the tikhomirovs:

'true talent lies within'

by polina firsanova

People have long been fascinated with art, leaving artists, their styles and personalities open to speculation, dispute and intrigue. Today, our attention turns to two artists whose talent is unquestionable. Emerging from the best traditions of Russian realism, the Tikhomirovs (merited members of the Moscow Union of Artists since 1953) and their sophisticated artistry contributed much to the development of Soviet art.

Although they came from two very different social backgrounds (Leonid was born into a Soviet peasant family and a Olga was a noblewoman by birth), for many years the two Tikhomirovs worked together on large-figure compositions and landscapes, which can now be found in many museums and private collections around the world.
Portrait of Galina Ulanova' by Leonid & Olga Tikhomirov

Photo by
Viacheslav Vasilev
Portraits undoubtedly have a dominant role in their work, and people who were close friends of the Tikhomirovs — including ballerina Galina Ulanova, actor Mikhail Ulyanov and composer Aram Khachaturian — modeled for the two more than once. The portrait of Ulanova is the result of seven years of diligent, sometimes even stressful labor, with constantly changing sketches and family fights. Layer after layer, Olga could spend hours working on the portrait, with the goal being true representation.

After going through a rather troubled childhood of war, poverty, hunger and major personal obstacles, Leonid Tikhomirov also developed the gift of seeing the complexity and beauty of the things around him.
All of his paintings depict life as beautiful and as fearlessly raw, whether that was the grief portrayed in the portrait of Anastasia Stepanovna (sold at a London private auction), the sophisticated grace in Ulanova's posture (currently on show in her memorial apartment) or the regular flow of life for the village kids in "Fairytales of Childhood."


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Most of Tikhomirovs' masterpieces have either been sold or are in private collections in London, so getting to visit the workshop on Leningradsky Prospekt is a real treasure; there you will find dozens of the duo's paintings, carefully piled up in two (or even three) rows on the shelves above you. For better or for worse, this is not an art gallery with museum attendants watching your every step. In the workshop you are allowed to examine each painting carefully, feeling the brushstrokes on your fingertips.

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Visiting the workshop is a great chance to meet Maria Tikhomirova — the successor of the dynasty, who can tell you a number of stories about the artists' biography, their artistic vision and inspirations.
"My father always used to say that a day without a brush in your hand is like a day without breathing," she said. "Your talent and fever for creating comes from within, you never paint for anyone else. A true artist is one who can see the purpose of things, created by God, and capture the real veritasthat an ordinary person cannot see."

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Today, Elena Rastvorova, the official representeter of The Tikhomirovs family, and her team, are preparing for several exhibitions in Moscow, as well as in Japan, China and London; also they are taking part in different art projects that can help increase people's awareness and carry on the family name.
The Tikhomirovs
Visit TIKHOMYROVY.COM to learn more about the artists