Pavel Korin (Павел Дмитриевич Корин) (1892-1967)

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Pavel Korin was a Russian painter and art restorer. He is famous for his preparational work for the unimplemented painting Farewell to Rus. Korin was born in the village of Palekh to a family of a professional icon-painter Dmitry Nikolaevich Korin on July 8 [O.S. June 25] 1892. In 1897, when Pavel was only five years old, his father died. In 1903-1907 he studied at the School for Icon Painting at Palekh getting a formal certificate as a professional icon-painter. In 1908 he moved to Moscow and until 1911 worked there at the Icon Shop of Don Monastery.

In 1911 he worked as an apprentice to Mikhail Nesterov on frescoes of The Intercession Church at Marfo-Mariinsky Convent on Bolshaya Ordynka street in Moscow. Nesterov insisted that Korin gain a formal education in easel painting and arranged his admission to the Moscow Art School in 1912. Pavel graduated from that school in 1916, having been a student of Konstantin Korovin and Leonid Pasternak.

In 1916 he worked on frescoes for the mausoleum of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fyodorovna at The Intercession Church at Marfo-Mariinsky Convent. According to the wish of the Grand Duchess he travelled to Yaroslavl and Rostov to study traditional frescoes of antique Russian churches.

In February 1917 he started to work in his attic studio on Arbat Street in Moscow and worked there until 1934. In 1918-1919 he taught at the 2nd State Art Studios. In 1919-1920 he worked at the Anatomic theatre of Moscow State University, as he thought he as a painter needed deeper knowledge of the human anatomy. In the evenings he copied paintings and sculptures of the Museum of Fine Arts.

In 1923 he travelled over Northern Russia, visiting Vologda, Staraya Ladoga, Ferapontov Monastery, Novgorod. In 1926-1931 he worked as an instructor of painting classes for beginners at the Museum of Fine Arts. In 1926 the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent was closed and all the art there was to be destroyed. Pavel and his brother Alexander managed to smuggle out and save the iconostasis and some of the frescoes. On March 7 of that year he married Praskovya Tikhonovna Petrova, a disciple of the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent.

In 1927 Korin’s aquarelle Artist’s studio and his oil landscape My Motherland were bought by the Tretyakov gallery, showing some recognition from the Soviets. In 1931 Korin’s studio was visited by Maxim Gorky, who supported Korin since. In 1932 Korin followed Gorky to Sorrento, painted Gorky’s portrait and visited Italy and Germany.

In 1931 Korin started to work as the Head of the Restoration Shop of Museum of the Foreign Art (former Museum of Fine Arts later Pushkin Museum). He held this position for until 1959. After this he held the position of the Director of the State Central Art Restoration Works until his death. As one of the most senior Russian restorers of the time he contributed enormously to the saving and restoration of famous paintings.

In 1933 Korin moved to the studio on Malaya Pirogovka Street in Moscow where he worked until his death. Now the building is Korin’s museum. In the 1940s he painted many portraits of members of the Soviet Intelligentsia (including Leonid Leonidov, Mikhail Nesterov, Alexey Tolstoy, Kachalov and Nadezhda Peshkova (Gorky’s daughter in law)). He painted the fresco Match to the Future for the Palace of Soviets in the Moscow Kremlin and a Triptych devoted to Alexander Nevsky.

In the 1950s Korin worked on mosaics for the Moscow Metro. His mosaics decorate the stations Komsomolskaya-Koltsevaya, Arbatskaya (Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line) and Novoslobodskaya, and also the Main Hall of Moscow State University. He also won an impressive list of Soviet awards in the 1950s and 1960s:

  • Stalin Prize – 1954 for mosaics for the station Komsomolskaya-Koltsevaya,
  • Lenin Prize – 1963 for portraits of Martiros Saryan, group portrait of cartoonists Kukryniksy, Italian painter Renato Guttuso
  • Member of Academy of Arts of Soviet Union – since 1958
  • Gold medal on World’s Fair at Brussels – 1958 for the portrait of Martiros Saryan,
  • People’s Artist of the Russian SFSR 1958
  • People’s Artist of the USSR – 1962 ()
  • Order of Lenin – 1967

Pavel Korin died in Moscow on November 22, 1967 and was buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery.

Sergey Konen

Sergey Konen



Farewell to Rus

Farewell to Rus


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