Victor Taydakoff and his Art

By Tatiana Novikova*

.Art critics always pay attention to the special role of light in the works of Victor Illarionovich Taydakov. His paintings scatter luminescent rays, it’s tempting to look behind you: is there a sunny spot on the opposite wall? But it’s not that simple. His palette is multicolour, but wise and balanced. His light is magic, but undeniably authentic. Just to see it, you must have the eyes of an artist and a heart full of love.

Victor Taydakoff’s talent was discovered during his early childhood in Syzran. His family moved there from Klyavlino, the village where he was born in 1949. His artistic vision of the world was discovored by his attentive mother, Zoya Ivanovna, who was a professional (and outstanding) teacher. She not only saw the «otherness» of her son, but also supported him in his desire to express himself in art. Victor’s first «personal exhibition» took place at his own home and was critical for his future as an artist.

As a boy he was sent by his family to learn artistic techniques in the paint studio of Syzran Pioneer’s House. He was taught well there: after leaving high school Victor got a job as a professional artist. Shortly afterwards. he enrolled at the renowned Savitsky College of Arts in Penza. The boy’s teachers there were such famous masters as A. Shurchiloff, G.v. Zhakoff, the director of the College R.v. Anokhina.

After graduation, Victor Illarionovich was sent to East Kazakhstan. This was a special period, which has left a imprint in his touching landscapes and sketches of nature and people of Altai. He worked eagerly, transferring onto his palette the vivid colors of nature in this legendary district. His art had now found its voices: a bold, refined color palette, a quiet joy of being alive, a thin nerve of realities that make the handwriting of this master so recognizable.

This intensity stayed in his works, when, in 1973, he returned to Syzran and the banks of the Middle Volga. He began to depict his native land, full of heavenly light, with a throbbing artery of real life, with it’s churches, woods, river water, and, of course, people…

Here is one of the oldest pictures of Victor Taydakoff — «Natasha. Old Book». His young wife served as a model for it. A girl immersed in the study of a tatty and dogeared book. Her tilted figure shapes the space as an axis of invisible energy, as she, the reader, changes the world around her, filling it with the indisputable sense of being happy, known to children and philosophers. It seems that this feeling comes from the old book, that has gripped the attention of the girl. But no, it is her own self, whose physical presence fills the serene space around her with spirit.

В. Тайдаков. Наташа. Старая книга.

Victor Illarionovich once explained in an interview how he sees the differences between the portrayal of nature and humans. For the picture of nature, he said, it is important to capture the fleeting moment of joy. For the portrait, it is more important to reveal the inner essence of human nature, to see the depth of the experience. Put another way, he watches the person in the light of time, and not just space. Isn’t this the knowledge of the nature of human inner light?


Victor Illarionovich still lives and works in Syzran, surrounded by his loving family. Now a respectable master, he teaches young artists, whilst exploring his own personal creative potential. These days Taydakoff uses various techniques — the rich oil paints, the fragile delicacy of watercolor, the confident expression of tempera. They are only the instruments for describing the moments of life. He paints it with a metaphysical care; this master does not need tricks, there are already a lot of miracles in his world.

They say that much of the creative impetus in his later years he got from his beloved brother, who was a model for many pictures. Yuri Taydakoff is a famous explorer, a conqueror of Mount Everest and the North and South poles. It was he, a loyal friend and admirer of Victor’s talent, who inspired the Jubilee Exhibition of the artist’s 60th anniversary. The exhibition chronicled the earliest paintings and also identified the new creative vector for the art of the mature master.

В. Тайдаков. Восхождение на Эверест. В базовом лагере 5200 м.

In recent years Victor Illarionovich achieved a lot with complex watercolor techniques, much more than people expect from watercolors. Take a look at his sketches made in the spring of 2010: the faithful colour reproduction in a festive game of snow shadows, water and live lines — it is the ancient, eternal existence tossed in melting snow, and, at the same time, it is an inevitable movement of young life. These works are far from decoration; they are true to the soaked shoes and frozen hands. They breathe the open air!

It’s true — there in the inner, light generates reverb, which makes two-dimensional space alive. The similar reverberations, like ones that would be generated by good music: it’s not just physics, it is also an art.

The year 2011 is special for Victor Illarionovich Taydakoff. It marks the 40th years of his professional activity after graduating from college. His personal exhibition in Samara is the next stage of artistic maturity for the master. His work, old and very new, formed the basis for the art project «Reverb», which is presented to the public in Samara. The exhibition is accompanied with live music by Alexei Stanchinsky, which is so resonant to the mood of the artist’s work. This presents the world as it is seen by the artist Victor Taydakoff. A world, full of colours, light and mystery.

*The text was translated by author