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Il'ia Glazunov


Il'ia Glazunov, USSR Artist.


Glazunov, Il'ia was born in 1931 in Leningrad.


Graduated from the Leningrad Repin Art Institute in 1958.


One of the most famous and controversial Russian artists on the Soviet art scene today. Orphaned during the siege of 1941. When still a student in 1957, attracted attention with his one-man exhibition at the TSDRI (the Central House of Art Workers) in Moscow.

Was then mainly a graphic artist and illustrator of Dostoevskii’s books. Second major exhibition in 1963 in Italy. Attracted the attention of the Western press and audiences.

Third major personal exhibition in 1964 at the Manezh (the principal art hall in Moscow — to have a one-man exhibition there was and is the supreme accolade in the USSR). His historical and allegorical subjects attracted huge crowds. Exhibited 600 paintings.

Became the enfant terrible of the Soviet art world, attacked by both the conservative establishment and the liberal intelligentsia. Was permitted to travel abroad and to sell his work to Western diplomats, a privilege denied to other artists. Seen by some as a publicity seeker and Kremlin ‘court painter’.

He painted portraits of top party leaders and their wives, also the Soviet Government’s official guests such as Indira Ghandi and Gina Lollobrigida. His portrait of Kurt Waldheim was donated to the United Nations in New York. The Return of the Prodigal Son, exhibited at the Manezh in 1978, became the focus of a controversy.

One of the few Soviet millionaires, but his lifestyle is said to be very modest.