Belikov Vasilij Matveevich (1922-1994)
Vasilij Belikov was born in Tambov region in 1922, shortly after the civil war in Russia.
His father died when the boy was only six weeks old. His mother with two children soon married a widower who had three own children. Then three more were born. They lived in poverty. In the early 30’s, the family moved to Astrakhan, but there was not enough money for two children's tickets. So, Vasilij, who was only eleven years old, and his thirteen-year stepbrother were left in the village and during a year they were without means of livelihood. They lived in a dugout, nearly died of starvation. Were eating frozen potatoes collected in the fields. Vasilij was drawing playing cards and exchanged it for bread, also he was drawing posters for the village council. They survived... Then they were taken to Astrakhan. In 1938 Vasilij entered in Astrakhan Art School. But three years later he was forced to interrupt the studies. In early 1941 he was drafted for Navy and was sent to the Joint School of Caspian Naval Flotilla. The war began. In the 1942 Belikov – the sailor on gunboat "Bakinskij Rabotchij" in the Caspian Sea. In 1943 he fought at Novorossiisk in the Battalion of the Marine Corps. Subsequently, until the end of the war, he served in the troop of surveillance and communications Volga - Black Sea coast. After the war he continued service in the Black Sea Fleet. He was awarded medals "For Victory over Germany" and "For the Defense of the Caucasus".
In 1947, after demobilization, Vasilij Belikov continued his studies in Penza Art College, because the Astrakhan school was already closed. One of his teachers was the outstanding Russian artist Goryushkin-Sorokopudov. After graduation, Belikov began to work in the Penza branch of the Art Fund, and from 1955 to 1961 he was its director. A lot of strength and health he spent on administrative work. In forty he contracted tuberculosis and for several years he was disabled. Wandering the hospitals, clinics, sanatoriums, Vasilij gave himself a vow: to devote rest of his life for painting and art. Having defeated the disease, the artist resumed creative work.
Since the early 70s, his art began to attract the attention of audiences and critics. Many times he had visited the house of creativity "Academic", where he was fortunate to meet with the leading artists of the USSR. In 1975 Vasilij Belikov became the member of the USSR Union of Artists.
The main genres in his creativity - landscape, in the lesser degree - still life and portrait.
The name of artist is included in the "World Biographical Dictionary of Artists" and in "A Dictionary of Twentieth Century Russian and Soviet Painters".
At the end of 2012 there was an exhibition in the Penza art gallery dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the artist.