In 1934 he entered at the Tavricheskaya Art School, where studied under South. Bootler, South. Chugunov, V. Levitsky, and M. Aslamazian.
After graduation in 1938, Anatoli Vasiliev was adopted at the first course of Department of Painting at the Leningrad Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, where he studied of noted educators Veniamin Belkin, Pavel Naumov, Mikhail Bernshtein, Nikolai Rutkovsky, and Igor Grabar. He participated in the Battle of Leningrad, in the battles of Narva, Shlisselburg, and Kingisepp. He was wounded and marked by military awards.
After demobilization in 1945, Anatoli Vasiliev continued his studies in the Leningrad Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture named after Ilya Repin and graduated in 1950 from Victor Oreshnikov studio, together with Evgenia Antipova, Nina Veselova, Vecheslav Zagonek, Tatiana Kopnina, Nikolai Mukho, Alexander Pushnin, Alexander Sokolov, Yuri Tulin, and other young artists.
His graduation work was history painting named "Mikhail Lomonosov - the father of Russian science"
In 1950 Anatoli Vasiliev was admitted to the Leningrad Union of Soviet Artists (since 1992 known as the Saint St. Petersburg Union of Artists). He has participated in art exhibitions since 1937, mainly as a master of historical paintings and etudes done from nature.
In 1950-1970s he made trips through the Urals and the Kama River, visit Baikal Lake and Buryatia, and also the Russian North. His personal exhibition was in Saint-St. Petersburg in 1995.
Anatoli Ilych Vasiliev died on June 4, 1994 in Saint St. Petersburg.
His paintings reside in art museums and private collections in Russia, Japan, France, England, Germane, Italy, in the United States., and others
Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics Union of Artists]
He was a member of the Saint St. Petersburg Union of Artists (before 1992 named as the Leningrad branch of Union of Artists of Russian Federation), and regarded as one of the representatives of the Leningrad school of painting, most famous for his historical paintings and etudes done from nature.