07.03.1878 - 26.05.1927
"Your son and brother, Mutterchen, seurs and frеrs, has been on a spree! Oh yes! And what a spree. Now I'm obsessed with music and theater. I forgot how cold it was to stand in a queue for the theatre box office to collect a ticket. I went there again and stood in a queue from 6 till 12, I felt so chilly and could hardly feel my feet in my double socks. But as a result, I managed to get opera tickets to ''Dubrovsky,'' ''Romeo and Juliett,'' ''Traviata'' and the ballet ''The Little Humpbacked Horse,' and ....I got a severe cough the next day, and even now I still have a sore throat.'' The young Boris Kustodiev wrote in letters to his relatives from St. Petersburg. The student found time not only to go to the theatre but also engage himself in his artistic studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, where he was a student of Vassily Savinsky and Ilya Repin. We know Kustodiev primarily for his vibrant paintings depicting fairs, festivals, and rotund merchants’ wives with their scarlet cheeks. But there was a time in the artist's career when he took an active interest in Impressionism. When Kustodiev turned 34, he fell seriously ill, suffering from a spine disorder which confined him to a wheelchair. However, this physical condition did not change his personality, and the Kustodiev family home was as joyful as ever, guests frequented the house, and they celebrated all the holidays joyfully. And of course the artist never stopped working – he made sketches for theater sets, worked with engraving, and made large scale multi-figured paintings. ''For God's sake, don't tell anyone about my disease; on the contrary, tell them that I'm in good health, and, what is more important, that I'm in high spirits despite severe pain,' – I'm amazed myself how life-loving and even cheerful I am. So much it seems do I love living!’’ – Kustodiev wrote.