Igor V. Babailov, Hon. RAA, KStA, is a world-renowned American portrait painter, Honorary Academician of the Russian Academy of Arts (est. 1757), and one of the most sought after portrait artists of our times.
Deemed Living Master by his contemporaries, he was selected to paint legacy portraits of three living Presidents of three countries, two living Prime Ministers, members of the noble families and British Royalty, and three living Popes for the Vatican.
His notable commissioned portrait subjects include: President George W. Bush (Bush Presidential Library), Hillary R. Clinton (Clinton Presidential Library), Pope Francis, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II, now a Saint (all three for the Vatican), His Royal Highness Prince Andrew The Duke of York (Buckingham Palace, London), President Vladimir Putin (Kremlin), Patriarch Kirill of Russia (Moscow Patriarchia), Nelson Mandela (Presidential Collection, South Africa), Prime Minister of Canada Brian Mulroney (Parliament Hill, Ottawa), Prime Minister Jean Chretien (Power Corporation), Mayor Rudolph Giuliani of New York (Giuliani Partners); Isadore Sharp, Founder & CEO of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts; Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England; The Honorable Joseph P. Sullivan (Supreme Court of New York), Film director Akira Kurosawa (commissioned by Kurosawa Productions, Japan) and many other prominent figures for prestigious collections.
In 2009, the new portrait of George Washington by Igor Babailov was officially inducted into George Washington’s Mount Vernon Museum, and U.S. General and CIA Director David Petraeus presented the artist with the Award ‘For Excellence’ for the work on his official legacy portrait (West Point Museum).
In 2010, Vatican Curator, Roberto Zagnoli, acknowledged Igor Babailov as ‘Maestro’ when his Vatican portrait of Pope
Benedict XVI was selected by the Pope for the Vatican Splendors international museum tour. Babailov was honored to be the only living artist in the exhibition, as his papal portrait hung alongside the works of Michelangelo, Bernini, Giotto and other Great Masters of the Renaissance.
In 2015, the TN Senate and House of Representatives passed Resolution No.69 “To recognize Igor Babailov and celebrate his artistic achievements.” This bill was signed into Law by Governor Bill Haslam.
Child prodigy, Igor Babailov began his formal classical art training at the age of nine, studying with leading Masters of traditional painting and drawing. In the span of sixteen years (1974-1990), Babailov attained the highest level of fine art education and received his Master of Fine Arts degree (official Ph.D. equivalent in the U.S.) under the Russian Academy of Arts (est.1757), which taught and gave the world many outstanding Masters of portraiture, including Repin, Serov and the great American artist, James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Babailov’s fine art education especially contributed to his unparalleled skill in academic drawing (or drawing from life), which today is a fundamental challenge for many painters.
Recipient of numerous national and international awards and honors, Babailov is an advocate for timeless values in the academic tradition of portrait painting. He has taught at the Florence Academy of Art in Italy and has been invited to lecture and demonstrate his artistic skills at universities, art venues and private clubs.
Chevalier of the Order of St. Anne, Babailov is a member of the National Arts Club in New York City and member of the Russian Nobility Association in America; he is active in charity works, especially those for children’s causes. Vatican awarded him the Pontifical medal of Pope John Paul II and the International Academy of Culture and Art awarded him the Order “For Service to Art” (The Golden Star). He was bestowed with the State title ‘Honored Artist of Udmurtia’ in Russia and recognized as ‘Drawing Master’ in Canada and ‘Living Master’ by the Art Renewal Center in the U.S.