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Arkhip Kuindzhi

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Arkhip Kuindzhi
Portrait of Arkhip Kuindzhi
Portrait of Kuindzhi by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1869
Born(1841-01-27)27 January 1841
Died24 July 1910(1910-07-24) (aged 69)
St. Petersburg, Russian Empire
EducationFull Member Academy of Arts (1893)
Alma materImperial Academy of Arts (1868)
Known forPainting
Notable work
AwardsBronze Medal (London, 1874)
Patron(s)Pavel Tretyakov

Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi (Russian: Архип Иванович Куинджи [ɐrˈxʲip kʊˈindʐɨ]; Greek: Αρχίπ Ιβάνοβιτς Κουίντζι; 27 January [O.S. 15 January] 1841 – 24 July [O.S. 11 July] 1910) was a Russian[1] landscape painter of Greek descent[2]

Date of birth[edit]

Kuindzhi's exact date of birth is not known. Although it was believed that he was born in 1842, the latest discoveries in archives suggest that he was born in 1841. Kuindzhi himself, when asked by St. Petersburg Academy of Arts to clarify his date of birth, "clearly wrote 1841, then, with doubt, January, and then several times crossed out the month".[3]

The researchers believe he was born somewhere between January and March 1841. The commonly recognized date is January 27, although Kuindzhi celebrated his name day on February 19 O.S. (March 4 N.S.), on the feast of Archippus.[3][4]


Arkhip Kuindzhi was born in Mariupol uezd (one of the subdivisions of the Yekaterinoslav Governorate of the Russian Empire) but spent his youth in the city of Taganrog. His Christian name is a Russian rendering of the Greek, Ἄρχιππος, (Archippos, from ἄρχος (archos) "master" and ἱππος (hippos) "horse": "master of horses"; cf. Colossians 4:17, Philemon 1:2) and his surname came from his grandfather's vocational nickname meaning 'goldsmith' in Crimean Tatar (Crimean Tatar: quyumcı).[2] He grew up in a poor family; his father was a Pontic Greek shoemaker, Ivan Khristoforovich Kuindzhi (elsewhere Emendzhi). Arkhip was six years old when he lost his parents, so he was forced to make a living working at a church building site, grazing domestic animals, and working at a corn merchant's shop. He received the rudiments of an education from a Greek friend of the family who was a teacher and then went to the local school.

In 1855, at age 13–14, Kuindzhi visited Feodosia to study art under Ivan Aivazovsky; however, he was engaged merely with mixing paints,[5] and instead studied with Adolf Fessler, Aivazovsky's student.[6] A 1903 encyclopedic article stated: "Although Kuindzhi cannot be called a student of Aivazovsky, the latter had without doubt some influence on him in the first period of his activity; from whom he borrowed much in the manner of painting".[7] English art historian John E. Bowlt wrote that "the elemental sense of light and form associated with Aivazovsky's sunsets, storms, and surging oceans permanently influenced the young Kuindzhi."[5]

During the five years from 1860 to 1865, Arkhip Kuindzhi worked as a retoucher in the photography studio of Simeon Isakovich in Taganrog. He tried to open his own photography studio, but without success. After that, Kuindzhi left Taganrog for Saint Petersburg.

He studied painting mainly independently and at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts (from 1868; a full member since 1893). He was co-partner of travelling art exhibitions (Peredvizhniki), a group of realist artists in Russia who, in protest to academic restrictions, formed an artists' cooperative which evolved into the Society for Traveling Art Exhibitions (Peredvizhniki) in 1870.

Portrait of Kuindzhi, 1870

In 1872, the artist left the academy and worked as a freelancer. The painting On the Valaam Island was the first artwork which Pavel Tretyakov acquired for his art gallery. In 1873, Kuindzhi exhibited his painting The Snow which received the bronze medal at the International Art Exhibition in London in 1874. In the middle of the 1870s, he created a number of paintings in which the landscape motif was designed for concrete social associations in the spirit of Peredvizhniki (Forgotten Village, 1874; Chumatski Path, 1875; both – in the Tretyakov Gallery).

In his mature period Kuindzhy aspired to capture the most expressive illuminative aspect of the natural condition. He applied composite receptions (high horizon, etc.), creating panoramic views. Using light effects and intense colors shown in main tones, he depicted the illusion of illumination (Evening in Ukraine, 1876; A Birch Grove, 1879; After a Thunderstorm, 1879; all three are in the Tretyakov Gallery; Moonlit Night on the Dnieper, 1880 in the Russian Museum, St. Petersburg). His later works are remarkable for their decorative effects of color building.

Kuindzhi also developed a close friendship with the chemist Dmitri Mendeleev,[8] who taught at Saint Petersburg University. Kuindzhi attended his classes as an auditor or student. Kuindzhi frequently visited Mendeleev and his wife's weekly gatherings, and he developed a life-long interest in the study of light, color, and perception.[9]

Kuindzhi lectured at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts (Professor since 1892; professor-head of landscape workshop since 1894; but was fired in 1897 for support of students' protests). Among his students were artists such as Arkady Rylov, Nicholas Roerich, Konstantin Bogaevsky, and others. Kuindzhi initiated the creation of the Society of Artists in 1909, later the Society was named after him.

