About

Biography

Maxim Vladimirovich Morgunov was born in Leningrad in 1981.
In 1999 he graduated from the St. Petersburg State Academic Art Lyceum n.a B.V.Ioganson (former the Secondary School of Arts).
In 2005 he graduated from the St. Petersburg Academic Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture named after Ilya Repin (in the workshop of painting of professor A.A. Mylnikov).
Since 2006 he has been a member of the Union of Russian Artists.
Since 2006 he has been teaching at the St. Petersburg Academic named after Ilya Repin.
In 2008 he completed a course of postgraduate studies at the department of painting and composition of the Academic Institute named after Ilya Repin.
Since 2008 has been teaching at the workshop of monumental painting of S.N. Repin at the St. Petersburg Academic Institute named after Ilya Repin.
In 2008 and 2010 M. Morgunov took part in the foundation of the portrait gallery of the chairmen of the State Council of Russian Empire and the Council of the Federal Assembly of Russian Federation.
Since 2009 he has been a member of “The Guild of Saint Petersburg Painters”.
M. Morgunov is a participant of many exhibitions in Russia and abroad. His paintings are in the private collection of the former president of Russian Federation D.A. Medvedev, in the State Council of the Federal Assembly of Russian Federation, in the State Duma of of the Federal Assembly of Russian Federation in Moscow, in the Сonsulate General of China in Saint Petersburg, and also in private collections in different countries.

Articles

A certain Spanish philosopher once said that art is a form of life meaning it is just one of the possible ways of existence and cognition of reality. It’s natural that every artist should find his own way. Maxim Morgunov’s painting is characterized by the pursuit to express the beauty and greatness of life in all its manifestations. Whether he works in different genres of easel painting, or creates a monumental mural, the most important thing for him is always a sincere admiration of the perfection and the principle incomprehensibility of the outside world. Most of his works are dedicated to contemporary life. Although in the motif of the present day the artist looks not for the momentary, but for the eternal values. The life appears on his canvases in all its diversity— nature, art, people, their relations, emotions, feelings.

The graduation painting “A Song” (2005) should be fairly called the first serious work of the artist, done on completion of the monumental workshop of the State Saint- Petersburg Academic Institute of Art, Sculpture and Architecture named after I. E. Repin. In this picture Maxim painted his friends listening to a quiet singing to a guitar. All the characters are recognizably portrayed, and we can see the author among them. A mysterious atmosphere of the friendship of the young with their relations, shared memories and common thoughts is dominant in this close men’s circle. Warm, even light, brought by a girl into the company of men, illuminates this world and at the same time changes it forever, as if representing the inevitability of growing up and changes.

This melodic motif was further developed in the painting "A New Song" (2007), where the artist presented himself surrounded by his young family. Numerous works devoted to his wife and daughter, seem to be personal only at first sight. Morgunov’s art is really biographic, he never invents anything he doesn’t know and he always speaks only of something he has felt and gone through by himself. However, in this case the image of the family is also a way of understanding the eternal phenomenon of life. This is an individual interpretation of the image of the beloved woman and his own perception of the miracle of a newly-born life.

The painter’s wife Neringa by name, seems to be his favourite model, her portraits take an important place in Morgunov’s art. The painter confessed that no one could paint her in a better way. But she is always different in the portraits —romantic, mysterious, quite often even strict, looking like an ancient goddess. Here the most important thing is not only the matter of resemblance, but also the opportunity to find an illimited inner inspiration in the ideal image of a woman.

Depicting a child's world of his daughter Agatha, Maxim turns out to be incredibly inventive, sometimes coming up with a completely unusual ways. For example the portrait of Agatha titled “The First Picture” (2008) is a real outcome of their cooperation: all scribbles were made by the hand of the little artist. Thoughts about the fleetingness and transiency of childhood with its wonderful discoveries and first impressions led the author to his own memories and to his own “the Summer of my Childhood” (2008), where all the sounds, smells and tactile sensations were far more important than all further book knowledge about the world.

No knowledge can be compared to the magic of the artistic cognition of reality. In one of the paintings by Morgunov we can see a young man, sitting at the foot of a strange coloured construction (“A Sculptor”, 2009) It enchants the viewer, almost irritating him or her with obscurity, complexity and its deliberate domination in the canvas. This is a painting about the birth of a plan and about the possibility of an insight that makes the artist see the invisible that exists only in his imagination. After all, only an artist is able to transform reality and see in this construction the frame of the future composition of "the Myrrhbearing Women at the Tomb of Christ".

The destiny of an artist is ambiguous and thorny, and in his work "a Dream" (2008), "an Existentialist" (2009), "An Old Man" (2010), Morgunov reflects on the nature of creativity, the fate of an artist, and the evolution of talent. His art is not just romantic inspiration, but everyday hard work that the artist is responsible to the viewer.

It is not by chance that in the diptych "Shoulder to Shoulder" (2007) the images of the young painters are filled with powerful energy and focused determination, willingness to work as if it were a battle. And even a series of paintings about mythological Atlantis is the memory of the glorious and talented generation of artists who have created the greatest civilization that disappeared irrevocably from the face of the earth.

Atlantis takes the audience into the mysterious world of antiquity. Canvases dedicated to it are supposed to be a fantasy about a perfect beautiful world that has not lost its magnificence even having fallen into oblivion. Lit with the sun, or wrapped in the blue of the night it allures, awakens the imagination, fascinates and frightens simultaneously. One can’t understand whether this illusive world exists or not and only colorful fishes are real in this fabulous underwater kingdom.

Painting proved to be the most natural way of artistic thought for Morgunov. That is why all his works are thoroughly thought-out striving for the unity of composition and completeness. We can see it in his portraits, still lives and even landscapes. Constantly-changing and at the same time eternal, Nature is inexhaustible for the artist, being an endless source of his inspiration.

Very often Maxim works outdoors, easily and enthusiastically, preferring the northern landscapes of Novgorod land to all other views. Wide expanses of these places with majestic rivers, lakes and forests, the high sky and powerful clouds are the favorite motives of his paintings. Looking at these works, one would recall the heritage of А. Kuindzhi , N. Krymov and A. Rylov, full of beautiful coloured spots, expressive contours, generalized solutions. As a rule Morgunov prefers to paint the quiet state of nature. But the landscape itself obtains a planetary idea, as though flying up above the ground, or, on the contrary, using the low horizon. Monumentality of interpretation gives noble grandeur and peace to the nature in his canvases.

Maxim Morgunov is an aesthete having a sharp feeling of rhythm and accentuation in his paintings. That’s why his works are very musical.

One can often find a sense of conscious restraint, self-restriction in colours, form and texture. But all these only lead to the greater expressiveness highlighting the original idea. An excellent academic education, attentive attitude towards the traditions of Russian and world art make the artist succeed in solving most various and sometimes difficult problems. His outlook is gradually changing, amplifying from “the world I live in” towards the “world without boarders”. He is facing a lot of plans, ideas, and new creative objectives which are to be carried out.

It is not easy to become an artist. It takes years of hard work, thoughts and uncompleted paintings. Although, having passed the time of studies, it is even more difficult to be an artist day by day, to develop and perfect yourself constantly, being true to your views, ideas, expressive means, youthful enthusiasm, saving your fresh perception of the world and finally to create your own “form of life”.

Svetlana Ershova
PhD in Art History