Lentulov was born in the town of Nizhny Lomov near Penza into the family of a rural priest. He studied art in the Penza and Kiev art schools from 1897 to 1905, and then in the private studio of Dmitry Kardovsky in Saint Petersburg in 1906. He lived in Moscow from 1909, and he was one of the founders of the avant-garde exhibiting association of artists, the Jack of Diamonds group, which remained active until its dissolution in 1916. From 1910 to 1911 Lentulov studied at the Le Fauconnier studio and the La Palette Academy in Paris. Whilst there, he became acquainted with contemporary French painters such as Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger, Fernand Léger and Robert Delaunay and after absorbing Fauvist and Cubist principles, developed his own unique colourful style of painting. Later, after his return to Russia in 1912 he became a major influence on Russian Futurism and in particular Cubo-Futurism. In 1928 Lentulov became a member of the Society of Moscow artists, which included artists formerly associated with the Jack of Diamonds group. He started teaching at the Russian state art and technical school. In the 1920s, he started to return to realistic styles and began to paint smaller works. His paintings are owned by the State Tretyakov Gallery and the Russian Museum in St Petersburg as well as some regional art museums.