Thursday ART ATTACK- Pavel Filonov "A Peasant Family (The Holy Family)

Pavel Filonov was born on January 8th 1883 in Moscow, Russia. He moved with his family to St. Petersburg  in 1897 where he began several apprenticeships under various artists in the area. Filonov applied to the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts in 1908 and was accepted his first try; which was a big deal. Even though the Academy tought Art in the classical fashion young Russian artists where heavily exposed to the collections of modern art in the east. Russian collectors had the most expansive collections of post expressionism art from Matisse to Picasso and Ganguine to Vango. Students where given free entrance to all the galleries and took inspiration form what they were seeing and used that inspiration to change the face of Russian painting. 

Just two years after being accepted into the Academy, Filonov was expelled in 1910 for not following the rules of painting put in place by his instructors. Leaving school he became apart of a group of painters known as the Neo-Primitivists. However, Filonov's work differs greatly from any other artist in this group and strives to tackle more diverse issues in composition and form. Filonov found problems with cubism, and other popular styles of the time, that he wished to address with his self proclaimed style of Analytical Realism. 

He became highly recognized as one of the best avant-garde artists in Russia and gained a large following. Just as Filonov had reached success WWI erupted. Filonov enlisted and served in action throughout most of the war. After the war he began to work once again creating even more visually and symbolically complex work with the help of his WWI experiences. He was asked to teach at St. Petersburg Academy of Arts; the school that had previously expelled him. He accepted and was viewed as a naturally gifted teacher inspiring many of the future Russian artists.|

One very unique characteristic of Filonov was that he never sold his work. No matter how many times someone asked or offered him he would not sell a single piece. This was because he believed in the idea that all the works as a whole create an enormous work of their own, a cohesive time line of the artist evolution. He would not sell a painting because he didn't want to separate them from one another because then the timeline would be incomplete. Filonov had made arrangements to donate his entire body of work to the Russian Musuem to be displayed together. Tragically before this was able to happen Filonov was killed in the Nazi siege of Leningrad in 1941. 

Soon after his death both his studio and residence where looted and a majority of the collection was lost. However, everyone who stole one of Filonov's paintings died rather soon after do to out of the ordinary causes. Soon the whole collection was restored and now hangs in the Russian Musuem. 

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