Painting and Drawing of Mikhail Kopiyov

Mikhail Vasilievich Kopiyov is a popular artist. He has a lot of good-minded and grateful admirers. Eminent researches-culture experts, professional art critics, journalists of the Russian capital, the province and far-abroad countries write about him. Some of the critics define his creative method as “Fantastic Realism”, the others call him a Neo-Romantic and an idealist, but everybody concurs that Kopiyov is an artist that appreciates time and reacts to its problems keenly, he is a philosopher, an intellectual and an aesthete.

Mikhail Vasilievich Kopiyov, Honoured Artist of Russia, came to Vologda in 1986 as a formed creative personality. He is an artist whose creative work was fully revealed in the Vologda region within the last decades of the 20th century. He appeared in Vologda in that period when appreciable changes in the society began to actively influence the cultural life. Kopiyov made several performances in the theatres of the city. These works became a remarkable event in the art of scenic design of Vologda, the city with great theatrical traditions. A talent for drawing allowed this broad-minded person to work with both different literary sources, including his prosaic miniatures, and life impressions – these were his animalistic sketches, subject compositions, portraits, caricature drawings. Mikhail Kopiyov has mastered almost all kinds of techniques: pastel, Indian pink, pencil and so on. His drawings are notable for their vivid and plastic expressiveness, keenness of observation and compositional completeness.

Probably, none of the Vologda’s artist develops such a wide range of subjects in creative work as Mikhail Kopiyov. It is portraiture, historical painting, genre art, theatre and animal painting. His pictures of the Gospel and biblical subjects are of particular interest. The artist of the early 21st century confirms indisputable ideals common to all mankind through the image of Jesus Christ like his predecessors, great masters of the past. Kopiyov comprehends the subject of the biblical history from a position of his time like many painters of the old school. Thoughts about the fate of the prodigal son who lost everything, but then saw light (“The Return of the Prodigal Son”, 1992) or about the thorny path of the prophet, bearer of truth (“The Path of the Prophet”, 1996) are as topical today as thousand years ago. The artist delicately creates the personal colouring of the images in the pictures about the life of the Russian saints Sergy of Radonezh (“Blessing”) and Seraphim of Sarov (“Not Evening Light”).

Certain changes can be noticed in the creative work of Mikhail Kopiyov over the last years and it is quite natural. He began to avoid ironic notes; his canvases became more dynamic and free regarding painting. The pieces from the cycle about the life of Christ created in 2006-2008 are very expressional in this respect.

“Beginning a poem, the poet, as a rule, doesn’t know its end and sometimes can be really surprised at what he has written, as it can be better that he supposed. His thought often goes further that he expected. This is a moment when the future of the language interferes in its present”. These thoughts of the poet Joseph Brodsky help to understand the creative method of Mikhail Kopiyov, one of the strikingly individual modern artists of Vologda, in the best possible way. 

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