Igor Samsonov was born in Voronezh, Russia, on January 7, 1963. He began drawing at a very early age and his parents encouraged his pursuits. However, at this time in the Soviet Union, it was very difficult to make a sustainable living as an artist. Samsonov ultimately decided on a career in mathematics and earned the equivalent of a Master’s degree from Voronezh State University. He accepted a job with the Institute of Research, but found himself more and more drawn back to art, especially after viewing some of Van Gogh’s paintings at the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). He moved to Leningrad, where he studied at the Ilya Repin Leningrad Institute for Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture. He was particularly influenced by his tutor Oleg Eremeev, who advocated not only for technical excellence, but for a painting that had “the artist’s emotional signature.”
After graduating from the Repin Academy, Samsonov began his career painting mostly portraits. After a time, however, he felt compelled to create “pure art”, or a type of art that was unique to him and not based on others’ opinions or the current market. Samsonov’s work is extremely modern, yet remains classical. He draws from Van Gogh and Matisse in his use of color and Vermeer in his use of light. His paintings are rich with symbolism and tell stories--some well-known, others created by Samsonov himself. He is particularly interested in the themes of transformation and power. For more information about Samsonov and the stories behind his paintings, please reference “Igor Samsonov: Painter and Passionate Visionary” by David Salomon.