This talented artist is mostly familiar to us from the famous painting “Bathing the Red Horse”, written in 1912 and traditionally perceived as a harbinger of a revolution in Russia, although the master himself interpreted it as a subconscious sensation of an impending war (World War I). In fact, the artist was a very diverse gifted person and was engaged not only in painting, but also in ceramics, murals and the creation of sets for various theater sets.
He was born in a simple family of hereditary shoemakers in the city of Khvalynsk of the then Saratov province, in 1878. His father became famous for being the only shoemaker in the whole city who did not touch alcohol. The reason for this was the terrible tragedy of childhood, which gave the son the name "Vodkin" and a strong aversion to alcohol. His father, in a drunken stupor, stabbed his wife and soon died himself in terrible agony. Since the father was called Peter, his children acquired the name Petrova, and along the way, the nickname - Vodkina.
When Sergey Vodkin married Anna Petrova, somehow a double surname naturally arose, which began to be inherited.
Young Kuzma was not going to become an artist, he studied at the elementary school and planned to become a railway worker. However, as it sometimes happens, fate decreed in its own way. Acquaintance with icon painting amazed the young man, and he began to try his hand at art. He began to study in Samara with Fedor Burov, but the death was interrupted by the latter.
Fate once again intervened in the life of the master when his work caught the eye of the famous architect Robert-Friedrich Meltzer. He took the young man to St. Petersburg, where he helped him with his studies at the Central School of Technical Drawing, Baron Stieglitz, who later became better known to us as the Mukhinsky School.
The first work of Petrov-Vodkin as a mature independent artist is perfectly preserved to this day. This is an icon in the majolica technique on the wall of the church in Alexander Park. She impresses at the same time with the canonicity of the image, and innovative performance.
In 1897, the artist moved to Moscow, where until 1905 he studied at the School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in the class of Valentin Serov. The next three years he travels and studies in various European countries. At this time, modernism and symbolism had a strong influence on his painting. However, later on he developed his own original manner of writing, which can be considered an alloy of realism and several contemporary trends in painting.
In 1911, the artist became a member of the World of Art association, after 8 years - one of the co-founders of Wolfil - the Free Philosophical Association, which lasted until 1924.
In the Soviet period, the work of the master was in demand. He painted paintings, worked on graphics and created sets, taught, wrote articles on art, and devoted himself to literary activity with pleasure.
In 1932, he became the first chairman of the branch of the Union of Soviet Artists in Leningrad. The master died in 1939, leaving behind a huge material and spiritual heritage.