Anatoly Ivanovich Alekseev
Anatoly Ivanovich Alekseev People’s Artist of the RSFSR
Once an Irkutsk artist, Anatoly Ivanovich Alekseev, was asked: what is the originality of the art of Irkutsk masters? Is it only their theme – “Siberia and Siberians”?
– Of course, – Alexeyev answered, – the creativity of our artists is inspired by truly epic paintings of creation, the greatness and beauty of the Siberian land, the inimitable power of the Baikal landscape itself. But every Irkutsk artist is distinguished by an individual manner, a circle of interests. Everyone is committed to cherished themes and, reflecting with a brush in hand on the history and the present of the Motherland, about the glory and valor of ancestors and about today’s everyday life of a man of labor, puts in these reflections a personal civic experience, a special lyricism …
A clear confirmation of the master’s words about the identity of the art of Irkutsk is his own work, in which various observations and generalizations are fused into a single romantic image of his native land. Interest in the historical-revolutionary theme is inseparable from the hot attention to the worries of contemporaries. And the images of the builders of the Sayan HPP are akin to the heroes of the revolution and the Great Patriotic War. The central figures and elements of the landscape, the overall color and the totality of details – everything in the paintings and portraits of Anatoly Alekseev is permeated with an active interest in the embodied event, to the person depicted.
The artist’s paintings are born slowly. They were created not so much in 25 years of creative activity. But in each invisibly, deeply pressed efforts and searches are laborious, persistent. Comprehensively studying the author of the selected topic, for a long time, with great demand for himself writes etudes, repeatedly changes the compositional approach.
In the film “The Family” the audience is presented with a multifaceted theme of filial duty, solved in two graphic plans. One plan is made up of real actors, the other is representatives of the same family, or rather of a whole Siberian family, looking at their descendants from old photographs. The dialogue of generations, the connection of the way of grandfathers to the fate of new generations is emphasized by the whole structure of the picture, clearly sounds in its psychological tonality.
A multi-figure composition “Legendary Chronicle” A. Alekseev dedicated to those who raised the banner of the revolution and defended its glorious conquests. With his solemn, severe rhythm, the picture embodies the idea of the spiritual testament of revolutionaries to descendants. The image of a Soviet man, unbending before trials and difficulties, his volitional concentration, faithfulness to duty and faith in the ideal find a logical continuation in the historical and revolutionary picture “The Oath”, the picturesque triptych “Every year on May 9 in a park of culture”, in canvases on a contemporary theme.
We see the ideological heirs of the revolution in Alekseev’s works about the people of BAM, Sayanskaya HPP, and the indigenous inhabitants of Siberia. The artist studies the characters of his contemporaries on trips to the East Siberian region. For many years he headed the creative team of artists “Energy of Siberia”.
Alexeyev’s friend recalls with excitement the writer M. Sergeev during his years of joint participation in the rapid construction of Siberia: “I remember our youth, sleepless nights on the Angara overlap in Bratsk, when together with the builders the Alexander Tvardovsky and Boris Polevoy and the filmmakers crowded together with the builders, and the filmmakers, and a large group of artists-Irkutsk. I remember the mood of the storm … ”
The mood of the storm, that is, the willingness to overcome the obstacle, is embedded in the “portraits”
A. Alekseeva. Whomsoever he writes – an unnamed duty frontier post or famous writer Valentin Rasputin, a graceful girl from the Gobi or a young bamovan from the village of Zvezdny – in every portrait captivates the inner dignity and moral integrity of the hero.
Siberia usually arises in our imagery as a harsh, stingy, bright, catchy paint. It is no accident that the faces of people on the canvasses of the artist look slightly tired, weather-beaten, unsmiling. But this land not only requires persevering forces, energy, constant human concern, building new highways, erecting hydroelectric power stations, sowing bread. She pleases him with the beauty and power of nature. And especially pleases the artist-Siberian. To see this, it is enough to look at the generous colorful landscapes and still lifes of the national artist of the RSFSR Anatoly Ivanovich Alekseev, whose art is so naturally and firmly connected with his native Siberian socialist.