Painting of Artist N.V. Baskakov

Today it is difficult to imagine the life and creative work of Nikolay Baskakov, famous artist of Vologda, outside his native Vologda region. It was there where he was born (in Kadnikov), grew up and found his vocation. His first teacher, artist V.V. Timofeev (1886-1954) contributed to it, having organized and led an art studio in the town of Sokol (the Vologda region) where Nikolay Baskakov lived and studied. His creative work was formed in the Vologda region. Nikolay Baskakov belonged to that generation of artists whose youth fell on the wartime. In 1945, 16-year-old boy Kolya Baskakov left for Moscow to study in the Art School “Memory of 1905”. He came back to his native land in 1956, on graduating from the Moscow Surikov Art Institute.

Having returned to the Vologda region, Nikolay Baskakov carried out creative and public activity and headed the Vologda Organization of the Union of Artists of the RSFSR in 1961. The artist painted portraits of his contemporaries, landscapes of Vologda and its outskirts, still lifes.

Vologda became not only the main place of residence for N. Baskakov, but also “the refuge of his soul”, a kind of “living organism”, the creature which was close to him. The city depicted in picturesque images was the centre of the artist’s feelings. Their mutual relations were conveyed through the nerve-strain of emotional stress, feelings, spirits which the artist had under the circumstances and at the present moment. Probably, this is the reason why we always feel his agitated, confessional voice in the landscapes depicting the native city.

In the Baskakov’s landscapes of Vologda, zest for life was overshadowed with heavy heart because of destruction of the appearance of the ancient city which was so near to the artist’s heart. Every new motif disturbing the painter confirmed his participation in the fate of the city.

The beginning of the 1960s was a rather fruitful and successful period for Baskakov. He created a number of wonderful portraits of his fellow-townsmen – residents of Vologda. They were painted with confident, shaping the form stokes. The artist conveyed his feelings to the model, first of all, as a thinking and gifted personality, through the harmony of colour relations. The works of Nikolay Baskakov painted at that time were lyrical, warmed with friendly feelings of the artist to the person whose portrait he created. But having achieved the certain set plastic goal, he didn’t repeat himself, didn’t use the found painting way, but strived for new achievements. This was the nature of the artist.

Simple motives of the artist’s oeuvres, their repetition belittled neither artistic expression, nor meaningful edge of his images. In every separate case, slightly changing the colour relations, he got a different image regarding intonation and emotions – sometimes agitated and disturbed, sometimes calm and clear.

The artist “modeled” his universal world on the flat: piercing and disturbed, wonderful and harmonious. The world of his images is the Vologda region, “the fairy land”. It became that very “precious” drop which contained the Universe for the artist.

Nikolay Baskakov was merciless to himself in the creative activity. He fully devoted himself to his favourite work. He worked to the point of exhaustion, was in an agony of doubt, but again set out in search of something unknown. Revelations and disappointment – all this for a moment of happiness when the artist’s soul and the world around him were in chime. Painting was always the main mediator between them for Baskakov. The art of Nikolay Baskakov, connected with search and experiments within the limits of the plastic arts, is still the necessary “nourishing source” for modern artists of Vologda. His works are topical and modern.

Nikolay Baskakov, like nobody else, managed to convey the feeling of his time, its nerve and tenseness.

leave comment