Sergei Vladimirovich Danilin was born in St. Petersburg, Russia on August 11, 1955. His artistic education began in 1966 with drawing and painting at the Artistic Middle School, which was affiliated with the I. E. Repin Institute of the Academy of Arts of the USSR. In 1973, S. Danilin entered the I. E. Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (of the Order of the Red Banner of Labor), working under the tutelage of Professor Yuri Mikhailovich Neprintsev, People’s Artist of the USSR. Upon completion of the Institute in 1978, Danilin was granted the degree of “Artist-Painter” and “Pedagogue”.
In 1979 S. Danilin was accepted into the youth section of the Leningrad Union of Artists and in 1984 became a full member of the Leningrad Branch of the Union of Artists of Russia. While studying at the Academy of Arts, he participated in national artistic tours and citywide and Pan-Russian exhibitions organized by the Union of Artists of Russia. Danilin’s artistic career began with the creation of a large series of works based on impressions he received during his travels. These included “Sayany” and “Baikal,” (1978-1980), “Eternal Villages,” and “St. Petersburg Dreams,” (1980-1985).
In 1985, he coordinated the twenty-second World Wide Festival of Youth and Students, which was held in Moscow. For his efforts, S. Danilin was awarded the Commemorative Medal of the Central Committee of the Komsomol, and in 1986 Danilin received the title “Laureate of the Leningrad Komsomol Prize” for his series of historical paintings “On the Neva Banks”.
Following his artistic tour to the active army in the field, he created his series “Afghan” (1987-1989), which subsequently received popular recognition, commendation and a prize from the Ministry of Defense and the Chief Political Administration of the Soviet Army and Fleet. An exhibition of these works, organized by S.V. Danilin, was presented by the Leningrad Union of Artists to the military hospital in Kabul and received notable recognition.
In 1985, Danilin’s private exhibition was held in the “Russia” concert hall followed by the “Pravda” publishing house in Moscow.
Danilin combined his artistic activities and participation in exhibitions with those of a pedagogue. From 1980 to 1985, he taught painting, drawing and composition to the senior classes of the B. I. Ioganson Artistic Middle School, affiliated with the I. E. Repin Institute of the Academy of Arts (known today as the B. I. Ioganson Lyceum).
In the late 1980s S. Danilin was active as a historical painter and as a penetrating portraitist. In 1989, he completed his series of historical paintings: “In Memory of the Heroes of the Patriotic War of 1812”. Many works from that series were shown at the grand exhibition arranged to coincide with the First Congress of Fellow Countrymen held in St. Petersburg.
From 1989 to 1999, the artist collaborated with the German company “Art and History”, completing more than 200 battle paintings and historical portraits for the Museum of the Military History of Europe, the largest private museum in the world, located in Dortmund, Germany.
In 1994, his studio was robbed and set on fire. A great series of paintings and portraits of contemporary figures in Russian culture were lost in the flames, including the picture entitled “The Family”, dedicated to the family of the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II. For two years, this painting had hung in the “Exhibition of One Painting” in the museum of the town of Pushkin [Tsarskoe Selo]. The work was well known in Russian cultural circles and became the symbol of the World Wide Tsarskoe Selo Romanov Foundation, which was established in Pushkin. As co-founder of this Foundation, Danilin was invited to the United States in 1991 by the activists among the Russian and Cossack émigrés.
Danilin’s first personal exhibition in the USA took place in 1992, with great success at the Cheremeteff Gallery in Boston. The artist participated in founding the Russian-American Cultural Center in Boston and participated in the first exhibition at the Center.
Danilin began receiving notable recognition in the US as a portraitist. During these last several years of painting, his talent in this genre revealed itself in full measure. Two volumes of his work were published in the U.S., containing the portraits and landscapes, which were painted for his numerous American and European clients.
Several articles on the work of S. V. Danilin have been published in periodicals and in art journals. Documentary films were also made for Leningrad and Moscow television shows.
The artist bears the title “Honorary Citizen” of the cities of Sofia (Bulgaria), Severo-Muisk (Russia), and Worcester (Massachusetts, U.S.). He was awarded the following medals: “For the Tercentenary of the Russian Fleet” and the “Gen. Zhukov Medal”. His works can be found in the Central Museum of the Armed Forces of Russia (Moscow), the museum of the History and Defense of Leningrad (St. Petersburg) and in the literary museum-apartment of L. M. Gumilev (St. Petersburg).
His paintings combine a masterful technique, the strength of classical form and balance, rich use of color and a driving quest to reveal what he calls “the essence of the human soul.” From 2000-2013, the artist has been working primarily for private collectors in the USA.