Theft of works[edit]

In January 2019, his work Ai-Petri. Crimea was stolen from Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery, but was found and safely recovered the next day.[10] The man who stole the painting was sentenced to three years in prison.[11]

On 21 March 2022, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Kuindzhi Art Museum was destroyed in a Russian airstrike during the siege of Mariupol. None of Kuindzhi's original works were in the museum at the time, but the fate of paintings by other artists remains unknown.[12][13] Although three original paintings by Kuindzhi that had been held in the collection—a sketch for Red Sunset, and two preparatory works, Elbrus and Autumn—had been removed from the museum prior to the bombing, they were then taken by Russia as part of its looting campaign.[14][15][16]


On 27 January 2022, Google Doodle celebrated Arkhip Kuindzhi's 180th birthday.[17][18]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://electro.nekrasovka.ru/books/1319984/pages/9 |Title=. Я принужденъ заявить многоуважаемому г. Меньшикову, что я—русскій. Предки мои греки, которые еще при императрицѣ Екатеринѣ переселились съ южнаго берега Крыма и основали городъ Маріуполь и 24 деревни. Все сказанное мною подтвердитъ многоуважаемому г. Меньшикову мой зем лякъ Эльпе (Л. Поповъ), сотрудникъ „Новаго Времени“, съ которымъ я знакомъ съ дѣтства. 1 марта 1904 г. А. Куинджи“(In old Russian spelling)
  2. ^ a b "Biography of Arkhip Ivanovich Kuinji (1842-1910), Russian Artist". 2000. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b Марина Молошна (January 27, 2022). "Що не так з датою народження Куїнджі, та чому Google помилився, привітавши всіх з його 180-річчям". www.0629.com.ua (in Ukrainian). 0629.com.ua. Retrieved January 27, 2022.
  4. ^ "27 січня 1841 року народився український живописець-пейзажист Архип Куїнджі". dn.gov.ua (in Ukrainian). Governor of Donetsk Oblast. January 27, 2022.
  5. ^ a b Bowlt, John E. (1975). "A Russian Luminist School? Arkhip Kuindzhi's "Red Sunset on the Dnepr"". Metropolitan Museum Journal. 10. Metropolitan Museum of Art: 123–125. doi:10.2307/1512704. JSTOR 1512704. S2CID 192949837.
  6. ^ Manin, Vitaly [in Russian] (2000). Архип Куинджи (in Russian). Moskva: Belyĭ gorod. p. 6. ISBN 978-5-7793-0219-7. в Феодосию к знаменитому Айвазовскому. Куинджи прибыл в тихую Феодосию, по-видимому, летом 1855 года. ... Устройством Куинджи занялся Адольф Фесслер, ученик и копиист Айвазовского. Жил Архип во дворе под навесом в ...
  7. ^ "Куинджи Архип Иванович". Russian Biographical Dictionary (in Russian). Saint Petersburg: Imperial Russian Historical Society. 1903. Хотя Куинджи и нельзя назвать учеником Айвазовского, но последний имел на него, несомненно, некоторое влияние в первый период его деятельности; от него он заимствовал многое в манере писать, в выборе тем, в любви к широким пространствам. online view
  8. ^ Gordin, Michael D. (2019). A well-ordered thing : Dmitrii Mendeleev and the shadow of the periodic table (Revised ed.). Princeton. p. 182. ISBN 9780691172385.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  9. ^ Paranyuk, Viktoria (2019). "Painting Light Scientifically: Arkhip Kuindzhi's Intermedial Environment". Slavic Review. 78 (2): 456–480. doi:10.1017/slr.2019.97. S2CID 201412836.
  10. ^ "Painting stolen in Tretyakov Gallery heist 'not damaged', source says". TASS.
  11. ^ "Three Years For Stealing Painting From Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery". rferl.org. 25 September 2019.
  12. ^ "Mariupol museum dedicated to 19th-century artist Arkhip Kuindzhi destroyed by airstrike". The Art Newspaper. 23 March 2022. Archived from the original on 2022-03-26. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  13. ^ "In Mariupol occupiers destroyed an art museum that housed original works by Aivazovsky". Hromadske Radio. Archived from the original on 2022-04-01. Retrieved 2022-04-01.
  14. ^ Sorokina, Yanina (2022-07-06). "How Russia 'Removed' Priceless Kuindzhi Artworks from Ukraine's Mariupol". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 2023-03-24.
  15. ^ "Culture war: Russia ransacks art to rub out Ukraine's history". POLITICO. 2022-12-06. Retrieved 2023-03-24.
  16. ^ Bushard, Brian (2023-01-14). "These Are Some of the Most Famous Ukrainian Works of Art Looted by Russia". Forbes. Retrieved 2023-03-25.
  17. ^ Desk, OV Digital (2023-01-26). "27 January: Remembering Arkhip Kuindzhi on Birthday". Observer Voice. Retrieved 2023-01-26.
  18. ^ "Arkhip Kuindzhi's 180th Birthday". www.google.com. Retrieved 2023-01-26.

External links[edit]