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With her classic figurative forms, highly acclaimed Russian artist Anna Razumovskaya magically captures the lyrical romanticism of renaissance portraiture, while creating art that is completely modern and original. Anna is inspired by the graceful elegance of the female form, at turns, classically alluring, demure and provocative. Her art has a pervasive sense of ‘romanticism’, and the passionate and dynamic application of paint on the canvas and the artist’s signature use of expressive colour, combine to create her uniquely recognisable style.
Anna is a graduate of the Russian State University For Arts, where she was awarded the distinction of high-class artist in 1991. Subsequently, she studied art in Germany, Belgium and Holland. With solo exhibitions in New York, Paris, Toronto, Amsterdam, Antwerp and Berlin and numerous works in private collections across the globe, she has become one of the most exciting and collectable artists on the contemporaryscene. A fabulous hardback fine art book, ‘Anna Razumovskaya, Romantic Realist’ is now available telling the fascinating story of Anna’s life and examining her dazzling artwork.
Anna’s creative process originates with the model. Although she has worked with many different models over the years she has three favourites, each of whom is possessed of great individual style and grace, as well as confidence and character. She prefers to do a personal photo shoot with a life model as well as working on a series of sketches, and she then composes a set of paintings using elements of the portfolio she has produced. She will take about 300 pictures in a single session, from which she may create five or six finished works.
While the stance and alignment of the figure is key to the appearance of any given work, the style of dress and drape of the fabric isequally important to Anna. Looking at the works of the old masters, it is so often the extraordinary detail and rich colours of the clothing that make the viewer gasp in admiration, and this is also true of Anna’s work. In her case though, this is due not only to her artistic heritage, as fashion was her early love, and still has a profound influence on her work. “I always wanted to be a clothing designer, to create beauty through clothes, but this lead me to the canvas where it is possible to both create and capture the beauty and texture of fabric on the human body.”
Anna uses a wide range of media when working on a painting; oil, acrylic, or watercolour applied with a brush or palette knife, and on occasion pencil or charcoal. She occasionally uses actual fabric, either in the painting itself, or by painting directly on to a piece of stretched silk. She does paint on a variety of surfaces too, canvas, paper and even wood finding their way onto her easel.
The materials she uses affect not only the look and texture of the work, but also the timing. She will produce a charcoal piecerelatively fast, whereas she works on her oils for several weeks.
While Anna sketches and paints, music in the background, she is energetic, light on her feet, and it is obvious she takes great pleasure in her work. This energy flows through her brushes onto the canvas and give her imagery the spontaneity and spirited vibrancy of the artist. She works on more than one piece at a time, so the studio is full of canvases at different stages, offering a real insight into the progress of each piece. She finds this way of working a liberating experience, and this concept of liberation is hugely important to her. “I love my work,” she laughs. “For me it is freedom, and I value it a lot more because I know what it is like not to have it. For me it is still fascinating, and I try focus on the pleasure of painting and not the subject, because the moment you try to analyze the painting too much, there you go, you add that unnecessary stroke, that extra detail, and you have lost it.”
Born at the height of the cold war, Anna was exposed to very different worlds, that of the austere communist regime alongside the sophistication and femininity of her fashion-conscious mother. She excelled at art school, and enjoyed the freedom of learning and perfecting her technique in a variety of different media. Of particular interest to her were the portrait masters of the late 19th Century, John Singer Sargent, the Russian painter Valentin Serov, and earlier masters such as Peter Paul Rubens and Rembrandt. She travelled around Europe absorbing the influences of artists past and present, and finally settled in Canada which she now feels to be her true home.
“Quickly, easily, brightly: this is the way I draw, the same way I live. My art is a reflection of my life, a reflection of myself…”