Good teacher and master always boasts diligent pupils
Ivan Stolyarov is a talented master of watercolour painting
Exhibition dedicated to Honoured Figure of Arts of the Republic of Belarus Ivan Stolyarov, a Great Patriotic War veteran, showcases his watercolours, as well as around 30 works by his pupils
Ivan Stolyarov is a talented master of watercolour painting, his name inseparably connected with the famous Vitebsk watercolour school, of which he is a founder. During his long period of creativity, Mr. Stolyarov has honed his techniques to perfection. His works are notable for their virtuosity, freedom and imaginative originality, and are executed as if in one breath. They charm with their transparency and with their pure view of life.
Having been long a teacher at Vitebsk’s State Pedagogical Institute, Mr. Stolyarov has educated several generations of talented painters. They have each gone their way, to live in various parts of Belarus, continuing the best traditions of their teacher. More than 90 of his graduates are members of the Belarusian Union of Artists, of which 57 work with watercolour. Mr. Stolyarov has helped publish training programmes and textbooks, explaining how best to work with the watercolour medium.
The current exhibition features Vitebsk Region landscapes: intimate, lyrical and romantic in character. He captures the ‘mood’ of various seasons and the beauty of Belarusian nature. Even when modest in size, his compositions and sketches give the impression of a final work and show his creative experience. His knowledge of colour science, history, art and watercolour technique guides his artistic principles and their expression. He is a true master of colour combination and nuance.
Meanwhile, his favourite theme is that of the Great Patriotic War, as shown in his series entitled In the Footsteps of Partisan Glory (painted in the 1960s). Having lived through the war years, Ivan Stolyarov draws from first hand experience in conveying the life of a soldier and a partisan.
His easel and paints show the landscapes of the Dvina River area and the urban landscapes of Braslav, Vitebsk and Polotsk, as well as his works created in Armenia, Latvia, Lithuania and elsewhere abroad. From the collections of the National Art Museum of Belarus, the exhibition displays his series of watercolour landscapes dedicated to his native Vitebsk: including Usvyacha River (1993), Luzhesnyanka River (1992), Waiting (1994), and Fisherman’s Hut (1993). Works from private collections are also on show.
His rich experience and practical skills have been sincerely transferred to Ivan’s followers, with the exhibition featuring watercolour works by 24 of his students, of various generations. Many are already well-known masters: Alexander Alontsev, Nikolay Ovchinnikov, Felix Gumen, Alexander Karpanov, Oleg Kostogryz, Fiodor Kiselev, Nikolay Likhonenko, Nikolay Lukyanov, Alexander Maley, Mikhail Mironov, Nikolay Mishchenko, Vladimir Napreenko, Vladimir Rynkevich, Mikhail Svistunov, Alexander Shiyonok, and Anton Yasyukait. Some are from the National Art Museum of Belarus, while others remain the authors’ property.
Ivan Stolyarov was born in Vitebsk on May 20th, 1923. In 1939, he entered the Vitebsk Art School, where such Belarusian art masters as Ivan Akhremchik, Vladimir Khrustalev, Alexander Mozolev, Valentsin Dezhits and Leo Leytman taught.
During the Great Patriotic War, Ivan Stolyarov fought in the partisan brigade under the command of Minai Shmyrev (Batska Mіnai). Together with troops from the First Baltic Front, he helped liberate his native Vitebsk Region, as well as Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. He continued his studies at Minsk Art School (1947-1951) and, in 1960, graduated from the Graphic Department of Moscow Polygraphic Institute.
From 1958 to 1985, he taught drawing and watercolours at the Graphic and Arts Department of the Vitebsk State Pedagogical Institute. In 1965, he became a member of the Belarusian Union of Artists. In 1986, Mr. Stolyarov was awarded the title of Excellent Teacher in Public Education of the USSR.
In 1988, he published his book Watercolour. Materials and Methods of Painting. In 1993, he was awarded the title of Honoured Artist of Belarus. Works by Ivan Stolyarov are kept at the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus, at the Belarusian Union of Artists, at the Modern Fine Art Museum in Minsk, and at Vitebsk’s Regional Local History Museum.
By Veniamin Mikheev