Vladimir Muhin belongs to a new generation of Russian artists who survived the artistic repressions of the Soviet Union and are now flourishing in the more open political climate of modern Russia.
Vladimir Muhin was born in 1971 in Karaganda a small city in the country of Kazakhstan. Both his mother and father shared a love of the arts and were members of notable ballet companies. At the age of 12, Vladimir began his formal instruction as a painter. He remembers that many of his teachers had been deported to this neglected backwater of the Soviet Union as punishment for their artistic aspirations. “I remember” he says sadly “they were proud but they were broken.”
In 1986 Vladimir entered the Penza College of Fine Art (400 miles southeast of Moscow.) It was here that Vladimir began to realize the inherent conflict of trying to become a great painter under a Soviet system that promoted uniformity. “The credo of the artist must always be to offer a unique perspective,” he says “in the Soviet Union individuality was viewed with suspicion and jealousy throughout every aspect and strata of society.”
For Vladimir's diploma project he painted a brilliant portrait of a notable local family. He remembers, “When the painting was displayed with the other student's work I was asked to paint something smaller, something that wouldn't stand out from the other works. When I would not comply they refused me my diploma. My portrait was confiscated and I later found out that it had been added to the fine art collection of one of the college's teachers.”
Following his years at the Penza College of Fine Art Vladimir spent two years in military service. Surprisingly his years in the military were productive for his career as an artist. “It seems I was always painting portraits for this Major or for that General,” he recalls. “One General loved Hollywood films so I painted portraits of film stars for him.”
After leaving the military Vladimir entered the Moscow Academy of Fine Art. There he had opportunities to learn from the finest Russian artists and professors. Vladimir says, “It was the best time in my life. I felt my painting skills were becoming instinctive to me. I was becoming recognized as a master of portraiture, impressionism and realism.”
Following his study at the Moscow Academy of Fine Art Vladimir's reputation steadily grew and he was invited to take part in exhibitions throughout Europe. His work was influenced by the famous Russian artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries like Ilya Repin, Konstantin Korovin, Valentin Serov and later by Western European masters such as Diego Velazquez, James Tissiot and Anthony Van-Dyke. Today Vladimir Muhin is recognized as one of the premier portrait painters in the world. He represents the very best of contemporary Russian style, a highly skilled technique combined with a strong character that was tested against the wall of Soviet artistic repression.