Nikita Fedosov: Glazes?

Nikita Fedosov stands out as one of the most talented 20th century’s Russian Realist painters. Like Rembrandt, Fedosov used tinted glazes, a technique which allowed him to achieve subtle transitions and colors that otherwise would be unavailable. Below, you can see Fedosov’s mastery of color in how the orange sky goes from dull to vibrant, providing a sharp juxtaposition between the forest and the sky.


Nikita  Fedosov, End of Sunset, 1968

      How does one use glazes in an oil painting? To find out, I looked into how Rembrandt did it, after all, he is the Masters’ Master. Apparently, he used a impasto with egg as a quick dry ingredient, glass, and white lead. Once it was applied thickly, Rembrandt was able to carve into it before it dried. Then he applied the glaze to be wiped off leaving dimension and gleam to his work. This technique also created a subtle bas relief effect due to the glaze darkening and glowing in the crevices. Sometimes a transparent yellow or brown would be applied on top as well for a final touch of luster. Stunning.

 Rembrandt, Detail of Man with Golden Helmet, 1650.

         Nikita Fedosov Night Sentry sunset                                                          Nikita  Fedosov, Night Sentry, 1980

       What stands out to me in Fedosov’s work is his use of vibrant orange. Where as Rembrandt use glaze to bring light forward for dramatic chiaroscuro, I believe Fedosov used glazes to set the sun on the horizon. In Night Sentry and End of Sunset,  the setting sun is maintaining the bright glow of the actual sun while still pulling the eye back into the horizon line. Further, his work is extremely painterly with defined brush strokes, that could have been created by the glaze settling into the lines of the paint brushes mark.

      Another way Fedosov’s talent shines is in the way he has painted clouds. When I was in Russia, the clouds and the sky stood out most to me. I was happy to come home, see a Fedosov painting, and be brought back to those moments. His clouds have the same appeal as they do in reality; big, fluffy, white yet with color.

 Fedosov The Road to Vorge              cropped-fedosov-gigantic-coud.jpg

       Fedosov, Road to Vorge, 1981                                      Fedosov, Gigantic Cloud, 1970

        Here, the yellow and grey are nuanced, adding the dimension to the sky and clouds, created by his use of glazes. Of course, all paintings are more stunning in person. If you visit the Lazare Gallery you will be able to see the glow of Nikita Fedosov’s work. The show Russia’s Legend- Nikita Fedosov will be on view until March 31. Most of his pieces are also for sale! Please call to make an appointment to see and or buy his work, as the Lazare Gallery is by appointment only.


Russian Masterworks Site

Lazare Gallery has created a new website to showcase the most significant pieces from their collection of 20th century Soviet Realism. The site features beautiful high resolution images of each of the 400 pieces. The collection includes work by many of the most significant artists of the period, including Yuri Kugach, Arkady Plastov, Alexander Gerasimov, Olga Svetlichnaya, Viktor Tsyplakov and Nikita Fedosov. The website is available in both English and Russian.

Click to visit Lazare Gallery’s Russian Masterworks site. 

Kugach, Kugach, Kugach


“Thoughtful Woman” – Yuri Kugach 1956

Later this month, American University’s Katzen Arts Center will be holding an exhibition of paintings by Yuri Kugach and five of his relatives. Three generations of the Kugach family will be featured in the show, including his wife, son, nephew, and grandchildren.

Yuri Kugach is one of the premier 20th century Russian Realist painters. He is known in Russia and around the world for his paintings of the Russian countryside. He received the USSR’s highest honors for his work, taught at the Surikov Institute of Art in Moscow, and founded the Moscow River School.

Yuri met his wife Olga Svetlechnaya as a student at the Surikov institute. He was deeply impressed with her work, and has praised her as the family’s most talented painter. Their son, Mikhail Kugach recalled that his father worked to become an established painter in order to free his wife from concern for money or fame, and allow her to focus on developing her talent.

Mikhail Kugach is an important figure in Russian painting in his own right. He is Chairman of the Russian Artists Union, President of the Moscow River School, and Director of the Moscow Arts Institute.

Nikita Fedosov, Olga Svetlechnaya’s nephew, is one of Russia’s most loved painters, and Yuri’s grandchildren, Ivan and Ekaterina, are accomplished painters and teachers.

Lazare gallery has had a long relationship with the Kugach family and will be sending work to the show.

“Kugach, Kugach, Kugach – Three Generations of Russian Artists” will run through March 15th.

Link to Katzen Arts Center’s exhibition page

Link to Global Arts Network’s website