Famous Russian artist and teacher of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts.
- 1984 -1988 studied in Djamal Art College, Mahachkala- 1988 -1994 I.Repin State Academic Institute of Painting,Sculpture and Architecture ( Academy of Fine Art) St.Petersburg. - Since 1995 – Member of the Union of Artist of Russia - Since 2008 – works as teacher in I.Repin State Academic Institute of Painting,Sculpture and Architecture ( Academy of Fine Art) St.Petersburg - Honorary professor of Shenzhen University.
The FRAIL BOY in bewilderment looks at the man fallen backwards. The boy holds a sling and at his feet there is a stone which defeated the giant to the ground.
David and Goliath - the Old Testament parable about the victory of agility resourcefulness and intelligence over the brutal physical strength. However, in the painting by Arsen Kurbanov on the same eternal plot, a slightly different theme is manifested - the victory of juvenility or struggle and change of generations. The boy is very young and has no idea what to do with his newfound freedom. The stormy, burning sky and mountain landscape, strangely, does not really express the inner tension of feelings (emotions) but gives the sense of the indifference of the nature. The greatness (magnificence) of the infinite space embraces (dissolves) all the victories and defeats, all the boiling passions and bursts of emotions. The artist uses the language of classical art: the size of the canvas emphasizes the importance of the theme, perfect academic drawing is in the basis proper form. Artist doesn’t need neither distortion nor exaggeration to enhance the expressiveness of the picture. He follows all the anatomic rules, the color is bound together with the drawing (line) and construction of form, all combined with delicate tonal gradation, smooth brushwork and precise, limited (restricted) color-scheme. Accents are put not by color, but by light. The panoramic landscape refers to the the Renaissance compositions. Besides Kurbanov bases on the European Baroque of the seventeenth century, and especially on the great Spaniards. The problem of the image of the lying man's figure is brilliantly solved. The emphasized complexity of the angle recalls Caravaggio. At the same time the artist does not imitate the Old masters. His works is acutely modern, although there is no irony and causticity, which became typical of our time and the entire XX century art. Modernity, in this case, arises due to the selected types (characters), non-canonical composition, contemplation on the verge of detachment. This canvas, for sure, presents the artist's reflection of the infinite life cycle, the endless reproduction of human characters and temperaments, the constant repetition of emerging situations - battles, victories, defeats. At the same time this work is about the perfection of the language of classical art, its harmonious clarity. This language provides an accurate, almost universal means for understanding the deep laws of life through the revealed, God-given understanding, through a dialogue with a centuries-old cultural traditions, which are refracted through the intellect and soul of the artist.
There were two main components in the formation of the creative individuality of Arsen Kurbanov - his homeland, Dagestan (childhood was spent in Makhachkala) and St. Petersburg Academy of fine arts (Institute of painting, sculpture and architecture named by I. E. Repin). The grandeur of mountainous landscapes, the contrast of sunlight brightness and restrained colors of the rocky soil, a complex compound of powerful, vivid temper of the highlanders / mountaineers to external restraint generated by the severity of natural and historical conditions - laid the ideological base of the artist. So the Academy, the place where the atmosphere forms an attitude to the art as a high mission, as a means of understanding the essence of human existence, where the artistic language should be commensurate (correspond) the significance of the expressed ideas. Arsen Kurbanov's art is both intellectual and sensual. The artist often chooses the biblical stories for his works ("Susanna and the elders" (2007)," the Return of the prodigal son "(2008), etc.) or in genre scenes where he discovers biblical significance relevance (2007 paintings "Apples", "Light", "Dream"). Simple stories carry multilayered meaning and associations. The artist can choose the simplest plot, for example, a boy with a basket of apples, quite a trivial, contemporary, ordinary, patched pants, and at the same time, generalize the image to a capacious, multi-valued symbol by the system of visual means. The space is free from everyday details, panoramic landscape, accented with a frontal and symmetrical location of the figure in the foreground and the choice of point of view slightly from below all attach monumentality to the composition. The thoughtful placement and matching of the elements create the image that involuntarily raises a number of associations. The purity and openness sincerity of the childhood, the vast, mysterious and guarding world, where the light and darkness in their endless fight are intertwined into an inseparable whole. The apples spilling out of the basket are not only fabulous fruit of Youth, but a reminder of the biblical Apple from the tree of knowledge. Apple presented as a symbol of the joys of life and its temptations.
Kurbanov's favorite themes are childhood, youth, and the beauty of a woman. He likes carefully study faces and objects. His understanding of the beauty is in the connection of the physical and material with the spiritually significant. He does not correct the "wrongness" of reality, but spiritualizes it. There is no fuss in Arsene's works. His paintings are filled with solemn, majestic rhythm. There appears a specific span of time, people or objects that he depicts are not momentary and not transient; they shine through eternity, even if it is portraits of friends or still-lifes with simple pumpkins. The artist brings the formula of the classical portrait to the ultimate, purified state, dissolving the concreteness of the time and place, signs of social status or professional affiliation. If he introduces some objects, they acquire the value of attributes ("Nastya" (2008)).
Examining the person’s face the artist opens the heroes’ inner world. He eliminates the momentary mood, bringing to light only the most important, ideal, but not idealized state of a person. The influence of Quattrocento portraits is slightly detected in such works as "Daud Ahryev"(2007), "Portrait in red" (2008), etc.) or images based on Vermeer's art ("Olga" (1997), "Maya"(2007), "Alice" (2008). The portraits of son his George (2008) fully present Arsen Kurbanov’s artistic conception vision. They all are simple. There is no sophistication of compositional techniques. But the portraits absolutely life-like. And there is also something elusive that let to see the human's purity and perfection.
One of the recurrent images is a door, tightly closed or slightly opened by a child (series 2006). The door as a symbol of the separation of the worlds as the line hiding the secrets of life and death or as a set of the inconceivable meanings. That's why the artist shows the church doors very often. And, at the same time, there may be the doors of old houses, heavy, exquisitely decorated, but worn out by time, that gives them a special picturesque texture. Arsen Kurbanov builds a system of expressive means, finely balancing all the components. The plot, the careful study, the attention to the details, reality, the seriousness and complexity of the content does not go into pathos and illusiveness. The analytic approach goes together with emotions. The artist employs all the classical art heritage and has much to tell to his audience.
The twentieth century was highly concerned with the novelty, which was a kind of self-identification and self-expression of the individual. The desire to be different from others by all means, gave the aspiration to destroy existing artistic systems, to find their own rules and laws. But, as it turned out, self-expression and uniqueness are easily and naturally found in canonical artistic languages. The tree of tradition is eternally green, revealing the contemporary through the past (or rather, the eternal). And this statement fully explains the phenomenon of Arsen Kurbanov, who becomes one of the notable personalities in the artistic life of the St. Petersburg academic school, and also the artistic life of Russia in the first decade of the XXI century.