Friday, October 30, 2009

Nikolai Tyrsa's life in motion

After Charushin and Lebedev, Animalarium presents another fine Russian children's book illustrator from the twenties. 
Nikolai Tyrsa (1887-1942) was a painter, graphic designer and lithographer whose artworks were characterized by dynamism
 and simple harmonies of color. He was also a brilliant intellectual, art expert, translator and polemicist.
Tyrsa explored many areas of book illustration and design, and created a new striking and decorative book cover style.
Sadly, he died during World War II.

Cover and illustration from Kozlik (The little goat), 1923

Cover and illustrations for Pro slona (About an elephant), 1926

Illustrations from Snezhnaya kniga (The snow book), 1928

Covers for Cort (The devil), Lesnye domishki (?), Otryad (The troop), 1929-30

Tyrsa's love of horses was related to his Cossak origins. He was the only artist able 
to discuss on the same level with Lebedev the minutest details of equine illustration.
Gratitude for the info to the Italian edition of Erast Davidovic Kuznecov's 
Children's book illustration and the Russian avant-garde. 


  1. Some wonderful work here, beautiful foxes. I'd never heard of this illustrator before. The bottom two are my favourite.

  2. Tyrsa's work is exquisite. Very sorry to hear he died prematurely. I particularly like his use of white space as in the first 2 works... just brilliant! Thanks Laura, for the introduction!

  3. The snow scenes are simply brilliant!



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