08.01.1925 - 05.01.2010
In his last interview, Britov said, “For sixty years, I believed that the most important things were colour and mood. It was only towards the end of my life that I realized that the main thing is the energy I put into a painting. Colour and mood can only enhance that." At the end of his long career the artist found it difficult to walk, but every morning he would still climb the stairs to his studio overlooking the Knyaginin Monastery in Vladimir to paint, working at a small table in a room cluttered with his work. He was born in Sobinka, and spent his childhood in Kovrov, where he started painting. In 1938 his parents were arrested, and he and his sister had to move to his older brother’s in Vladimir. His education was interrupted first by his work as a turner and welder at the railway station and then by the war. In 1943 he volunteered, serving in the artillery, and was awarded a medal for bravery. A wounded hand prevented Britov from finishing Mstyora art school, but fame still came to him - after the exhibition "Soviet Russia" in 1960, Moscow started talking of the contemporary "Vladimir" school of painting. Britov travelled around the country, painting in Karelia, Mordovia, in the Urals, and exhibited both at home and abroad. “I work very quickly. I complete a study in one session, in a few hours. But there are exceptions. I started one painting in 1959, and finished it in 1969. I kept coming back to it, I couldn't understand what was wrong…. Then one day I was washing my brushes and suddenly it dawned on me, I went back and finished it in half an hour, and I had been working on it for a decade!” In total Britov created about 3,000 paintings, and today his works are in major museums in Russia, USA, Germany and Korea.