The biography of the painter Bogdanov-Belsky is very interesting: from birth in a remote poor village to an outstanding master with a huge creative heritage.
Nikolay Petrovich was born in the Smolensk province (now it is the Tver region), in the village of Shitiki in December 1868. Nothing is known about the father, and the mother was hired by the laborer to the local landowners. The surname Bogdanov was given to him at birth, as “a given god.” Nikolai learned to read a letter at a local church, in a parish school. At an early age, he already showed a penchant for and ability to draw, which were noticed by the famous founder of public schools, Rachinsky Sergey Alexandrovich.
Rachinsky, taking an active part in the life of Bogdanov, in 1882 gave the boy to paint icons in the Trinity-Sergius Lavra. And in 1884, at the age of 16, Nikolai studied at the famous Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, after spending 5 years there.
He learns from the famous artists of the Wanderers: Makovsky V.E. and Pryanishnikov I.M. Subsequently, in 1895, Bogdanov himself becomes a member of the Association of Wanderers. Also, his teacher was Polenov Vasily Dmitrievich.
Rachinsky monitors the success of the student and helps him with financial support. But from the age of 18, Bogdanov was able to earn his living by selling paintings. His undoubted talents, he immediately attracts attention with his works.
And his thesis “The Future Monk”, written in 1891, became widely known due to the fact that it was bought by the Empress Maria Fedorovna, the wife of Alexander III. Bogdanov was awarded a silver medal and the level of qualification - “cool artist”.
Now he is already a recognizable artist, in 1895 he entered the workshop of Repin at the Imperial Academy of Arts. He has enough money to go to Europe to study.
Bogdanov chooses Paris, studies in the studio of the French artist-realist Fernand Cormon, works in Bavaria and Italy.
In 1903, completing his studies at the Academy of Arts, Nikolai Petrovich acquired a double surname. Emperor Nicholas II, signing a diploma of completion of studies, appended to the name "Bogdanov" through a hyphen - "Belsky".
At the age of 37, Bogdanov-Belsky became an academician, and since 1914 he is a full member of the Academy of Arts.
Over the entire period of time, the artist painted such paintings as “Reading a letter”, “Oral score”, “Children at the piano”, “Portrait of Yusupov” and many others.
Basically Bogdanov-Belsky writes on peasant topics, ordinary children of the poor, barefoot village boys and girls against the backdrop of picturesque Russian landscapes.
He is a public figure, is a member of various art societies, including was the chairman of the creative association of artists of St. Petersburg named after A.I. Kuindzhi until 1918.
The revolution of 1917, Nikolai Petrovich could not understand and accept. His works do not participate in exhibitions, are not sold due to difficulties with the new government. And in 1921, Bogdanov-Belsky left Russia, leaving for the Baltic states.
In Latvia, the artist lived for 23 years. He has a "second wind". He is actively joining the immigrant and creative life of Riga. Participates in exhibitions, holds solo exhibitions.
In 1930, Nikolai Petrovich received the highest state award of the Republic of Latvia for his merits in social and cultural activities.
Bogdanov-Belsky is imbued with the beautiful, quiet nature of the Baltic states, he writes many landscapes, but he also does not leave a childish theme.
“Balinovo. Latgalian landscape ”,“ Shepherdess ”,“ To school ”,“ A small concert with a balalaika ”- this is a small fraction of what the artist created.
During the Second World War, Bogdanov stayed to live in Latvia. In 1944, he became seriously ill and, together with his wife, went for treatment to Berlin.
Nikolai Petrovich died before he lived only two months before the end of the war. His grave is located in the Berlin cemetery Tegel.
The paintings of the Russian artist Bogdanov-Belsky can be seen in museums around the world, but, unfortunately, he is almost forgotten at home. But all his work is very Russian, imbued with the "Russian spirit", the countryside, nature.
I would like the story of the life and work of such an extraordinary person and painter to wait for their research, study and due appreciation.