Veniamin Alekseevich Safonov

High Water in Podolsk

(1931 - 2004)  Safonov was born in the Krasnaya Zarya Village (Orlovskaya Region, south of Moscow) in 1931.  It was, and still is, a small community of fewer than 2,000 residents. In his childhood, the artist survived three years of German occupation.  One of the biggest battles of World War II (known in the Soviet Union as the "Great Patriotic War) was the Battle on the Orlovo-Kurskaya Arch, which took place near his village in 1943. This traumatic event made a deep impression on the young artist, and it remained with him for his entire life.  At that time, the German army was retreating to the West, burning everything in its path, including villages and farmland, and holding thousands of Russian people hostage. When liberation finally came, the joy in the teenager's soul was mixed with the pain of loss, starvation, and ruin. During that difficult time, the young Veniamin took a great interest in drawing, and this influenced the remainder of his life. Having graduated from the secondary school, he entered Art Collage in the Town of Orel. The young artist graduated from the Art College in 1951, at the age of 20. He then began his independent creative work. Safonov moved to Podolsk (Moscow Region) in search of an art career.  In the beginning, he tried to paint genre scenes, portraits and landscapes. He had been working en plein air, observing changes in seaon and time of the day. The artist learned more and more to understand nature moreand to reproduce Nature's conditions on canvas.  In the course of time, the challenge of landscape works captured the young artist completely. Within only a few years after his graduation from the Art College, Safanov's paintings were exhibited not only at All-Union Art Exhibition (the most prestigious artists' exhibition in the Soviet Union), but were also awarded with a Diploma. The artist was then sent to work in the Academician Arts Cottage. This was truly exceptional, as it was rare that the paintings of an artist who was not a member of the Union of Artists would be presented at an Exhibition of such high rank.  But when the paintings were chosen at first by Artists' Regional Branch (by a specially established body, the Exhibition Committee), Safonov was automatically accepted as a member of the Union of Artists. It was in this most extraordinary way that Veniamin Safonov became a member of the Union of Artists.   The opportunity to visit the the Academician Cottage -  named after Ilya Repin - gave the artist a new creative impulse.   For the first time in his life, Safonov became acquainted with the creative works of famous and honored artists of the older generation, whose advice was very useful to him and advanced his knowledge  of art history as well as of artistic techniques. In the course of time, Veniamin Safonov's painting acquired its unique and recognizable features.  Long, pasty strokes of a paint brush, bright color scale, contrast of light and shadow modeling are all characteristic of the artist's creations, and convey the fullness of variety, texture, light, and feelings connected with Russian Nature's beauty. Important shows include: - All Union Art Exhibition, Moscow, 1957, 1968, 1960. - All Russia Art Exhibition 40th Anniversary of the Great October Revolution, Moscow 1957 - All Russia Art Exhibition - The Land and the People, Moscow, 1960, 198 - One-man shows in Moscow in 1961, 1981 and 1992. - Active in Podolsk, Moscow region.  Specialized in landscapes.  A leading artists of the Moscow region. - Member of the Union of Soviet Artists. - Veniamin's paintings are found in the Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow) and other museums of the Russian Federation as well as in private collections. - Veniamin died in 2004