22.03.1889 - 17.07.1957
‘Vatrushka’ is both the name Alexei Isupov gave to his dog, and it is also the Russian word for cream pastry, the tasty Russian delicacy that reminded the artist about his distant homeland. Isupov lived for three decades in Rome, but he would interrupt any conversations that mentioned the subject of ‘emigration’. “My wife and I are not emigrants,” the artist wrote, “we have Soviet passports and we are citizens of the Soviet Union. I was forced to come to Italy not by war, but by ill health. In order to combat an incurable disease of the joints, tuberculosis of the bones, Alexei Isupov underwent two operations. But neither they, nor rehabilitation at the Sol-Iletsk resort in the Orenburg region which was famous for its mud treatments, helped him. His disease progressed, and in 1926 Isupov moved to Rome with his family. The artist worked on the album “The Great Revolution and the Life of the Red Army”, and painted a portrait of Lenin playing chess, and now he was commissioned to create a large scale canvas, “Parade of the First Trade Union Fitness Day”. It took him 10 years to accomplish. A painter, sculptor, and icon painter, Isupov soon attracted the attention of the Italian public, and earned the respect of his local colleagues. In Rome he took an interest in all genres, from still lifes to animals, yet in the Soviet Union at that time he was never considered “bourgeois”. During World War II the painter turned his apartment into a secret meeting place for the Italian resistance, whom he actively helped to fight the fascist regime.