Fyodor Konyukhov was destined to become a record-breaker and discoverer. That was evident from the moment he entered this world in near biblical style—right on the riverside as his mother was collecting shellfish for poultry feed.
To date, he has more than 50 mountain climbs under his belt, not to mention 17 crossings of the Atlantic Ocean by regular boat and several round-the-world flights, including
In between expeditions, Konyukhov does not put his feet up: he is also a clergyman, a writer (of around ten books detailing his adventures), and an artist.
“When I see how beautiful Earth is, what beautiful people she possesses, I want to show it. But how? Well, I’m an artist, so I draw. But then I look at my drawings and realize they don’t convey everything. So in my
Take a look at some of his paintings.
Konyukhov has climbed Everest twice (the second time at the sprightly age of 61). This picture was painted in 1996, after his first conquest of the world’s highest peak.
Fyodor was the first person in the world to reach all the five poles of the
Konyukhov has been to the North Pole no fewer than three times. For his USSR-North Pole-Canada trans-Arctic ski expedition, he was awarded the Order of Friendship of the Peoples of the USSR.
Fyodor spent a long time in the north, studying the local population and their customs. He covered more than 800 km by dog sled, and the animals doubled up as his models.
“I glanced at the sky, and carried on rowing,” reads the inscription on this painting. To some, Konyukhov’s style may resemble Nicholas Roerich, another famous Russian painter-traveler of the early 20th century. Perhaps that’s because alone among the elements, far from the madding crowd, nature’s hues appear much brighter than we are used to seeing them in grimy cities.
As Konyukhov himself says, it is during his death-defying exploits that he feels the “constant presence of God” more than ever. His wife, Irina, told Russia Beyond about an Atlantic crossing she made with her husband back in 2004, during which the starboard rudder of the yacht broke, the keel cracked, and water began flooding in.
They started praying to the Lord and St. Nicholas (known as the “Wonderworker”
By sea, Konyukhov has explored Russia’s Far Eastern coastline (Vladivostok, Sakhalin, Kamchatka, Chukotka), retraced the watery footsteps of Vitus Bering, and erected a memorial plaque in his honor on the Commander Islands.
Inspired by the landscapes of Africa, Fyodor created a series of colored-paper collages. Using the same technique, he made portraits of famous adventurers and survivalist “friends,” such as Japan’s Naomi Uemura and English navigator Sir Francis Chichester.
“Being aware of your ultimate goal is key. Before scaling Everest, I’d been climbing for 19 years. Before circumnavigating the globe on a yacht, I’d done competitive sailing for 20 years,” said Fyodor in an interview.
Another name for this picture is Irinushka [Irina] with a Flower. Fyodor’s wife says that her husband has dedicated many paintings to her. At their very first meeting, he said that she would be his muse.
The exhibition of paintings by Fyodor Konyukhov runs from March 28 to May 13, 2019, at St Petersburg’s Mikhailovsky Castle.
If using any of Russia Beyond's content, partly or in full, always provide an active hyperlink to the original material.
to our newsletter!
Get the week's best stories straight to your inbox