Calligrapher-artist, People’s artist of the USSR, professor
Ilya Bogdesko was born in 1923 in Moldova (a former USSR republic). In 1951 he graduated from the Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in Leningrad. For many years he presided over the Union of Artists of Moldova. In 1984 he was elected as an active member of The Russian Academy of Arts. From 1993 Bogdesko resided in St Petersburg and was the Head of the Graphic department where he had studied before.
The winner of a number of national and international awards and prizes, including the Leipzig Book exhibition prize (for his illustrations for Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment”).
In his graduate work, the illustrations for Gogol’s “Sorochinsky Fair”, he already demonstrated his quick eye, emotional style, and delicate sense of humor.
His sixty year creative advancement was predominantly devoted to illustrations for Moldavian, Russian and world classical literary works: Dostoevsky, Gogol, Pushkin, Swift, Cervantes, Erasmus of Rotterdam, Cooper, etc.
At the same time he created fine paintings, sculptures, and calligraphic works.
The art of book design, however, remained his priority. Starting to work on illustrations: the artist studied the corresponding historical epoch; analyzed the book from a modern world perspective and sifted it through his own experience and observations. His glorious ascent to the Olympus of mastery only seems to have been easy. He concealed all his doubts, torturing searches, and failures in his workshop. The audience saw only elaborate, fine and delicate works of art, carefully weighted on the scales of exquisite taste.
Ilya Bogdesko passed away on March 29th, 2010.