Bulgakov Boris
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   Boris Bulgakov was born in Kiev in 1893. In 1913 he enrolled in the St. Vladimir Imperial University of Kiev, first studying at the medical faculty for about a year and then at the history and philology faculty. His earliest pictorial attempts date back to this period. In August 1916 he volunteered to go to the front. He showed himself in action as an impeccable and brave officer and was conferred several Orders for his part in military operations, and the title of personal nobility to boot, and then two St. George’s crosses (with which officers were decorated only for exceptional courage in action).
   In 1921 Bulgakov enrolled in the graphic arts faculty of the Second Moscow Free Artistic Studios, later renamed to VKhUTEMAS. He graduated in 1926 and began to contribute his works to exhibitions, including those staged abroad. He was a success at the Chicago exhibition of 1933: some of his works were then purchased by European museums. He also took part in the Easel Painters’ Society (OST) exhibitions. However, soon Bulgakov’s individual style, incidentally, like works by many of his peers, were branded as formalist in his home country. The artist made several attempts to comply with the requirements of Socialist Realism that was beginning to enjoy undivided sway. He did not find it inspiring though, and gradually focussed on book design for Children’s Publishers (Detgiz). Encyclopaedic pictorial meticulousness as a way to escape accusations of formalism and such like ‘sins’ was a lamentable but routine feature of mid-20th-century Russian art. Bulgakov died in 1964. His works are at the State Literary Museum of Moscow and some private collections.