Ivan Bilibin – Russian folklore

Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin (1876 – 1945) was a 20th-century illustrator and stage designer, deeply inspired by Slavic folklore. He was born in a suburb of St. Petersburg and studied in Art Schools in Munich under Anton Ažbe and in his native town under the famous Russian painter Ilya Repin. Major influence upon his art was the journey he made in the Russian North (1902–1904) where he became fascinated with old wooden architecture and Russian folklore. Up to the  October Revolution, he was working for different local magazines and released a book with illustrations of fairy tales, but in 1917 he left Russia after the revolution proved alien to him. He settled in Paris in 1925, where he decorated private mansions and Orthodox churches. However longing for his homeland and after decorating the Soviet Embassy in 1936, he returned to Soviet Russia, delivering lectures at the Russian Academy of Arts until 1941. Bilibin died during the Siege of Leningrad and was buried in a collective grave.

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