Minyaev Vassily

Василий Миняев

1907 — 1993

Vassily Minyaev was born in the family of the architect of the Peterhof Court Administration Alexander Minyaev, the author of the Female Gymnasium in Peterhof and the Cathedral of Archangel Michael in Oranienbaum.

In 1923 Vassily Minyaev studied graphics at Leningrad Art and Industry College and simultaneously taught graphic art at the “Znamenka" communal school in Peterhof. In 1928 after graduating from the college Mynaev entered the department of architecture at the Leningrad Academy of arts. After the department was closed in 1930 Minyaev transferred to Leningrad Civil Engineering Institute which he graduated from in 1934. In a while the famous futurist Yakov Chernikhov invited Minyaev to work at the illustrations for his two books, “Architectural fantasies" and “Architectural tales".

After the institute Minyaev went to Chelyabinsk where he worked as an architect for a while, however, he returned to Leningrad in a year and began his art career. In 1937 Minyaev became a member of the Union of Architects and after three years he was invited by Chernikhov to come to Moscow in order to take part in the project for the Palace of Communism. In Moscow he met Ivan Zholtovsky, the leading architect who later became not only his patron but also his friend. In 1942 Minyaev was called up for military service, but quite soon he was demobilized because of the sudden discovery of tuberculosis. For three subsequent war years Minyaev worked at the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute named after N.Y.Zhukovsky. In 1945 Vassily Minyaev went in for mural painting and started working with Zholtovsky.

From 1949 till 1956 he painted two plafonds in the antechambers of the residential house in Smolenskaya square (by the architect I.Zholtovsky), created murals at the children's library named after А.М. Gorky (by the architect B.Landa), painted the ceiling in the governmental mansion in Vorobyovy Hills, authored picturesque panels at the banquet hall of the “Sovetskaya" hotel (by the architect I.Loveiko). However, many of his projects did not see the light of day due to the fight with “excesses in architecture" started with the coming of Khruschev. In 1954 Vassily Minyaev began to work as an architect at the Giprobytprom, an organization engaged in the design of the housing and public utility objects, where he completed his career as an architect in 1975.

Despite the change in the working environment, art and graphics still had an important place in Minyaev's creative activity. His art and graphic heritage is surprisingly variable. Vassily Minyaev is the author of numerous artworks and graphics. Being an expert in art history, an experimentalist and a Renaissance fan, he worked in different genres over the years. In 1950s Minyaev created his own style of landscape and genre paintings with oil on paper. After his trip to Central Asia in 1950 the artist became attracted to the Oriental motifs, and while working on the murals based on Pushkin's fairy tales he created a lot of sketches to the “The Tale of the Golden Cockerel", which bigger part was dedicated to the image of Scheherezade. Inspired by the pieces of Pushkin, Goethe and Shakespeare Minyaev produced a whole series of artworks dedicated to the famed classics: “Boris Godunov", “Ruslan and Ludmilla", “Faust", “Romeo and Juliet" and “King Lear".

In the 1960s and 1970s the artist generally worked with tempera. His large expressive compositions make up the most part of this period's legacy.

Vassily Minyaev's personal exhibitions took place at the Moscow House of Architect in 1963-1964 and in 1988, at the Moscow State Stroganov Academy of Industrial and Applied Arts in 1989. In 1991 there was a joint exhibition of Vasily Minyaev and sculptress Maria Kharlamova at the State Museum of Urban Culture in Leningrad. In 1994 there was a major exhibition of Vassily Minyaev's works at the Central House of Artist. In 1999 Vassily Minyaev's artworks were exhibited at the International Fair “Art of the XX century" in New York. In 2007 the Ground Moscow State Exhibition Gallery organized Minyaev's show devoted to the artist's 100 th birthday. In addition, in 2013 and 2014 there were exhibitions at the Moscow's NB Gallery which resulted in the publication of a book dedicated to the artist's life and creative activity. In April 2015 exhibition of works by Vassily Minyaev took place in Trinity Church of Gatchina Palace in Gatchina (near St. Petersburg).

Artworks by Vassily Minyaev are represented in the State Museum-Reserve "Gatchina", numerous private collections in Russia and abroad.