“Paint like a sniper shoots – so that every single line and stroke hits the target” – that was how Mikhail Shemyakin instructed his students. Few artists succeed in pursuing two callings simultaneously, that of creator and of teacher, but Shemyakin was brilliant at both. Starting as a tutor at a small private studio, he became in due course one of the leading masters of the Moscow Art Institute. He even developed his own original method of teaching over the years, something which he put down on paper but never published. Shemyakin believed that three major interrelated elements were at the heart of any fine painting: composition, structure and character. It’s also worth mentioning that Shemyakin was the grandson of the famous Moscow businessman Alexei Abrikosov. The artist’s father was also a manufacturer, and owned a large woodworking factory which produced the famous colourful packaging for the Abrikosov factory’s chocolates and biscuits. Needless to say, his marriage to Anna Abrikosova was of great benefit to the large family business. Abrikosov’s grandson began his art education at the 4th Moscow gymnasium and later painted a portrait of his famous grandfather, which is exhibited today at the Tretyakov Gallery. Among his earlier teachers were Konstantin Korovin, Vasily Polenov, Leonid Pasternak and Valentin Serov, and their broad and confident style of painting was something that Shemyakin adopted. In 1913, Mikhail Shemyakin founded an art studio in Moscow, devoting himself entirely to teaching, and went on to become one of the most respected art professors in Moscow.