Master Russian Artists
Above: Russian artist Nikolai Blokhin working on a portrait painting

“The fundamentals of beauty will always stay the same.”

The “Russian Style” has never been documented until now, as we introduce Blokhin’s newly released art video: Russian Master Portraits (learn more here).

Nikolai Blokhin’s Next Chapter

BY MAX GILLIES
Contributing writer to Fine Art Connoisseur magazine

The past year has been busy and productive for the Russian master painter Nikolai Blokhin (b. 1968). In Virginia last November he demonstrated his virtuosic technique to spellbound attendees of the Figurative Art Convention & Expo, and this February he welcomed Fine Art Connoisseur publisher Eric Rhoads and the Streamline Art Video team to his Saint Petersburg studio. There they filmed videos on drawing and painting for future release. The latter shows in detail, step by step, the techniques the ever-energetic Blokhin used to create the luminous painting illustrated here and on this magazine’s cover. The video was recently released, and the artist is planning his next moves.

Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine
Featured on the cover of the July/August 2020 issue: Nikolai Blokhin (b. 1966), “Old Harlequin” (detail), 2020, oil on canvas, 41.25 x 29.5 in.

Blokhin epitomizes the prestigious tradition of intensive training that was perfected by Russia’s academic masters more than a century ago. A native of Saint Petersburg, he excelled at his district’s art school and headed to the “Repin Institute,” the more familiar name of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts located in the heart of the former imperial capital.

Blokhin solidified his foundational skills in drawing and painting in the same neoclassical landmark that housed such legendary forerunners as Ilya Repin (1844–1930). The young man did so well at the academy that he remained there in the post of professor of drawing from 2000 through 2016, finally departing so that he could devote more attention to the burgeoning demand for his paintings from galleries around the world. His work is landing in ever more important collections, and he is particularly popular in China, Russia, and the U.S.

The Tradition of Russia's Academic Masters, Continued
Detail of a Blokhin painting
The Tradition of Russia's Academic Masters, Continued
Detail of a Blokhin painting photographed in raking light at his studio this past February; note the diversity of its lively surface textures.

Over the years, Blokhin has won major awards from such organizations as the Portrait Society of America and has seen his paintings acquired by leading institutions like the State Russian Museum (Saint Petersburg) and New Mexico’s Taos Art Museum, which encompasses the studio house of Nikolai Fechin (1881–1955). Fechin is pertinent not only because he studied at the academy in Saint Petersburg, but also because his expressive brushwork and vivid coloring endure in Blokhin’s work. In fact, the studio in which Repin taught Fechin is the very same one where Blokhin taught decades later.

Nikolai Blokhin and Eric Rhoads call “action” while making the video in the artist’s studio last February.

Blokhin is glad to reconnect with his North American admirers through the new Streamline video, and he hopes to return for another visit when international travel becomes easier to arrange.

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Nikolai Blokhin is in such high demand that he no longer teaches in person, but he recently shared his techniques in a new release from Streamline Art Video:

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“Russian Master Portraits” will be one of the most unique videos in your collection (learn more and get your copy here).


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1 COMMENT

  1. I am glad that Eric is discovering the Russian art tradition to the world. I have a feeling that the North Americans are unfamiliar with the rich endowment that Russian painters left for the world to admire and get inspired. Please keep up your good work and discover new names. I wanted to introduce to you a Moscow painter Dmitry Kostylew, whom I know personally and consider him an accomplished painter. We went together on plein air trips to Italy and France. He does not do the dramatic paintings, but paints with soul, based on a solid academic foundation. His paintings convey the beauty of the world in a realistic manner.

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