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Mikhail Zviagin

1931 - 2021

Painting / Sculpture


Mikhail Zviagin was a well-known Russian artist whose works were displayed at museums and other cultural sites throughout the world. Born in Leningrad (St. Petersburg), Mikhail was just ten years old when Hitler invaded the USSR and blockaded his native city for 872 days. The siege left an unforgettable impression on the artist, which will be reflected in his oeuvre. For more than half a century of intensive creative activity, Zviagin worked in almost all genres of painting, from still life to portrait, from landscape to animal images. He experimented widely with color and style, from the gloomy realism of the industrial landscape to the picturesque language of metaphorical and abstract art. His paintings depicting the images of violence and bacchanalia of triumphant and intoxicated monsters are especially striking. One of the most important works in the artist’s own view was Babi Yar 1981-1985, commemorating the infamous atrocity committed by the Nazis in Kyiv, Ukraine, in 1941, killing over 33 thousand Jews.  


At the beginning of the 21st century, Zviagin turned to sculpture and repeated a number of his pictorial scenes in bronze, including the “Blockade Madonna,” the work memorializing the 65th anniversary of lifting the Leningrad blockade, which was presented to the city of St. Petersburg in 2001. His monument to the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin is at the Russian Consulate in New York, and his sculpture “Grief,” dedicated to the victims of the Leningrad blockade, was donated to the German town of Gorish by Dmitriy Shostakovich’s widow, Irina.


The works of Mikhail Zviagin were exhibited at numerous museums, including the Russian Museum and Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia, The Wall Museum in Berlin, Germany, and museums in Omsk, Tula, Voronezh, Smolensk, and other Russian cities. His paintings are in the permanent collection at Zimmerli Art Museum, New Jersey, USA. The most recent solo exhibition was held by the Erarta Museum, St. Petersburg, from December 2018 through February 2019.

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