Exhibition: Paintings of Grigory Gurkin

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Welcome to our virtual exhibition, dedicated to the great Altaian painter Grigory Gurkin. You can find out more about the life of Gurkin in our visual guide. Altaian master created thousands of works throughout his life, but we feature the ones that will give you a better understanding of his favorite motifs & inspirations.

Lake of the mountain spirits

A beautiful winter landscape painting from 1910. Gurkin depicted the calm spring atmosphere of the Altai’s mountain area nearby a lake, where you can see the ice slowly melting and flowing away in the awe of upcoming summer.

Landscape with boulders

One of Gurkin’s pre-migration works, done in 1911 – depicts the nature view of the Altai region. Artist traveled a lot around Altai and he often painted simple, atmospheric sights that stuck in his memory. Nature always was one of the key motifs in the art of Gurkin.


Mountains traditionally have a special place in the life & beliefs of Altaians. It’s a part of their mythology. Every shaman had his mountain-patron that was surrounded by a great part of mysticism. Gurkin was a keen traveler and he often took part in expeditions to the mountains, so he could explore the majestic nature of Altai and later on, depict it in his works.

The nomads in the mountains

A beautiful example of Gurkin’s favorite theme of paintings – the majestic nature of Altai and the life of its ethnic inhabitants. It is one of his most detailed & beautiful works, depicting the people that back in the early 20th-century were still strongly tied to their nomadic lifestyle.


This painting was finished in 1907 and you can see a winter scene from the life of the local Altaian people. Hunters are cutting their hunting prey, while the woman is standing nearby. She is wearing the items of traditional clothing that feature a black semi-cylindric hat from the fur of a black lamb.

Altaian woman

In this portrait of a woman, who is sitting in a yurt, Gurkin more closely depicted the various elements of traditional Altaian clothing.

Altaian people at winter

One of the less detailed works of Gurkin that depict the people of Altai in their traditional clothing. It is painted with very light strokes, featuring warm tones. However, you still can recognize the ethnic motifs of the Altaian master in this artwork.


Yak, also known as sarlyk, a word that derived from the Mongolian language and means – a grunting bull, is perfect to survive in the cold & tough conditions of the mountainous Altai areas. It is an important animal for the Altai people, as it can be used in agricultural work and its milk is also very useful.

Ulaangom, Mongolia

This painting was made in 1920, while Gurkin lived & worked in Mongolia. He depicted a view of Ulaangom – a small town, located nearby the Uvs Lake and 120 kilometers away from the Russian border.

Mongolian Yurt

Another painting from 1920, when the famous Altaian painter lived in Mongolia and depicted the life of locals. Many of them still kept their nomadic lifestyle & traditions. Gurkin was interested in the exploration of local folklore and habits.

Tuvan horse

A painting that was created in the period (1921-1925), when Gurkin was living in Tuva. The idea of depicting a horse is understandable. Horses historically have been very important for the peasants and the same goes for the nomadic people.

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