Vyacheslav Zabelin

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Vyacheslav Zabelin
1935-2001

Vyacheslav Nikolaevich Zabelin was born in 1935 in Khamovniki, an old region of Moscow. Zabelin recounts his childhood as having "passed by during the years when my country was engaged in a heroic war against fascist Germany". After the war, in the late 1940's, he had the opportunity to work in the studio of M.A. Slanov. One day as he was working in the studio, the famous artist K.F. Yuon came to visit. Yuon took notice of Zabelin's work which resulted in Zabelin's acceptance to the "1905" Moscow Art School in 1956. His studies here continued until 1961 when he enrolled in the Surikov Institute. Zabelin spent the next six years at the Surikov, studying under Professor V. Tsyplakov, obtaining his diploma and continuing on to get his post-graduate degree. Yuon would continue to help direct Zabelin along his educational path as well as inspire his work.

Like most Russian artists, Zabelin was strongly influenced by the Russian world around him. He said "I was born and grew up in Moscow...the old streets, the hidden quirks of this place, the Novodevichii Monastery, made me into an artist. These are my native areas, my small homeland". His most favorite place to paint was in the Old Russian city of Rostov, from where a large majority of his paintings originate. He loved Russian architecture because of its wonderful asymmetry that could have been so easily balanced by some small window or arch on its fascade (N.N. Vizzhilin). Zabelin said "We live in a time when historical cities and environs are losing their individuality and there is no end in sight to this process." This realization brought great sadness to the artist as he so highly valued his Russian homeland and the beauty its historic structures and landscape possessed. Zabelin felt much the same way about the patterns he saw emerging in the art being created around him.

In 1967 Vyacheaslav Zabelin was invited to teach at the Surikov Institute, which he graciously accepted. About his teaching approach he once said "In my pedagogical work, I have attempted to help facilitate my students to find their own voice and for them to understand their souls, and help those souls create, in an unrepeatable language." This was, he felt, one of the most important lessons that his students could learn. It was his belief that "individuality in art...is often understood to be a necessity to produce works reflecting the anger of our time, satisfying the fleeting whims of the public," which of course he felt certain would not stand the test of time. Zabelin was a major supporter of artistic education and training that was deeply rooted in tradition and achievement. He was not fond of "amateur" or "homegrown" art. He felt that when a school of training was not present, it was often replaced with "a self-sufficient manner and attempt to pander to the public and draw the attention of amateurs by superficial tricks, which are always used to hide incompetence."

V.N. Zabelin's close personal friend, the famous journalist N.N. Vizzhilin, wrote of comments made at the opening of an exhibit of works by Zabelin's students, that "In the process of teaching, Zabelin motivates his students to master not his way of painting, not his view of things or his method, but the principles of art." The artist and teacher himself said "Really, if one perceives life from the position of creative work, from the position of a search for the truth, if we perceive it, not putting all the schemes and dogmas into the bed of Procrustes, then life will open up before us in every way more unexpected, fresher, and interesting." One of his student's, Tsvetlana Smirnova, recalls Zabelin teaching her that "composition is of the utmost importance" and that it "is necessary to work on it all the time." Vyacheslav followed this very principle in his own work. His friend Vizzhilin also remembers that "Before beginning any painting, he would carefully study the nature, consider the composition, [and] select the lighting. Because of this, he lived weeks on end in other cities, barely noticing the lack of physical comforts there."

Vyacheslav Nikolaivich Zabelin was a member of the Moscow River School of painters. He taught at the Surikov until his death in October of 2001. His friend, and journalist Vizzhilin later wrote "The things that made V.N. Zabelin stand out as a central figure in the Russian arts were his wholehearted search for aesthetic sense; his deep knowledge of Russian painting and literature; and his delicate understanding of the interdependence and inevitability of the changing of artistic styles, the richness of which is ever apparent in Russian culture." He says also that the very essence of Zabelin's work is that it "rose up from the traditions of Russian art and [had] its roots in the deepest strata of Russian life." Zabelin has been called the greatest Russian Impressionist of the 20th Century.

Exhibitions partial list

Awards:(partial list)

•Alexander Pushkin gold medal of the Creative Unions of Russia (1999)
•Award for The Interior of the Annunciation Cathedral as the best work of 1980 in the Moscow Department of Artists' Union
•Bestowed The Professors Degree, 1991
•Chairperson of the committee on the Protection of Monuments
in the Union of Artists of Russia
•Diploma awarded by the Academy of Arts of the USSR for his paintings The Petrovski Boulevard and The Bolshoi Theatre, 1987
•Diploma awarded for the creation of the paintings that were on display at the VI Republican Art Exhibition "Soviet Russia" dedicated to the XXVI Congress on the CPSU, awarded by the Counsel of Ministers of the Russian Federation, 1981
•Head of the Moscow painting section of the Moscow Union of Artists
•Honoured Worker of Arts of the Russian Federation, 1990
•Member of the Artist’s Union of the U.S.S.R
•Member of the City Building Council
•Silver Medal of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Art, July 10, 1995
•Titled Honored Artist of the Russian Federation, by the Artists' Union of the Russian Federation

Exhibitions:(partial list)

The artist's works are shown frequently at Lazare Gallery, Charles City, VA; Walls Gallery, Wilmington, NC; Wallace Fine Art, Longboat Key, Fl; as well as James Yarosh Assoc., Holmdel, NJ.


