Art A-Z: F – Filonov Pavel

Pavel Nikolaevich Filonov (1883, Saint-Petersburg – 1941, Leningrad) – painter, illustrator, theoretic of art.

In 1897, Filonov moved to Saint-Petersburg where he studied painting in several places. He travelled to Jerusalem and Constantinople, in 1912 he studied classical art in France and Italy. Shortly he became one of leaders of Russian avant-garde.

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The Feast of Kings (1913)

In 1916-1918, Filonov passed military service on Romanian front.

Filonov’s early works were influenced by symbolism and scientific discoveries, including in biology. One of his main approaches was the “mastering principle” – he thoroughly worked every millimeter of the painting. His aim was to share with spectator not only his vision of the world, but also his knowledge about the world.

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Filonov’s paintings reflect expressionist acuity and neo-primitivist archaic images. He created a series of formulas – Formula of Cosmos (1918-1919), The First Formula of Spring (1927-1928), etc, and the most famous – Formula of Spring (see up).

Filonov died of hunger during blockade of Leningrad in 1941.