5+ Questions With Maestro Igor Babailov

Babailov Portrait

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Maestro Igor BabailovIgor Babailov

Maestro Igor Babailov, accomplished Potrait Artist has been commissioned to paint popes, prime ministers, and presidents. We talked with him about living in Franklin, what it’s like to paint a portrait of the Pope, have your artwork displayed next to Michelangelo and how a Master Portrait Painter focuses on their subject. And the best part of all, how you can learn from a Master like Igor Babailov.

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As an artist, what artist have inspired you?
At different times throughout the history of Realist art, there were many great artists, such as Rubens, Van Dyck, Briullov, Pietro Annigoni and others, so the inspiration comes from different sources. In portrait painting in particular, my idols have been the two world-famous Russian artists Serov and Repin, with whom I am also privileged to be in the direct ‘Teacher~Student’ lineage of the Russian Academy of Arts (est.1757).



When you start a painting, how do you focus on that painting?

In every painting, it is important to visually record in your memory that initial impression of the subject and keep it ‘fresh’ until completion. The key stages of work include: research on personal/historic background, compositional concept based on that research and the laws of composition and then the painting itself. If it is a portrait painted exclusively from life sittings, the same principle of work is involved except I have to think faster and make the right decisions within a shorter period of time.


In particular how do you get inspired and motivated to complete a painting?

Every painting is a result of inspiration. I love life and the Beauty of Creation and as an artist I notice it all and can get easily inspired by beautiful still-life, landscape, a single person’s portrait or multi-figurative composition. The motivation is not a challenge if you love what you do.


You are a very accomplished painter who has been commissioned to paint the Pope, prime ministers, and presidents. What was your experience like painting these notable people of society?

It is indeed a big honor to be selected to paint these people. As an artist I try not to prioritize on their titles and their positions in the society. In every portrait, the vital thing for me is to find the person’s beautiful uniqueness and individuality as what makes as all beautiful is that we are all different.


What is the selection process like to be the featured painter for the Pope?

The portrait of Pope Francis is my third papal portrait for the Vatican after St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI, hence the Vatican is familiar with me and my work. In this regard, a story comes to mind. When the Vatican Splendors exhibition (which highlighted 2000 years of the Vatican history and art) was touring across the US, I had approached the Vatican curator to express my gratitude to him for selecting my portrait of Pope Benedict XVI to represent his papacy and display alongside the works of Michelangelo, Bernini, Giotto and other Masters of the Renaissance. He replied: “No, no, no, Maestro. Papa himself selected it!”


Tell us about your time in Franklin and how long you have lived here?

I have lived in Williamson County since 2004 and I love it, the beautiful people and sunsets are magnificent!

Thanks so much to Masetro Igor Babailov for taking time out to speak with us. Babailov conducts master workshops and gives lectures with portrait demonstrations at private clubs, universities and art venues. As Babilov said, “Teaching is imprinted in my DNA as both of my parents were teachers. Over the years I have been invited to share my knowledge nationally and internationally and as far as at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy. Locally, I offer my master workshops in Plaza Art, the preeminent art supply store in Nashville.”

Learn more about the workshops offered at babailov.com. You may also bid on a portrait painting with Babailov at the Heritage Ball silent auction online. If you are attending the Heritage Ball, you will have the opportunity to meet Igor Babailov in person.


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