Mikhail Ivanovich Avilov (September 6, 1882, Saint Petersburg – April 14, 1954, Leningrad) was a Russian and Soviet painter and art educator, who lived and worked in Leningrad, a member of the Leningrad Union of Soviet Artists, professor of the Repin Institute of Arts, Stalin Prize winner, People's Artist of the Russian Federation, regarded as one of the brightest representatives of the Soviet Art, who played an important role in the formation of the Leningrad School of Painting. Mostly known for his battle paintings.
Mikhail Ivanovich Avilov was born September 6, 1882 in Saint Petersburg. In 1893-1903 he studied in the Drawing School of the Imperial Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, then in private studio of artist Leon Dmitriev-Kavkazsky. In 1904-1910 Avilov studied in Imperial Academy of Arts, pupil of Franz Roubaud and Mykola Samokysh. Since 1908 he begins to participate in art exhibitions.
Mikhail Avilov fought in the First World War. After the October Revolution of 1917 Avilov taught at the School of Drawing Society for the Encouragement of Arts in Petrograd, then in the College of Industrial Art and in the Academy of Arts. Since 1923 Avilov was exhibitor of AKhRR. In 1932 he was one of the faunders of the Leningrad Union of Soviet Artists.
In 1943 Avilov was awarded the Stalin Prize of the first degree for his battle painting «Duel Peresvet with Chelubey at the Kulikovo Field». Also he was awarded of Order of the Red Banner of Labour. In 1953 Avilov was awarded the honorary title the People's Artist of the Russian Federation. He was a Member of the Academy of Arts of the USSR.
Mikhail Ivanovich Avilov died on April 14, 1954 at the seventy second years of life. He was buried in Alexander Nevsky Lavra in Leningrad. His paintings reside in Russian museum, Tretyakov gallery, in Art museums and private collections in Russia, Ukraine, Japan, China, France, England, and other countries.
The State Museum of City Sculptures was founded in 1932 dedicated to the study, restoration and protection of city sculptures and gravestones and the museum is responsible for the upkeep of many of St Petersburg's most famous sculptures. The museum has several branches around St Petersburg, but the main ones are concentrated within the former territory of the Aleksandro-Nevsky Lavra which was granted to the museum upon its founding.
The Aleksandro-Nevsky Lavra's Tikhvinskoe Cemetery was established in 1823 and named after the Our Lady of Tikhvin Church which was built here between 1869 and 1873. In 1931 the church was closed and in 1932 the cemetery became a branch of the State Museum of City Sculptures, known as the Necropolis of Masters of Culture. The branch is so named as many leading figures of Russian culture have been laid to rest here including: writers Fyodor Dostoevsky, Nikolai Karamzin and Ivan Krylov; composers Aleksandr Borodin, Mikhail Glinka, Modest Musorgsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Pyotr Tchaikovsky; and artists Boris Kustodiev, Ivan Kramskoy and Ivan Shishkin, among many more famous names.