An outstanding Ukrainian Soviet painter. Academician of the Academy of Arts of the USSR. Recognized master of battle painting. Samokish Nikolai Semenovich was born on November 13, 1860 in the town of Nezhin, in Chernigov region in a poor, large family. He graduated from the Nezhinsky classical gymnasium. The first artistic skills were obtained from the teacher of drawing of the gymnasium RK Muzychenko-Tsybulsky. In 1878, Nikolai Samokish went to Petersburg and made the first attempt to enter the Imperial Academy of Arts, but due to the lack of drawing skills from nature, he does not cope with examination tasks. But the artist does not give up, persistently works and the next year brilliantly passes the entrance exams to the Academy. From 1879 to 1885 he studied at the Academy, where his teachers were BP P. Willewalde, P. P. Chistyakov and V. I. Jacobi. Success quickly came to the young artist. Already in 1881 Samokish received a small gold medal for the painting “Return of troops to their homeland.” In 1882 he published the first album of etchings, performed under the leadership of L.E. Dmitriev-Kavkazsky. In 1883 he received the SG Stroganov Prize for the painting “Landowners at the Fair.” In 1884 he was awarded the second small gold medal for the painting “The Episode from the Battle of Maly Yaroslavets”, and the painting “A Walk” was acquired for his gallery by PM Tretyakov. In 1885, for his thesis “Russian cavalry returns after an attack on the enemy under Austerlitz in 1805” received a large gold medal.
From 1885 to 1888 he improved his skills in Paris under the leadership of the well-known battlistist Eduard Detail. In 1890, for his work “The Tabun at the Watering Place,” he was awarded the title of Academician of Painting. In 1898 – 1900, together with S. Vasilkovsky, N. Samokish worked on illustrations to albums on the history of Ukraine – “Ukrainian Antiquities” and “Ukrainian Ornament”.
In 1904, as a seconded artist in the Nezhinsky Dragoon Regiment, he took part in military operations on the fronts of the Russo-Japanese War. Much of the work of this period was included in the album “The War of 1904-1905”, in which Samokish with great artistic truth recreates the pictures of human tragedy. Active member of the Imperial Academy of Arts since 1913. In 1915 NS Samokish formed an “art detachment” of five students of the battle class of the Academy of Arts (RR Frenz, PI Kotov, PV Miturich, PD Pokarzhevsky, KD Trofimenko ) and went to the front of the First World War. About 400 artworks were made at the front. After the revolution, the artist devoted his work to the Red Army. In 1923 he painted the painting “The Attack of the Budenny Cavalry”, included in the series of works on the First Cavalry Army. Since 1937 – “Honored Artist of the RSFSR.” In 1937, Nikolai Semenovich headed the battle-historical studio of the Kharkov Art Institute. In 1941, for the painting “The Transition of the Red Army through Sivash” the artist was awarded the State Prize. In 1940 Samokish Nikolai Semenovich was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor. The artist died in Simferopol on January 18, 1944. Pictures of the academician of battle painting NS Samokish – about three thousand works – are exhibited in the Tretyakov Gallery, the State Russian Museum, the State Hermitage, the National Art Museum of Ukraine, as well as in numerous museums and galleries around the world. Cloths “The Attack of the Budenny Cavalry”, “Storming the Perekopsky Val”, “The Red Army’s Transition through Sivash”, “In Intelligence” – are represented in the Simferopol Art Museum.
Photo: Samokish N. S. “The Red Army’s crossing through Sivash”