Education: In 1933–1939 Baskakov studied of the famous Russian art educator Pavel Alekseevich Vlasov in Astrakhan Art School. In 1939 he was drafted into the Red Army. He served in the Far East. There in 1943 year in the first time he participated in the exhibition, his work “Khabarovsk, the year 1942” among of thirty-eight works of artists of Khabarovsk has been shown at an exhibition in Moscow.
In 1945 Nikolai Baskakov comes to Leningrad and entered at the Department of Painting of the Leningrad Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture named after Ilva Repin, where he studied of Leonid Ovsannikov, Boris Fogel, Genrichk Pavlovsky and Aleander Zaytsev.
In 1950-1960s Baskakov also created paintings “On a floating fish factory” (1954), “A Winter” (1955), “Masha” (1956), the “A Letter” (1957), “On the River” (1958), “Grandma and granddaughter”, “A Teacher”, “Summer” (all 1960), “Pig farm workers”, “Chiefs on the farm” (both 1961), “Plasterers” (1964), and others. Notable among these are the paintings, which dates back to the dramatic events of wartime. Baskakov creates images filled with deep domestic drama, among them paintings “Music” (1957), “During the war”, (1967), “On the Russian land” (1968), “A Victory” (1974), “Conversation with son”, “Day of Victory” (both 1980).
Over the years, Baskakov turned to the image of Lenin. First of all he wanted to create image of the man who took upon himself the enormous responsibility for the fate of the country in dramatic moments in her history. In 1956 Baskakov created the painting “Lenin in the Gorki”, where Lenin was depicted sitting in a chair on a summer day in the garden. The same author’s approach is seen in large genre painting “Lenin in the Kremlin” (1960). Later Baskakov created the paintings “Lenin on vacation” (1970) and “On New Year’s celebration in Gorky” (1972).
Baskakov gained fame also as a portraitist. Among his the best known works created in this genre were “Guitarist” (1949), “Portrait of a Mother” (1955), “Portrait of a tractor driver” (1956), “Portrait of a Fisherman” (1959), “The Son of a shepherd” (1962), “Girl with willows” (1967), a large series of portraits of the workers of the Kirov factory, created in 1960–1980 years, “Schoolgirl”, “Hunter Grisha Eriomin” (both 1971), “Grandma with the grandchildren” (1972), “The guy from Dudinka”, “Old Nganasanka” (both 1973), “A worker Fadeev with pupils”, “Collective Farm keeper Mitrich” (both 1975), “Portrait of an old Uzbek woman” (1977), “Sisters” (1979), “Portrait of a welder” (1980), “Portrait of Vasily Shukshin”, “Portrait of the Artist” (both 1984), “A Group portrait of Kirov factory workers” (1985), “A Portrait of the poet Nikolai Rubtsov” (1988), and others.
For the art of Nikolai Baskakov typical appeal to the themes of large public sound and to the image of a contemporary, disclosed in a picture-portrait. He was most known for his impressive portraits of contemporaries painted in realistic style.
The West discovered the art of Nicholas Baskakov in 1989, when his portraits and genre paintings were first shown in Paris at the auctions of the Leningrad school artists. Subsequently many of his works were acquired by American private collections.
In 1991 Saint Petersburg publishing house “Khudozhnik RSFSR” issued a monograph by V. Kirillov, devoted to creation of Nikolai Baskakov. Nikolai Baskakov was elected a full member of Peter’s Academy of Sciences and Arts. In 1989-1992 his paintings were exhibited in France on auctions of Russian paintings L’Ecole de Leningrad and others.