Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin (1878-1939) was a Russian and Soviet artist. He was born in Khvalynsk, the son of a shoemaker. A child prodigy, he initially could only afford instruction in the studio of an icon maker. Later, Petrov-Vodkin acquired admission into a drafting school, where his teachers realized that his talents could propel him into the fine arts. He then transferred to a school in Moscow, from which he had the opportunity to travel to Italy and Paris. Petrov-Vodkin even exhibited at the Salon in Paris in 1908.
Returning to Moscow, he became associated with the Expressionist movement, then in conflict with more traditional artists such as Ilya Repin. Rejecting the Academic concept of fixed perspective, he asserted that the observer should be able to participate in a painting from multiple points of view, and was heavily influenced by Orthodox iconography.
Bathing of a Red Horse (oil on canvas, 1912, the Tretyakov Gallery).
Bathers (oil on canvas, 1917, the Russian Museum). Here, Petrov-Vodkin presents a classical Academic motif in a modern and realistic setting. Rather clever.
Girl with a Red Bandana (oil on canvas, 1925). All of the two-dimensionality of Orthodox iconography, but the precision of a classically-trained painter.