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The life and amazing adventures of Ivan Myasoedov

Ivan Myasoedov did not resemble a stereotypical artist, as he was used to seeing the layman. He could tie a knot in a poker, appear in public in the buff, and his talent found unexpected-criminal-use.

Gregory the terrible and his son Ivan
The founder of the society of Wanderers, the artist Grigory Myasoedov was a man of character. Acerbic, quarrelsome, prone to unmotivated and uncontrollable outbursts of anger, he got along with few people. His first marriage was unhappy and childless. The second (civil) — with Ksenia Ivanova, in past his a pupil-rather, partnership agreement. Xenia for the most part bustled around the house, acting as housekeeper, cook and nanny. Meat eaters graciously took care of her, allowed her to live next.
Ilya Efimovich Repin. Ivan the awesome and his son Ivan on November 16, 1581
Ivan the awesome and his son Ivan on November 16, 1581
Ilya Efimovich Repin
1885, 199.5×254 cm
Physically he had appropriate. When Repin wrote off Ivan the terrible, Grigory Grigorievich said with undisguised pleasure:”Ilya took the Tsar from me, because no one had such a brutal expression on his face as I have.”

It is possible, however, that Repin’s choice of model was prompted not only by the brutal expression on Myasoedov’s face.

Little Ivan Myasoedov with his father
His only son he at once took a dislike to. Perhaps the child was not welcome, and perhaps Grigory Grigoryevich had some reason to believe that the boy — not from him. Once he (albeit on another occasion) admitted in a letter: “my Head is like an old spoiled musical snuffbox, something hisses incomprehensible”-the elder Myasoedov often did not understand his motives himself. Whatever it was, he forbade his wife to show any maternal feelings: up to 17 years, Vanya believed that Ksenia Ivanova — his nurse, and Grigory Myasoedov — guardian. Soon Myasoedov defined the son on education in a family of the friend — the artist Alexander Kiselyov.

Kiselev loved children (they, by the way, had seven of their own). The boy had his quirks, but they were tolerated in this house. However, even the Kiselevs gave up when during a dinner party as usual gloomy and quarrelsome Vanechka blew his nose right in the floor of Nikolai Makovsky’s elegant frock coat. After this incident, Grigory Myasoedov had to take the boy home (Ivan was seven at the time).

It made little difference. Alexander Kiselyov’s son, Nikolai, wrote in his memoirs:”Grigory Grigoryevich Myasoedov did not give the impression of a man for whom children were a fascinating spectacle.” But he did not love his own son very much. This withering paternal dislike was not only an accompaniment to the childhood of Ivan Myasoedov, but also a powerful motivator, a stimulus that determined the direction of all his future roads. Roads, winding, unpredictable, and sometimes slippery.

Ivan Myasoedov in the image of Dionysus
Ivan Grigor’evich changes his profession
As a child, Ivan Myasoedov began to study drawing at a private school organized by his father. At 15 he entered the Moscow school of painting, later – the Imperial Academy of arts. Of course, there was no question of continuity. Everything that was nice to Grigory Myasoedov, Ivan Myasoedov despised (and Vice versa). The artist Vladimir Milashevsky wrote about Ivan Myasoedov: “He was the son of the famous artist-wanderer, but did not inherit anything from the pillar of Peredvizhnichestvo in appearance or essence.”
He was attracted by mythological stories from the epic, the exploits of the gods, the heroes — all the things from which he fled Wanderers.
Ivan Grigoryevich Myasoedov. Argonauts
Argonauts
Ivan Grigoryevich Myasoedov
1920s
The elder Myasoedov was a music lover, adored Bach and Chopin. Junior liked the circus.

The elder played chess. The younger one juggled weights and, as a joke, girded the guards at the Academy with steel rods — in the manner of sashes.

Passion for “muscle sports” almost became his main profession. While studying at the Academy, Ivan Myasoedov joined the athletic society of count Ribopier, and at the age of 28 he took second place in the all-Russian weightlifting championship. His classmate Petrov-Vodkin recalled: “the Smoking Room was our place of gatherings, recreation and entertainment. I. only the meat eaters could doplyunut to ceiling and even to kill a fly on it. In those days he was already knotting the stokers ‘ stoves, extinguishing a candle at a distance of the whole Smoking-room, knocking a silver rouble out of a glass with his stale breath. Was a beautiful young man, especially to overload the muscles by lifting. He loved his body, and it was a pleasure to draw from it-so he elegantly brought every muscle.”

Ivan Myasoedov in the guise of Bacchus (1905)
The younger Myasoedov’s fascination with antiquity went beyond painting, he was devoted to the cult of beauty and power on both sides of the canvas.

During his retirement trip to Italy, Myasoedov visited the Roman circus. When, after the power room entertainer invited from the public wishing to repeat the trick of local athletes, meat eaters came out to the arena. He easily repeated the number, and the promised reward immediately gave to charity — this was written in the Roman Newspapers.
Russia heard incredible rumors about these Roman holidays: they said that Myasoedov performed in the Colosseum, that he won a male beauty contest, killed a bull with a blow of his fist, etc., etc.

