Meeting of the State Council (1900). In 1902, Ivan Semyonovich completed his studies after winning a gold medal for his paintings In a Peasant Izba and A Portrait of the Architect V. A. Shchuko. He also won a three-year sabbatical abroad at the expense of the Academy and formal recognition as an artist. To be honest, the three years he spent in Italy and France did not influence his style greatly. In 1904 and 1912, he won the first prize at the Competition of the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, and he won a silver medal at the World Exhibition in Liège. Ivan Semyonovich was named an academician of painting in 1915.
The best creative period of Kulikov was between 1910 and 1915. By 1915, the guns of war were speaking. If the First World War left some unaffected, the ensuing Revolution and Civil War was a tragedy for all Russians without exception. Some, of course, emigrated with the White Army. However, Kulikov returned to his hometown of Murom and resumed his work there. From 1930, he taught at the art studio of Murom. In both Murom and the village of Pavlov, he contributed to the local museums. In short, Ivan Semyonovich sowed nothing but good, which cannot help being beautiful.