The Maslenikovy family is a famous lineage of Belarusian artists. They dedicate their works to their native country Belarus, and glorify its magnificence and diversity. In the works of the artists, boundless space, landscapes and blue lakes alternate between quiet, cozy corners of nature, where a person can hide from the noise of city streets and the everyday hustle and bustle. Their works are based on acute observation of distinct aspects found in nature. The Maslenikovy avoid the literary spirit. Under its influence, one can get lost among abstract theories and deviate from the only true way, which is the specific study of nature. The works of the artists are inspired by their native natural surroundings, and show true national features and uniqueness.

Pavel Vasilievich Maslenikov (1914-1995) is the forefather of the Maslenikov lineage. His contribution to the development of Belarusian visual art can hardly be overestimated. His creative work and teaching has influenced the development of landscape painting in Belarus. His exhibited works have greatly contributed to the fundamental understandings of art, upon which art practices within the Belarusian State Academy of Arts and the development of Belarusian art has formed (from 1960 until 1964 Maslenikov was the chancellor of B.S.A.A.). Beginning in his early childhood, the future master of Belarusian art studied attentively, and sincerely loved, his natural surroundings and the wilderness, native to Belarus. In the first postwar decades, genre painting was the most important art category in Belarusian art. But during his life, Pavel Maslenikov was loyal to his only love, landscape painting, and he didn’t stop making sketches of nature, which would later become the foundation of his most profound works. Pavel Maslenikov was a painter, whose works were very sincere. He never attempted to emulate the momentary modern tendencies, nor present fakery. In 1994 he was awarded the title, National Artist of Belarus, and in 1995 he received the State Award of the Republic of Belarus. In 1997 the Mogilev Regional Art Museum was named after Pavel Maslenikov.

Mogilev Regional Art Museum was named after Pavel Maslenikov

Pavel Maslenikov passed down his love for nature to his son Vladimir, who is today the head of the Department of Painting at B.S.A.A. Beginning in his early childhood, Vladimir began to make sketches with his father – a practice, which continued on until his father passed away. Such experience encouraged Vladimir to study nature of his native land thoroughly, and discover all its unique peculiarities and features. This type of study can be seen in the works of Vladimir Maslenikov today. The artist easily creates panoramas full of light and air, which are the essential parts of his landscapes. Belarusian nature attracts and charms Vladimir: from his childhood, forests, fields, lakes and rivers have been close and familiar to him and always remain in his (sub)conscious mind. When people see his paintings, they are inspired to head out on a journey to that exact place, depicted by the artist in his paintings: behind that hill and river, in that faraway country, which seems so familiar and close, though they have never been there before, they now want to go. His visual world is very understandable and familiar. When spectators experience it, upon viewing his painting, they recall their own experiences and memories. The true passion and boundless affection towards everything that is connected with the nature of the native land are felt in the works of Vladimir. Vladimir has the same interest towards the portrait. He fills the portrait with emotional content derived from nature forces, positive energy and the feeling of serenity, while creating a soft airy environment in the background.

Vladimir Maslenikov "Portrait of a father." 1996, 110х80

Pavel Maslenikov (b. 1983), as well as his father, became familiar with the family traditions in painting from his early childhood. Already at the age of five, he went to make sketches together with his grandfather and father. He learned the secrets of family skills from his elders. These studies influenced him a lot and defined the style of his works. When Pavel Maslenikov grew up, he preserved the traditions of his family's creativity and started to search for his own style through a synthesis of the expressive sketches, characteristic of his grandfather, and the strict composition, classical form and articulation of details, particular to his father. Due to his use of passionate color and a rich buildup of paint, the works of Pavel Maslenikov have come to life in new ways, and his innovative perspectives and stories continue to underscore the splendid beauty of Belarus. But at the same time, Pavel Maslenikov also pays attention to the tendencies that are developing in contemporary Belarusian art.
Each one of the three generations of artists from the Maslenikovy family is different, and each tries to achieve new goals and find his own unique style. The only thing that remains exactly the same in this family is the love towards their country, which gives them strength and provides them with an inexhaustible source of inspiration.

Zinkevich A.
Art critic
Director of the State Art Gallery

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