Returning home, Myasoedov performed in circuses, cabarets and cafes. He often appeared in public in a provocatively short tunic (and sometimes without it). He even wrote A “Manifesto on nudity”, becoming one of the first in these latitudes propagandist nudism. The image was complemented by blue “miner’s” eyelids-Ivan Grigorievich made a tattoo, explaining that in the circus he has “water numbers” and it will not work to paint his eyes — mascara will flow.

Needless to say, all this greatly unnerved Grigory Myasoedov, a man of a completely different cast.

And however, so and was conceived. After the death of his mother, Ivan lived for some time with his father in the estate near Poltava. He deliberately threw his weights all over the house and on the paths in the garden. My father kept tripping over them, but he could not budge them — he had never been in good health. His pride would not allow him to ask his son to remove the weights. “Try, try,” he said through his teeth,”you can’t get stronger than a horse.”
Ivan Grigoryevich Myasoedov. Outbuilding in the estate in Pavlenki
Outbuilding in the estate in Pavlenki
Ivan Grigoryevich Myasoedov
1910s
Ivan Grigoryevich Myasoedov. Farewell to the Peacocks
Farewell to the Peacocks
Ivan Grigoryevich Myasoedov
One thousand nine hundred thirty
Ivan Grigoryevich Myasoedov. Tea party in Pavlenki
Tea party in Pavlenki
Ivan Grigoryevich Myasoedov
1910s
Ivan Grigoryevich Myasoedov. Outbuilding in the estate in Pavlenki
Outbuilding in the estate in Pavlenki
Ivan Grigoryevich Myasoedov
1910s
Ivan Grigoryevich Myasoedov. Farewell to the Peacocks
Farewell to the Peacocks
Ivan Grigoryevich Myasoedov
One thousand nine hundred thirty
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By the way, Valentin Pikul wrote about the fate of Myasoedov Jr.
A few dollars more
If “muscle sport” and distracted Ivan Myasoedov from painting, the engraving craft he studied with unexpected diligence. His mentor was the famous Vasily mate — one of the best masters of his time.

In 1911, when Grigory Myasoedov was already at death’s door, Ivan with the scrupulousness of an engraver and undisguised vindictive voluptuousness sketched his father’s death agony. The collection of paintings-almost everything that the elder miasoedov drew and collected all his life-he ruthlessly sold for a song.
Ivan Grigoryevich Myasoedov. Agony. Portrait of his father on his deathbed
Agony. Portrait of his father on his deathbed
Ivan Grigoryevich Myasoedov
One thousand nine hundred eleven
A year later he married the dancer Malvina Vernici — a petite beauty, half Italian. For a time they lived in their father’s estate in Pavlenki, where they built a separate house in the Italian style. The couple lived virtually from hand to mouth. Nobody bought Myasoedov’s pictures, on arenas there was a competition. Vladimir Milashevsky wrote: “Myasoedov always appeared accompanied by his pretty Italian wife, a very small woman. He wasn’t so much hugging her as covering her shoulders with one of his hands. They stood together at the cash register… conferring: would there be enough for two servings of beef Stroganoff? Poor Gladiator! It was evident that, despite the legends surrounding his name and the earnings of the interviewers, his personal Affairs were bad.”
Malvina Vernici
Ivan Myasoedov. portrait of Malvina Vernici, the artist’s wife (1910s)
After the revolution, he served in Denikin’s army as a sort of cultural attaché. He was arrested in Crimea by chekists. Later Myasoedov told that it was going to be shot and even gave a gun volley over the head. But for some reason the Bolsheviks decided to postpone the execution, and Ivan Grigoryevich (breaking the bars with his bare hands) managed to escape. After finding his wife, he left Russia – first Istanbul, and from there to Berlin.
Ivan Grigoryevich Myasoedov. Street in Berlin
Street in Berlin
Ivan Grigoryevich Myasoedov
One thousand nine hundred twenty
In Germany, the meat-Eaters suddenly became rich. Against the background of the General economic crisis, their life seemed like a feast during the plague. “Where did the money come from?”- asked their poor compatriots-emigrants, – ” You that their draw?”.

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Drawings By Ivan Myasoedov
The answer came to light in 1923, when Myasoedov was first arrested for counterfeiting currency — the artist too literally interpreted the concept of “realism” and produced banknotes of impeccable quality. And meat-eaters forged not consumptive brand, and strong pounds and dollars.

Taking all the blame (Malvina in this family business was responsible for sales), he served his first term in the notorious Moabite prison. Painted frescoes in the chapel of the prison, Ivan Grigoryevich has earned parole and was released after a couple of years.

For a time he lived in a modest way. Painted portraits to order. He drew posters for films and even performed several roles in movies.

Ivan Myasoedov. shot from the film “Games of the Empress” (1929)
In other crimes, Ivan Grigorievich was not convicted. At least until 1933, when he was arrested again for counterfeiting.

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