Poster Plakat A Collection of Posters from the Soviet Union and its Satellite Nations

< Return to Artist List

Zvorykin, Boris Vasilevich
Зворыкин, Борис Васильевич
Born September 19, 1872, Moscow, Russian Empire; died 1942, Paris, France

Boris Vasil'evich Zvorykin was a graphic designer and book illustrator in early 20th century Russia. His rich illustrations are characterized by colorful and decorative details. Zvorykin is principally associated with the Neo-Russian art movement of the early 20th century. The son of a Moscow-based merchant, Zvorykin graduated from his core studies in 1892 and went on to study for one year at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.

Read Full Bio...

Boris Vasil'evich Zvorykin was a graphic designer and book illustrator in early 20th century Russia. His rich illustrations are characterized by colorful and decorative details. Zvorykin is principally associated with the Neo-Russian art movement of the early 20th century. The son of a Moscow-based merchant, Zvorykin graduated from his core studies in 1892 and went on to study for one year at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. By 1898 his illustrations were published in books in Imperial Russia.

The artist who first had an influence on Zvorykin was Elena Dmitrievna Polenova, a painter and graphic designer who was also one of the first illustrators of children's books in Russia. Children's books would become an endeavor linked to Zvorykin later in his career. A number of children's books from late Imperial Russia are adorned with Zvorykin's illustrations such as "The Tale of the Golden Cockerel" (1903) and "For the Motherland!" (1915) in addition to a host of other titles. Zvorykin was also known for his holiday cards and intricately designed postcards during his career in Russia.

From 1909 to 1912 he took part in decorating the Feodorovskii Sovereign Cathedral situated near the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo, St. Petersburg. Zvorykin went on to design the title page for the 1915 commemorative album for the cathedral. He went on to decorate the Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky in the city of Simferopol' however, following the Russian Civil War, the badly damaged cathedral was demolished by the Soviet government. In 1915, Zvorykin and a compliment of artists, art historians, writers and architects founded “The Society for the Renaissance of Artistic Russia” (OVKhR) an organization that propagated Russian art and art history to the public.

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, he designed covers for the magazine Krasnoarmeets (Red Army Man) and created political posters for the Bolsheviks such as "The Battle of the Red Knight and Dark Power" and "The Red Plowman". Zvorykin fled Soviet Russia for Paris just as the Russian Civil War was underway. It was in Paris where Zvorykin teamed with the art publishing company H. Piazza. While working for H. Piazza he created the concept for his book “The Firebird and Other Russian Fairy Tales”. It was later published with Zvorykin contributing the French translations from original Russian text. Zvorykin would go on to illustrate at least ten more books under the H. Piazza banner. In 1928 he took part in the Brussels exhibition "Luxurious Book". He died in Paris during World War II.

Close Full Bio

Sources & Citations

Bunatjan, G. G. (1989). " ... Odnim dychan'em s Leningradom ...": Leningrad v žizni i tvorčestve sovetskich pisatelej. Leningrad: Lenizdat.
Zvorkin, B.V., Onassis, J. K. (1978). The Firebird and Other Russian Fairy Tales. London: Allen Lane.
artinvestment.ru (Zvorykin bio)