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Alexey Stepanovich Stepanov - Russian and animal artist. He acted as an illustrator for the book "Pictures of Russian nature and life." This artist does not have such mass fame as, for example, Levitan or Shishkin, but he is one of the best realistic authors of the beginning of the 20th century. It is considered one of the creators of the Russian realistic plein air.
The creative heritage of the artist Stepanov includes many landscapes with the beauties of Russian nature, portraits, paintings depicting Russian villages and their way of life (for example, “In the Garden”, “On the Woods”, “Village in Winter”).
But the artist achieved the highest skill in the image of animals and birds, making accurate and unique pencil sketches. As an avid hunter, Stepanov made sketches on the go right from the elusive living nature. In just a few points and leading lines, the artist created realistic pictures of animals and birds, conveying with phenomenal accuracy each muscle or hair of hair. These drawings could well serve as a teaching aid for beginning artists, since by constantly studying his eyesight and hand, the artist achieved true resemblance to nature (for example, the Triton drawing, which depicts the head of a racehorse, which is depicted very realistically).
The painter’s pencil sketch “The Bear” also belongs to such works of the artist. Dense and dynamic, almost black hatching with a pencil in the area of the front legs and face of the animal, alternates with the gray penumbra of its body, creating the outline of a half-sitting bear. It seems that the animal is about to rise from its hind legs and, turning, will go back to the raspberry. Stepanov managed to achieve the impossible by overcoming the statics of a pencil drawing, as if reviving an image, and setting it in motion with the help of contrasting nuances of pencil strokes.
Alexey Stepanovich Stepanov is a truly national artist, because in his paintings he depicted the simple and realistic beauty of Russian nature, life and the village.