Konstantín Alexeyevich Vasilyev (Russian: Константи́н Алексе́евич Васи́льев; born Sept. 3, 1942, in Maykop, died Oct. 29, 1976 in a railway accident near Kazan [his family did not believe the official version of his death]); Russian illustrator, who left more than 400 paintings and drawings. His range of works included portraits, landscapes, realistic compositions, Russian epics, Slavic and Teutonic mythology, and battle paintings.

The minor planet 3930 Vasilev, discovered by Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Zhuravlyova in 1982 is named after him.

The creative legacy of Konstantin Vasiliev is extensive, comprising paintings, drawings, studies, illustrations, and sketches for the painting of a church in Omsk. In the early 1960s, his work began to take on influences from surrealism and even abstract expressionism. In the late 1960s, his abandoned artistic formalism and turned to a more mannered realism.

Vasiliev turned for inspiration from Russian folklore sources, to Russian songs, epics, fairy tales, Scandinavian and Irish sagas, and the poetry of the Edda. He produced works with motifs drawn from mythology, the Slavic and Scandinavian epics, and the Second Great Patriotic War (World War II on the Russian front). He didn’t neglect portraiture and landscape work. In addition, he created graphic cycles of great composers (1961-62) and on the Wagnerian operatic cycle, Der Ring des Nibelungen (1970s)...

He died in 1976 under mysterious circumstances when hit by a passing train.

...perished tragically with a friend when they were hit by a passing train at a railway crossing on 29 Oct. 1976. He was buried in his home village, which was renamed in his honour....

Vasiliev is like Norman Rockwell. One either loves his work for its immediacy or one vilifies him as a “mere illustrator”...
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


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