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Julian Rukavishnikov

Julian Rukavishnikov (1922 - 2000) – a Fellow of the Russian Academy of the Arts, the People’s Artist of Russia.

Julian Rukavishnikov was a son of the prominent Russian sculptor Mitrophan Rukavishnikov. However, it took him a while to decide to continue the sculptural dynasty of his family. Dreaming of the career of a pilot, Julian graduated from a flying school and during the first days of the World War II in 1941 he joined the Soviet Army forces as a volunteer. His plane was hardly hit during one of the first flights and Julian, severely injured, merely escaped death, his condition did not allow him to continue flying. He returned to Moscow and joined his father’s atelier as a stenciller. He also graduated from The Surikov Art Institute in Moscow (Department of Sculpture) afterwards. His graduation work was a monumental sculptural composition “Battleship Potemkin”, which was erected years later at the entrance to the city of Pheodosia.

Throughout the Soviet times Julian Rukavishnikov used to play an important role as an official artist responsible for the creation of the so-called “Leniniana” – a series of monuments to V.I.Lenin which were spread across the country and also abroad. However, apart from that Rukavishnikov created numerous monuments to the prominent figures from the Russian and Soviet history and culture, among which were academicians I.Pavlov and I.Kurchatov, writer N.Ostrovsky, the first Russian scientist M. Lomonosov. The monument to A.Chekhov created by Rukavishnikov was erected in Taganrog, the writer’s hometown, in 1960 for Chekhov’s 100th anniversary. Among other important sculptural works should be mentioned monuments to Mikhail Sholokhov and Mikhail Bulgakov (both co-authored with Julian’s son Alexander) as well as portraits of the architect V. Bazhenov and the famous Russian composer Dmitry Shostakovitch.

1993 was the year of the big exhibition bringing together under the roof of the State Tretyakov Gallery the artworks by the representatives of the Rukavishnikov Dynasty: Mitrophan, Julian and Alexander.

In 1997 Julian started to work on the alto-relief “Resurrection of the Christ” for the Cathedral of Christ-The Saviour in Moscow.

Beginning from 1973 Julian approached a completely new subject: abstract and non-anthropomorphic sculpture. From that time until the end of his life he worked on the series of sculptural and graphic works entitled “Nature (Evolution and Transformation)”. This series created during almost 30 years was a truly personal project for the sculptor. The pieces from this series depicting the details of the flora and the fauna are indeed monumental. Each work displays such inherent perfect harmony that it retains it even when scaled up extensively. Such bronze as “Dahurian Lily”, 1993 serves as an example: it was transformed up to the size of the urban fountain by Alexander and Philip Rukavishnikovs in 2004 for the city centre of Dmitrov.

In 2010 a major retrospective exhibition of Julian Rukavishnikov’s works took place in the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow showcasing the series “Nature (Evolution and Transformation)” to the contemporary audience.

Works by Julian Rukavishnikov are part of the major museum and private collections in Russia. Only State Tretyakov Gallery has 12 of his pieces.