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Museum Collection

Illustrations by Y.P.Rebrov

182 illustrations to the works of M.A.Sholohkov, by Y.P.Rebrov, Honoured Artist of the RSFSR, are kept in the stores of the National M.A.Sholokhov Museum-Reserve.

Yury Petrovich Rebrov illustrated almost all the works by M.A.Sholokhov. He said: “Sholokhov is my favourite writer, I have given him the most part of my heart, I have got adhered to his personages, using Sholokhov’s expression, “with my umbilical cord”.

Rebrov met with Sholokhov in 1956, the next day after “The Fate of a Man” was published in the newspaper “Pravda”. The publisher “Molodaya Gvardiya” proposed the artist to illustrate the story.

Y.P.Rebrov recalls: “Now I would probably think that this work is too responsible, but then, for my youth, I agreed. Mikhail Alexandrovich saw the sketches and approved them. Later I made drawings to nearly all the works by Sholokhov.

Mikhail Alexandrovich was very attentive to the details, to knowledge of life and to ethnography. My origination from the Cossack family, the life in the Kuban region helped a lot. I walked all over the Don country, made many friends, studied the “Sholokhov’s types”…

In 1959, Y.P.Rebrov made black-and-white drawings to the chapters of the novel “They Fought for Their Country”. The second variant of the series of illustrations made in coloured watercolour entered into the deluxe edition of the book for the 50th anniversary of the Great Victory. The artist created psychologically true illustrations – dramatic and humorous, depicted battle scenes with great skill.

For about ten years Rebrov had worked over the illustrations to the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don”. Several times he visited the Don, Sholokhov region, lived in the villages and stanitsas, watched the life of Cossacks, admired the nature of the Don country and created a picture epopee relying only on his own perception of the novel.

The artist said about his work: …”My illustrations are a kind of “parallel sheets” to the works by Sholokhov, my impressions about his personages. The only thing I limited myself to was to preserve those successful visual images that had already been found by the artists and film makers working over the works by Sholokhov”.

The first illustrations by Rebrov to the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don”, made in watercolours, appeared in 1962. In 1965, the publisher “Molodaya Gvardiya” issued a deluxe edition of the novel dedicated to the 60th anniversary of M.A.Sholokhov with new illustrations. The most interesting are the portraits: “Aksiniya”,”Grigory, a Conscript”, “Stepan Astakhov”, paired portraits “Dariya and Pantelei Prokofiyevich”, “Pantelei Prokofiyevich and Miron Grigoriyevich”, in which the artist managed to show a clash of characters. Very realistic are the landscape pictures “At the Outskirts of the Village”, “Tatarsky Village”,”The Don Father” and battle scenes.

For the series of illustrations to the novel by M.A.Sholokhov “And Quiet Flows the Don” Y.P.Rebrov was awarded Silver Medal of the USSR Academy of Fine Arts (1969–1970).

The artist created one of the best graphic portraits of the writer. The first variant of the portrait made in 1970 is kept in the stores of the Museum-Reserve, and the second, made in 1978, is in the House-Museum of M.A.Sholokhov in his Estate in Stanitsa Vyoshenskaya.

On January, 18, 1984, being seriously ill M.A.Sholokhov wrote to Y.P.Rebrov from the Central Clinical Hospital: “I have received my portrait, your present, the work you have created. Thank you very much, dear Yury Petrovich. I remember well your working over the illustrations to the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don”. M.Sholokhov”.

There are 184 works by Yury Rebrov in the Museum-Reserve collection: 95 illustrations to the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don” and 63 printmaking illustrations to this work, 18 illustrations to the book “They Fought for Their Country”, 3 – to the story “The Road”, 2– to the story “The Fate of a Man”, 1 – to the story “The Getling” and two portraits of the writer.

Yury Petrovich Rebrov (1929–2012) was a graphic artist, illustrator and portraitist. He was born in Tomsk. In 1949 he graduated with honours from the Alma-Ata school of Theatre and Art. The first works by the artist were published in the magazines “Smena”, “Ogonyok”, “Sovetsky Voin”. In 1951–1953 he worked at the M.B.Grekov War Artists Studio, where the war theme became his main subject.

He was the Member of the USSR Union of Artists (1958). In 1975, for his outstanding success in the fine art he was awarded the title “Honoured Artist of the RSFSR”.

The artist created a lot of portraits of well-known people: MA.Sholokhov, V.I.Lenin, M.I.Kalinin, N.K.Krupskaya, L.I.Brezhnev, T.Zhivkov and others. He made illustrations to lots of books, drew numerous landscapes and still-lifes. The works by Y.P.Rebrov are found in the museums and private collections in Russia and abroad.

 

Valentina Leonova