Art A-Z: B – Bilibin Ivan

Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin (1876, Tarkhovka – 1942, Leningrad) – painter, illustrator, theatre decorator.


Studied at the Law Faculty of the Saint-Petersburg University (1896 – 1900), and simultaneously at the Painting School of Peredvizhniki (1895 – 1898). Besides, Bilibin passed courses at Azbe’s studio in Munich, at Repin’s workshop in Tenisheva’s school and at the Academy of Arts.


Member of Mir Iskusstva (World of Art) fellowship.

In 1920-1925 – travelled in Egypt, Palestine, Syria. In 1925 – 1936 – worked in Paris, in 1936 – returned to Saint-Petersburg.

Bilibin started his career as book illustrator and by 1900s became one of the leaders of Russian modern. His style was inspired by Japanese woodcut of XVIII-XIX centuries, Russian Lubok and English painter Birdsley’s graphic manner. Bilibin created his own festive style of Russian illustration, which he called “noble lubok”.


Bilibin made a series of decorations and costume designs for theatre performances, including Musorgsky’s Boris Godunov and for Dyagilev’s Ballet Russes.

He became famous for illustrations for Russian fairy tales, including those written by Pushkin, he also made illusrations for fairy tales edited by Flammarion.


Read more:

Art A-Z: L – Lubok


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