Still life with jars

​This elegant still life depicts jars and a metal pan. Still lives constitute an important part of Korzhev' s output and he is well known for his carefully balanced compositions and his ability to successfully render different textures in paint. Korzhev has constructed an interesting contrast between the horizontal lines of the table top, the verticals and curves of the jars and the diagonal of the pan. The textual contrast between wood, earthenware and metal allows Korzhev the opportunity to show his draughtsmanship and virtuosity with paint. 

Korzhev always had an eye for interesting objects, which he could use in his still life studies, and he collected these from his numerous travels around Russia. He has said that he used his still life painting as practice to work out compositional problems and, in his rarely given interviews, he has observed that he believes that his still lives will come to be considered amongst his most important work.


Oil on canvas (?)


66 × 99 cm; 36 × 39 in.

Gely Mikhailovich Korzhev
1925 - 2012

​As early as the 1960s, the paintings of Korzhev – People's Artist of the USSR, laureate of the country's State Prizes, full member of the USSR Academy of Arts, and one of the distinguished masters of the Soviet and Russian school of painting – stood out among the works of his generation of artists. In his works, Korzhev asserted the moral and ethical principles he held to be true, traditional, and as his subjects he chose real people, their existence in time, their experience of their world.

The Great Patriotic War (World War II), coinciding with Korzhev's youth, became a formative event of his life and art. In July 1941 he turned sixteen and having completed his 'Voroshilov Marksmen' training, resolved to go to the front. It was only after persistent pleas from his teachers at the Moscow Special School of Art that Korzhev agreed to be evacuated to the village of Voskresenskoe along with other students of the School. He would remember his three years there for the rest of his life as a time of hardship and hunger, but also extraordinarily exciting intense learning and early achievement. It was during this time of war that the artist's core 'imperative' and romantic ideas were formed, to do with the necessity of fighting for life, man's moral strength and resilience in the face of death.