Yuri Vladimirovich Belov
(1929 - present)
Yuri Belov was born May 27, 1929 in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) into a family of doctors. He expressed an interest in art very early on and both of his parents encouraged him in his interest.
He was accepted into the Secondary Art School attached to the All-Russia Academy of Arts. His studies there were interrupted on June 22, 1941, when his father and brother joined the army to support the W.W. II war effort.
Yuri remained in the city with his mother, a doctor at the Civil Anti-Aircraft Defense, and the two of them suffered the horrors of the 900 day siege. That time would be the influence and inspiration for many of his later war related works. However, during this time Belov began studying at the V.A. Serov studio at the Artist’s Union. At the end of the war he graduated from the Secondary Art School and in 1949 he entered the I.E. Repin Institute of Arts.
In 1954 he participated in his first exhibition, the Autumn Exhibition of Leningrad Artists’ Works. A year later he graduated from the Institute having majored in the studio of R.R. Frents. His diploma piece was entitled A Worker-Innovator and in it was evident the artist’s faculty for discovering his own understanding of a subject. Even as a student, Belov was intrigued by V. I. Lenin; he sincerely believed that all the great achievements of the USSR were connected to the leader.
His appreciation of Lenin is obvious in the great number of works he dedicated to him. His works V. I. Lenin Offers the Resolution of the Uprising, At the 2nd Congress of the Communist Party of Russia, V.I. Lenin Arrives in Petrograd, V.I Lenin with the Workers of Alexandrovsky Factory, and V.I. Lenin Visiting the Workers of Putilov’s Factory on October 28, 1917, were all shown in the most prestigious exhibitions and can now be found in the greatest museums in the country. In his historical pictures, the artist tried not only to reconstruct the precise details of the historical background but also to create a certain emotional attitude using bright colors.
However, Belov is considered a real master in all of his works, be they genre pictures, landscapes, still-lives, or portraits. His historical works are sophisticated compositions with researched true-to-life details. His genre pictures are softer, dominated by natural human emotions and lively composition. His landscapes demonstrated his faculty of rendering the slightest changes in the seasons and in light, connecting these changes with human feelings. His still-lives are carefully depicted and feature a love of simple objects.
Many of his works are so successful because of his realist traditionalism. Belov took portrait painting to another level in many of his works. His portraits are characterized by laconicism of composition, restrained poses and gestures, carefully portrayed entourage and well chosen colors. The attention of the painter is centered on the psychological character of the models. He stresses and reveals the basic features of the characters: will, energy, purposefulness or kindness. Later, Belov widened the dimensional view of the portrait, actively using entourage, characteristics of the model and painting many of the models against the background of a landscape.
Belov has participated in many personal, Leningrad, Republican and All-Union exhibitions since 1954. Since 1979, he has had several one-man shows where not only his painting but also his graphical works were shown. In 1985 Belov completed a series of sophisticated drawings, Leningrad 1941. These works reflect his memories of his childhood in a besieged Leningrad as well as his deep understanding of the citizens of Leningrad who had beaten death, fighting against starvation and cold. Many of Belov’s works are now kept in museums of St. Petersburg, Moscow, Novgorod and Pskov. They are also in private collections in France, Sweden, Finland, Germany and the United States.