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Museum Collection

A Sketch for the Film “The Quiet Don”

A sketch “Grigory and Aksiniya” made by Boris Dulenkov for the film “The Quiet Don” is the only work of the artist, which is kept in the holding of the National Sholokhov Museum-Reserve. It entered into the Museum-Reserve collection in 1989 from S.A. Mytnikova from Rostov-on-Don.

The work made in gouache depicts a meeting of Grigory and Aksiniya on the bank of the River Don. Aksiniya is going up from the river carrying pails of water on the yoke. Grigory is shown mounted on horseback. The sketch is made with a great skill.

Boris Dmitriyevich Dulenkov was appointed art-director for the film “The Quiet Don” against the wish of the film-director S.A. Gherasimov, who wanted Orest Vereisky, the novel illustrator, to be taken for this job.

But the “Mosfilm” administration objected to appointing Vereisky. The studio director Dmitry Britikov questioned: “Do you want an artist-director or an artist-painter? If an artist-director, then take Boris Dulenkov, he will provide all the job. Vereisky would picture everything, but could hardly make up the scenery”.

B.D. Dulenkov began his work with a make up of the film drawing still by still, from close-up to middle and long shots. He made all the sketches in gouache.

S.A. Gherasimov was impressed by the artist’s works and agreed to co-operate with him. In the middle of October, 1955, the film director sent the artist to Vyoshenskaya to learn to know about the Cossack everyday life.

“…While preparing for the visit I made up questions, copied out numerous quotations, noted the characteristics and descriptions of definite places… For week I had been studying the stanitsa, visited distant villages. The landscapes around Vyoshenskaya are fascinating, picturesque and expressive, the Don banks are peculiar, of various height: in some places they are low, gently sloping, with long bright yellow sandy shallows, and being high and craggy in others. Farther, a boundless steppe lay, near the river it was crossed by gullies and ravines overgrown with bushes of dog-rose and blackberries.

In Vyoshenskaya Dulenkov met with Mikhail Alexandrovich Sholokhov, who advised him to choose the sites for location shooting closer to town and railway: “Take a good look at the Seversky Donets. I am sure you would find the places looking like ours”. And so it came out, and shooting the film “The Quiet Don” took place in Dichensky Village on the River Donets.

The artist published his recollections about his meetings with M.A. Sholokhov in the journal of “Ogonyok”, in 1985.

After the film “The Quiet Don” was shown on the screen B.D. Dulenkov painted the picture “Funeral of Aksiniya”, also called “Black Moon”. The picture  was made in several variants, one of them adorns the exhibition in the Kolomensk Museum-Reserve. But nothing is known about the rest of the sketches.

 

Valentina Leonova

 

Boris Dmitriyevich Dulenkov was born in 1918, in Moscow. In 1951 he graduated from the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography, was taught by F.S. Bogorodsky, Y.I. Pimenov, G.M. Shegal. He began his working career at the M. Gorky Central Studio of Children’s and Youth Films. In 1969 B.D. Dulenkov was awarded the title of “Honoured Artist of the RSFSR” and in 1982 – the title of “The People’s Artist of the RSFSR”. B.D. Dulenkov deceased in 1992.