Leonid Osipovich Pasternak is a versatile and very talented person. He managed to convey his gift and creativity to his children, among whom was the world famous writer Boris Pasternak, the author of the brilliant novel Doctor Zhivago.
The childhood of the future artist, graphic artist, illustrator and writer passed in Odessa, in a large Jewish family with six children. Leonid’s father, who was then called Avrum Yitzhok-Leib Pasternak (or Posternak, this spelling is found in several historical documents), and the whole family, did not approve of the boy’s passion for art from the Jewish family, but did not prevent him. In those days, Odessa was one of the few large cities of the Russian Empire, where Jews were free to live and do business, so commerce flourished especially among them. Leonid's grandfather, Kiva-Yitzhok, was one of those people who founded the Jewish funeral brotherhood in Odessa.
But the boy was undoubtedly talented and immensely passionate about his art, so he did not follow in the footsteps of his ancestors and began studying at the drawing school, which later became the famous art school named after M. Grekov. However, he did not immediately come to the future profession, trying to find himself in medicine (Moscow University, 2 years) and jurisprudence (Odessa Novorossiysk University, from 1883 to 1885). Even during his studies, he did not leave his passion for painting and soon realized that it was he who he wanted to do in the future.
The level of his skill was so high that one of the paintings turned out to be acquired by Tretyakov for his art gallery. After that, Pasternak decided to move to Moscow, where he successfully married and started a family. In total, four children were born in the family - two sons and two daughters.
Pasternak's artistic career in Moscow is developing safely. He becomes a participant in the regular exhibitions of the Wanderers, a member of the famous association "World of Art". For a decade in 1880 he taught at the School of Fine Arts Gunst A.O., in 1894 he was invited to work at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, which later became famous throughout the country VKhUTEMAS. Interestingly, with the consent to teaching, Pasternak specifically indicated that he did not intend to be baptized into Orthodoxy. But the name still did not use what his parents gave him at birth.
He took the revolution with restraint, but did not accept it. In 1921, Pasternak with his daughters and wife left for an operation in Germany and never returned to their homeland. During his life abroad, he created famous portraits of famous people, for example, Albert Einstein, Rainer Maria Rilke and John Osborne. In 1924, he happened to be on an expedition to Palestine, which conducted historical and ethnographic research. The year before, he had written and published the book Rembrandt and Jewry in His Work.
When life in Germany, due to the Nazis coming to power, became dangerous for Jews, Pasternak left the country in 1938 and settled in the UK, in Oxford, where he died in 1945.
The merits of the artist appreciated in Israel - his name is one of the streets of Tel Aviv. A memorial plaque in honor of a talented native of the city was opened in Odessa.