Soviet Russian painter Alexander Shilov was born in Moscow, on October 6, 1943. The artist of Socialist Realism Alexander Shilov is famous for his ceremonial portraits, in his collection there are more than 600 of them. Shilov painted portraits of all the leaders of the Soviet Union and Russia including Leonid Brezhnev, Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin, as well as most of cosmonauts. In 1992 one of the asteroids was named after him – ’4164 Shilov’ (discovered by Lyudmila Ivanovna Chernykh). Being critisized by his opponents, Alexander Shilov has been always supported by the Kremlin leaders. Since 1999 he is a member of the Presidential Council for Culture and the Arts. Since 2012 – a member of the Public Council under the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. In February 2012, joined the list of authorized representatives of presidential candidate Vladimir Putin.
Shilov's opponents insisted that his portraits are little more than the flattering photographs transferred onto canvas, but his proponents claim a unique realistic style directly inherited from Dmitry Levitzky and Orest Kiprensky. In 1997 one of the leading proponents, the Moscow mayor Yuriy Luzhkov, opened the Moscow State Art Gallery of People's Artist of the USSR Alexander Shilov, just several steps away from the Moscow Kremlin. The gallery is devoted solely to exhibitions of Shilov's work.