This Spring, Art Gallery of the Leningrad Centre presents: Roman’s Romance with the Sky, an exhibition of artist Roman Liapin dedicated to St. Petersburg, Lake Ladoga and Karelia.
Roman Liapin’s pictures can be found in the homes of presidents and government executives, and his paintings belong to the collections of Sting and Elton John. This spring the artist is bringing his works dedicated to three spaces, three life periods and three energies to the Leningrad Centre.
The sky of St. Petersburg is the main character in his pictures that have made the artist famous and defined his unique painting style. The architecture of the city blends harmoniously with the natural landscape, becoming a stage set design for the colors and shadows theater of the endless sky panoramas opening up, its expanses captivating with its grandeur. He showcases the sky as a symbol of the highest eternal source of all things, revealing the complexity, multiplicity and grandeur of St. Petersburg. The skillful mastery of light and color accents allows the artist to transmit contemplative and romantic emotional states equally well with optimistic, life-affirming states. Roman Liapin’s art stands apart with its classical culture veneration, his ability to show the present-day life of a city and combine it with its historic past, express the changeable nature of its states, or present a city view in great detail, showing the eternal in the present.
The sky over Lake Ladoga reflects his childhood memories, but while other boys played on the shore of the majestic lake, Roman took pleasure in watching a local artist paint. He soon learned that he could anticipate his next strokes, and discovered the remarkably powerful technique of blending light and shadow with different sky colors reflected over Lake Ladoga. In winter scenes on the Lake, Liapin gets to work with textures and colors in a novel way. His landscapes almost vibrate in the expressive vividness of their color splashes.
In the sky over Karelia the artist observes the remarkably complex hues of gray and blue against the tender pink shadows on the marble rock canyons. In his artwork, Karelia signifies serenity of the soul, where the color brightness is not as saturated; yet his brushstrokes reveal the most delicate changes in precisely-nuanced hues and unexpected color specks one often finds in northern landscapes remarkably well. It is this immaterial, weightless and endless expanse of the sky that makes Roman Liapin’s compositions so monumentally meaningful. Heaven and earth, the present and the eternal, the material and the ephemeral are clearly juxtaposed in his works. Each shade or hue of color presents an emotion or an event that fills the space; as if you could take a step inside it and find yourself in an entirely different reality.
In 1993, Roman Liapin graduated from the famous “Mukhinka,” the St. Petersburg Art and Industry Academy. In the early 1990s, while still a student, Roman was invited by an Italian art collector to Rome for the first time, a center of world art that has been attracting artists from all over the world for centuries. Roman continued his education at Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma (1993–1998), and then worked at the Academy as an art teacher in the Painting Department (1999–2005). Professor Liapin combined his teaching duties with active creative work. The years that he spent in the Eternal City have rendered a great positive effect on his entire future art career. In his creative activities, Roman follows the traditions of the Classical European school and Russian realism, but contemporary Italian art has also had a great effect on shaping him as an artist. In 2005 Roman returned to St. Petersburg where he continued working as an artist, painting mostly urban landscapes.
Roman Liapin has long defined his art preferences. His traditional art is painting, his traditional genre is landscape, and his stylistic choice is represented by a unique version of traditional realism. In other words, for Roman, tradition does not constrain his freedom of self-expression; on the contrary, he enjoys using the classical language model to describe his art. On his canvases, he expresses the emotional charge of being in love with life and beauty that reflects the essence of his broad nature as an artist in a light and joyous manner. The art of realism uses general vocabulary with a great number of dialects; in Liapin’s case his artistic language is grounded in Russian realism and the Classical school of European art, with unquestionable influence of modern Italian art.