2006 August - October, 32 Works were featured in a Russian exhibition at the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA



Collections:(partial list)


Art Fund
Interior of Resurrection Church, 1968, 30 x 40 cm
Interior of Christ the Savior Church, 1984, 70 x 50 cm
Clear Field, 1978, 50 x 70 cm
Home Above the Cellar, Rostov Kremlin, 1980, 60 x 80 cm
Suzdal Grey Day, 1966, 47 x 70 cm

Art Prima Gallery, Moscow

Artist Architectural Reserve Museum, Rostov

Ekaterinburg Fine Art Museum, Ekaterinburg

Jarosalv Fine Arts Museum, Jaroslav

Kaluga Fine Arts Museum, Kaluga

Kostroma Fine Art Museum, Kostroma

Kurjan Fine Arts Museum, Kurjan

Nizhnij Novgorod Fine Art Museum, Nizhnij Novgorod

Novosibirsk Fine Art Museum, Novosibirsk

Orenburg Fine Art Museum, Orenburg

Orlov Fina Art Museum, Orlov

Picture Gallery Museum, Tver

Rjazan Fine Arts Museum, Rjazan

Russia Artists' Union
Interior of Resurrection Church in Rostov, 1983, Oil on Canvas, 41 x 55 cm
Winter, Borisogleb, 1993, Oil on Canvas, 55 x 82 cm

Russian Art Museum, Kiev

Russian State Museum, St. Petersburg
Interior of Church, Ascension, 1988, 60 x 80 cm
Interior, Church of Christ the Savior in Rostov, 1987, 50 x 40 cm

Taganrog Picture Gallery Museum, Taganrog

The Rostov Kremlin Art Museum [an entire hall dedicated to his work]
Rostov, Washing Yard, 49.7 x 79.7 cm
Portrait of Wife, 1972, 89 x 89 cm
Rostov Beauty, 1968, 72 x 50 cm
Center of Rostov the Great, 1978, 50 x 69.5 cm
Pink House, 1991, 50 x 60 cm
Lilacs, 60 x 50 cm
Old Estate , 2000, 50 x 40 cm
View of Rostov Kremlin, 1969, 49.7 x 70 cm
View of Inner Yard of Rostov Kremlin, 1969, 49.5 x 70 cm
Green House, 1999, 41 x 56 cm
Grey Day , 1997, 60 x 80 cm
In Rostov, 1997, 50 x 70 cm
Sunrise/Sunset in Rostov?, 1970, 50 x 70 cm
Street in Rostov , 1985, 60 x 80 cm

Tretyakov Gallery (Museum), Moscow
Spring Evening in Rostov the Great, 1981, 64.5 x 69 cm
Spring Evening, 1983, 88.5 x 88.5 cm


Books:(partial list)
Zabelin -by Sokolov —

1993 — Zablin (published in Italy) —

1998 — A Dictionary of Soviet and Russian Painters; Active 1900 to 1980 —

1999 — Zablin (published in Italy) —

2001 — Zablin (published in Italy) —

2001 — The Great Painters —

2003 — Path of Russian Impressionism 100 Years of Russian Artist Union —

2004 — Russian Landscape, Great Collection —

2004 — In thy Name; Russian Artist Union —

2007 — Zabelin; Master of Color -by S. Gavrilyachenko —

Artist Thoughts:

"A self-sufficient manner and attempt to pander to the public and draw the attention of amateurs by superficial tricks are always used to hide incompetence."


"I was born and grew up in Moscow, the old streets, the hidden quirks of this place, the Novodevichii Monastery, made me into an artist. These are my native areas, my small homeland."


"In my pedagogical work, I have attempted to help facilitate my students to find their own voice and for them to understand their souls, and help those souls create, in an unrepeatable language."


"Individuality in art...is often understood to be a necessity to produce works reflecting the anger of our time, satisfying the fleeting whims of the public."


"We live in a time when historical cities and environs are losing their individuality and there is no end in sight to this process."


Additional Information:

He suggested and organized the All-Russian Art Exhibitions "Monuments of Motherland" which became an important event in the artistic and cultural life of the country.