Pavel Filonov

Everyone has a different type of art that they like and Pavel Filonov in my opinion has a very unique style. Pavel Filonov is a Russian painter, graphic artist, and a poet. He was born in Moscow on January 8, 1883 (December 27, 1882 Julian Calendar) but became an orphan during his childhood. He was considered to be from a working-class background when he moved to St. Petersburg he earned his living by doing embroidery, house painting, restoring buildings and icons, and retouching up photographs. He attended the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg in 1908 but did not graduate. One of the earliest works of Filonov was called A Hero and his Fate in 1909-10 which was on an oil canvas. Filonov main type of artwork was Russian folk art, primitive art, and many wall paintings.  “His paintings were executed according to his principle of sdelannost’ (a neologism: ‘madness’ or ‘craftiness’), which involved unremitting hard work on the art object leading to an extraordinarily detailed, crystalline, iridescent, apparently unstructured painterly texture; inspiration was discounted, craftsmanship exalted and the aim was the cognition of all qualities of the object, visible and invisible, down to its last atom (Milner-Gulland).”Filonov would not sell any of his art to private collectors even though he was starving. He believed that art belonged to the people. In 1925 he opened the Filovonv School which was considered to be a “formative experience even for artists who subsequently reacted against it and was a significant phenomenon in Leningrad cultural life, influencing, among others, the poet N. Zabolosky (Milner-Gulland).”  In 1912, Filovnov wrote the article The Canon and the Law, in which he expressed the principles of analytical realism, or “anti-Cubism”. “According to Filonov, Cubism represents objects using elements of their surface geometry but “analytical realists” should represent objects using elements of their inner soul.” Some of his works are Fishing Schooner, King Feast and Animals 1925, 1930 and many more others. Pavel Filonov died on December 3, 1941 during the Nazi Siege of Leningrad.   

Fishing Schooner 1912-1913

Animals 1925

Animals 1930

King Feast

Information from

Author: Robin Milner-Gulland from Grove Art Online

Pictures from: 

Rusarts Fine Art Company

1 thought on “Pavel Filonov

  1. Filonov’s work is so compelling and haunting! There’s something about the combination of abstraction, expressionism and the liminal human/animal shapes that really speaks to me — so much so that Jane Costlow and I used this image for the cover of a recent collection of essays:
    If you like Filonov’s art, you’ll love Zabolotsky’s poems as well — check them out!

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