Philip Malyavin is one of the brightest nuggets of original Russian culture. He was born and raised in the village of Kazanka in the Samara province and from childhood was immersed in the specific atmosphere of peasant life, surrounded by all the warmth and originality of the Russian national structure and Orthodox traditions.
From early childhood, Philip passionately wanted to become an icon painter, at the age of sixteen he even went to Mount Athos in the hope of gaining invaluable icon painting skills there, but after six years the bright and overwhelming gift of painting returned him from the cramped monastery walls to his homeland, where, at the request of sculptor B Beklemishev, struck by his Athos works, he becomes a volunteer at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts.
And enlightened Petersburg with all its unrestrained spontaneity in judgments and passions vigorously accepts the young genius from the plow. The unusual and defiant manner of painting Malyavin with its expressive faces and a bright, spotty-spotted background without details enthralled already renowned painters and artists such as Repin, Nesterov, Diaghilev, Tretyakov, and terrified the routinists of art. Fame, fame and prosperity quickly come to Malyavin.
The painting by Baba was painted in 1905 in the style of sonorous color and decorativeness, traditional for early Malyavin. In the work, the principles of Orthodox icon painting are quite distinctly traced. Beautifully drawn voluminous faces with special lively expressions are complemented by flat, disproportionately large figures, dressed in color-cutting outfits, and, as on the icons, the edges of the clothes go beyond the image, and women look directly into the eyes of the audience with a grin and mystery. Critics of those years justifiably wrote that Malyavin’s canvases emanated from the inexplicable Russian spirit, the smell of blood that flooded folk history, the cries of holy fools and the waving of pitchforks of women’s riots.
Ilya Semenovich Ostroukhov Golden Autumn