The artist Nikolai Kuzmin, his sources of inspiration

On the golden porch

Once upon a time, the children sitting on the golden porch... Oil on canvas, 110 x 100 cm (43.3 x 39.4 inches). 1991. Private collection

Once upon a time, the children sitting on the golden porch...
Oil on canvas, 110 x 100 cm (43.3 x 39.4 inches). 1991.
Private collection.

 

Summer. The sun shines down on the first steps of the porch and its carved wooden column, its sculpted banister

. A little swarm of children, sitting on the stair, say a nursery rhyme: ‘On the golden porch they were sitting, Tsar, Tsarevitch, Prince Ivan, the King. You, who will you be?’ My wish was to transmit the slightest vibrations of colours, the golden sparkle of the wooden stairs, the childish figures that merge in a nacreous sparkling painting.

This canvas is dedicated to a luminous and pure time, to my brothers and my sisters. The stairs of my childhood are the first page of my knowledge of the world, through the tales that my grand-mother told to me.

While time was running, my golden porch was transformed into a little star almost indiscernible in the sky. Not yet extinct, it twinkles in several of my paintings.

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On the road to Murom

The farewell. Oil on canvas, 100 x 90 cm (39.4 x 35.4 inches). 2002.

The farewell.
Oil on canvas, 100 x 90 cm (39.4 x 35.4 inches). 2002.

 

Since my childhood I keep remembering this touching melody

. I can see my working mother singing this sad song. I wanted to express this grace inspired by the song.

«On the road to Murom stood three pine trees.

My beloved farewelled to me until next spring.

He promised me he would love me forever and never forget his promise.

I waited for him... My beloved came back, together with a beautiful spouse.

He saw me among the crowd of happy people coming to meet him...

He looked at me and in my eyes he saw he had wrecked my life forever.»

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Still life paintings

Still life with a mortar. Oil on canvas, 61 x 51 cm (24.0 x 20.1 inches). 2013.

Still life with a mortar.
Oil on canvas, 61 x 51 cm (24.0 x 20.1 inches). 2013.

 

In some still life paintings which seem to be made for training the eyes to understand the colour in space

, I have tried to transmit the feelings that objects inspire to us, by comparing their shapes, their colours and their materials.

A desire to express the invisible, the imperceptible, the living in a texture that is taking shape on the canvas with flat tints of painting, like an aspiration for creating an atmosphere-like painting beating with its own heart.

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Sources of inspiration

Popular painting motif of a lady sitting on a red armchair - Triptych. Oil on canvas, 72 x 72 cm (28.3 x 28.3 inches). 2003.

Popular painting motif of a lady sitting on a red armchair - Triptych.
Oil on canvas, 72 x 72 cm (28.3 x 28.3 inches). 2003.

 

These are the sources of inspiration, from which I drew strength and inspiration, these images that helped my soul to have a better idea.

The strange beauty of popular paintings bought in post-war years in a local market and that you could find in village houses, hooked above a bed. You could often see on these beds countless cushions with embroideries, small or big, piled up on top of each other, from the biggest to the smallest.

On these popular paintings I saw, when I was a child, beautiful ladies with hats, lakes that white swans were gliding along, reindeer surrounded with magical gardens... all that has marked my soul forever.

In those wooden houses, at the right of the entrance, in this small recessed called ‘the red little place’ – ‘red’ also meaning ‘beautiful’ in Russian – I saw icons from several different times and schools put right at the top, behind the curtains decorated with lacemaking and the oil lamps. Decorated with silver or gold finely chiseled settings, they magnificently depicted holy persons.

Indeed, these works of art with very high technique, these popular paintings relating the country delights with their dreams of far-off lands were mixing together in my child spirit.

In the same way that you admire the surrounding landscapes, the fields, the forests until the sky and its sun, its stars, from the ordinary to the most wonderful, little by little I started understanding the beautiful by listening to my little inner music, the music of the soul.

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Versailles

Versailles. Oil on canvas, 60 x 60 cm (23.6 x 23.6 inches). 2005.

Versailles.
Oil on canvas, 60 x 60 cm (23.6 x 23.6 inches). 2005.

 

I was sixty years old when I saw Versailles for the first time

. This Versailles has haunted my dreams since my childhood, like an impalpable beauty.

“The last walks of Louis XIV”, watercolours and gouaches by Alexandre Benois, a Russian painter of the Silver Age, stir the theatrical atmosphere of the court.

The solemn dresses of the French kings and their courtiers, the majestic ceremonies of the past were followed by influx of tourists from the whole world admiring what was reserved for the elite at that time.

Here, in front of the stairs with a hundred steps, I saw from another point of view the stairs of my childhood. The dazzling whiteness of the sandy footpaths bathe in the light of fountains, ornamental lakes, flowers and merges into subtle irisations.

Resuming the words of the poet Joseph Brodsky about poetry, Versailles is a ‘profane prayer’ calling for unknown and distant horizons. Its beauty arouses our senses and incites us to creation.

October in Versailles. Oil on canvas, 60 x 60 cm (23.6 x 23.6 inches). 2005.

October in Versailles.
Oil on canvas, 60 x 60 cm (23.6 x 23.6 inches). 2005.

 

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