In Soviet times a Christmas tree was known as a New Years tree. Pavel Shardakov was born the 24th of October 1929 in the village of Kopyly, in the Urals, and grew up in Perm. World War II, odd as it may sound, introduced him to the world of art: in 1945 he was sent to work in the ‘Agitposter’ Studio, run by the Perm Union of Artists. Shardakov worked there until 1947, when he entered the Sverdlovsk Artistic Pedagogical College.
While still studying, the Sverdlovsk Local History Museum acquired his painting Ermak in Chusovoy. Ermak, a legendary Russian Hero, has ever since been one of the artist’s favourite subjects. In 1952 Shardakov graduated with an outstanding grade for the painting Delivery of the First Corn to the State, with which he won a free trip to Moscow and the possibility to continue his studies on a higher level. He entered the Leningrad Higher Artistic-Industriall College (Mukhina College), where he studied in the monumental Painting Department. He was an outstanding student. During his studies he participated in his first professional show, the Exhibition of Landscapes by Perm Artists, held in Perm in November 1954 (catalogue published). In 1958 Shardakov graduated; his diploma work, a fragment of a monumental painting, titled Russian Popular Folklore, was shown at the ‘Exhibition of Diploma and Course Works’ in Leningrad in 1958 (catalogue published) and later acquired by the Novgorod Art Museum.
After graduation, Shardakov returned to Perm, where he worked as a monumental artist and painter and carried out a series of ambitious works of monumental art. In the field of easel painting Shardakov faced difficulties because of his preference for subjects from Russian history and folklore and because of his decorative style of painting: some of his early commissioned pictures were rejected, others had to be repainted. Nevertheless, Shardakov established himself as a leading figure in Perm. In 1965 he was selected Chairman of the Union of Artists. In the same year he accepted an offer to move to Volgograd. He continued to produce monumental works in a variety of media (among them fresco, mosaic, stained glass) and created what he regarded as his most important achievement: a cycle of large paintings for the Ermak Museum in the town of Chusovoy, Perm Region (completed in 1987). In 1995 Shardakov celebrated thirty years of artistic activity in Volgograd with a large solo-exhibition. He died in Volgograd the 7th November 2007.
– private collection, Switzerland
– Douwes Fine Art, London, 1999
– private collection, The Netherlands
– A Dictionary of twentieth century Russian and Soviet Pain¬ters, Matthew Cullerne Bown, London, 1998, with an illustration on page 282, plate 268 Volgograd Milkmaids (1967)
– Socialist Realist Painting, Matthew Cullerne Bown, London/New Haven 1998 with the same illustration on page 436 (plate 500);
– Soviet Impressionism, Vern Grosvenor Swanson, Antique Collector’s Club, Woodbridge 2001 with the same illustration on page 189 (plate 135)