Konstantin Andreevich SOMOV 1869 — 1939
Костянтин Андрійович СОМОВ • Константин Андреевич СОМОВ
Konstantin Somov was born in 1869 in St. Petersburg, Russia into the family of the senior curator at the Hermitage, artist and art historian, Andrei Ivanovich Somov and his wife, Nadezhda Constantinovna, an excellent musician. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in St.Petersburg, where from 1894 he began studied under under I.Repin, and at the Academy of V.Colarossi in Paris (1897-1899). He was awarded the rank of Academician of the Academy of Arts in 1913. He taught at the faculty of painting at PGSKhUM (Petrograd State Free Art Educational Workshops). Somov worked in the styles of Modern and Symbolism, used stylization of Rococo methods and themes. Until 1910 he mainly painted portraits turning subsequently to traditional masks of commedia dell’arte. Although his subjects are highly entertaining, a certain tragic sensation is present. The artist returns time and again to the theme of death, the frailty of life. He created realistic portraits of the artists and symbolist writers of that time. Somov successfully worked in the genre of small porcelain figurines, painting them himself. In addition, he created many graceful and elegant covers, vignettes, head-pieces, silhouettes and illustrations for books and journals. In 1900-1910, Somov’s works shown at exhibitions of “World of Art” society, Union of Russian painters, Munich and Berlin Secessions, autumn Salon of 1906 in Paris and others became widely known in Europe. The artist was especially popular in Germany, where, in 1907, the first monograph about him was published by Oscar Bic. From 1923 Somov lived in USA, and in 1925 he moved to Paris In this period he painted mainly portraits. He died in Paris in 1939.