Nikolai NOVIKOV at NB Gallery

By Ross Hunter, Headmaster, ESS School, Lefortovo

The renowned NB Gallery has just opened an exhibition of works by Nikolai Novikov (1922-2013), and also his son Alexander. It is well worth a visit – but hurry, it is only open until Christmas Day (new).

If you are an expat reading this, or a local likely to travel abroad, the question of how to convey an image of Russia to those poor souls who have never been, is a frequent puzzle. Photos are not much help under the flat grey winter cloud, and opportunities to get out of Moscow and into Russia (yes I do mean that) are rare. How about an original painting?Nikolai Novikov’s works are quintessentially local, and instantly evocative, by subject, colour tones and composition. There is a splendid collection of them on view now at the NB Gallery, just round the corner from Kropotkinskaya Metro (details below). Whether your preference is for village buildings, urban architecture, winter landscapes, still lifes, or portraits – with even the odd sunset, there is something worth enjoying.

Throughout his long career, Nikolai was faithful to the essential artistic principle of trying to catch the light, right there, right then, in all its infinite variation and change. There is no mistaking that he painted under uniquely Russian skies. The results are landscapes that you can feel yourself in. Subtle colours, usually soft tones – paintings that will endure. His portrayal of buildings seen through a fine veil of trees, in several seasons, are especially inviting.

Nikolai Novikov was also a very fine portraitist, and captured character and expression expertly, in subjects often posing outside in the landscape. Unfortunately, many of his portraits are in private hands, so only a few are on the market. They are well worth collecting. The paintings in this expo are not priced, but they are astoundingly reasonable, and easily accessible for most budgets, for home enjoyment or as gifts.

There is always an eclectic selection of other C20th Russian artists’ work on show at NB, currently including works by Nikolai’s son, Alexander, who is at his best in the far north, capturing life and landscapes around Murmansk, among others.

6/2 Sivtsev Vrazhek (just off Gogolevsky Blvd)

Entrancfe 1, Suite 2, door code 002