St. George Slaying the Dragon


gouache on paper
9 1/2 x 8 1/8 inches
IM 2


Ilya Mashkov [1881-1944] was a Russian artist, one of the most significant and at the same time most characteristic painters of the circle of "Jack of Diamonds." 


He was born in the cossack village Mikhailovskaya-on-Don (near Volgograd) 29 July 1881 in a peasant family. After arriving at Moscow in 1900 he attended the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, whose teachers included Konstantin Korovin and Valentin Serov. In 1909 he was expelled from the school because of his artistic free thinking. He traveled much as a student, visiting a number of the countries of West Europe, and also Turkey and Egypt. He was the member of associations "Mir iskusstva" and "Jack of Diamonds." He lived in Moscow, sometimes visiting his village.

Mashkov's creative work reflected the color revolution of the 20th century. The artistic innovations of Paul Cézanne and Henri Matisse were evident in his paintings which contained the full-blooded energy of folk art. Turbulent color expression, infected with vital energy, is combined with the laws of primary symmetry characteristic of urban folklore. The artist achieved particular expressiveness in still life, his favorite genre. He hyperboles the material world, condenses forms, dramatizes color contrasts and exaggerates texture, creating powerful pictorial formulas.

In addition to the Jack of Diamonds main genre of still life, Mashkov created theatrical, shocking portraits. In the 1920-1930s the artist tried to amalgamate his innovative achievements with the refinement of paintings by old masters. Later the artist followed the principles of Socialist Realism. Remaining true to his great love for nature, he continued to produce masterpieces.

In 1906 Mashkov started to exhibit at the Salon d'Automne Exposition de l'art russe, and at the Salon des Indépendants in 1911.

In 1913 he participated in the Exposition Internationale du Cercle de l’art Moderne à Amsterdam in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. In 1924 Mashkov's works were exhibited in the United States and Venice.

He died in Moscow on 20 March 1944.