Art / History / Biography

Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky:

One of the Many Artists Who Embody Our Message

Self-portrait

Our home page features a variety of art work from artists who share with us an appreciation of boyhood in its different aspects. We recently chose a painting by Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky depicting the physical energy of boys engaged in a tug-o-war. In another picture by the same artist, we see a different kind of energy. The boys in the classroom are in deep thought about a problem their teacher has put before them. We also see a delightful intimacy in the painting with two of the boys flanking their teacher, one whispering his idea into the teacher's ear. The mutual affection of teacher and class is palpable. The atmosphere at a time and place where education would normally have been rigid and punitive is informal and free. We sense that any of these poorly clad boys would have no hesitation to also whisper their own thoughts in their teacher's ear.

Bogdanov-Belsky studied art at the Semyon Rachinsky fine art school. It is likely that the S. Rachinsky portrayed in his schoolroom painting is the same person. It seems clear from the painting that he viewed the man with great affection.

The two Bogdanov-Belsky paintings we have featured illustrate different kinds of intimacies that we find very touching. This artist, in his other works, shows a great sensitivity for boys in particular and children in general. Bogdanov-Belsky's masterful works also show an even-handed sensitivity for adults as for the young.

The following quotation from the artist sums it up:

Children have always fascinated me, I have dedicated my life to them and still do …the world of a child is truly good!” - Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky

Copyright NAMBLA, 2013

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