Toyvo V. Ryannel was born on 25 October 1921 in the village of Tozerovo in the Toksov District of the Leningrad Region. From 1928 to 1931 he went to Finnish national school. In 1931 his parents moved to the Krasnoyarsk Territory where he went to school in Kirovsk and Yuzhno-Yeniseisk. From 1939 to 1941 he was a student of Omsk Art School. From 1941 to 1943 he worked as a school teacher of drawing in Yuzhno-Yeniseisk, from 1943 to 1946 as a technicial-geodesist with the expeditions of "Zolotorazvedka" trust of the Ministry of Non-Ferrous Metallurgy. In 1946 Ryannel for the first time took part in the professional art exhibition in the memory of V. Surikov in Krasnoyarsk. From 1946 to 1948 he worked as a teacher at V.1. Surikov Krasnoyarsk Art School. In 1947 he became a member of the USSR Union of Artists. Not once he was elected to work in the governing body of the Krasnoyarsk Branch of the RSFSR Union of Artists, in the art council, in the territory and zone exhibition committees. Since 1953 Ryannel has been taking part in Republican and All-Union exhibitions. The artist's works have been reproduced in such magazines as "Yenisei", "Sibirskiye Ogni", "Ogonyok", "Smena", "Iskusstvo", "Tvorchestvo", "Khudozhnik", they were also published abroad. Some picture cards and wall reproductions were published in many copies by the "Sovetsky Khudozhnik" publishing house. A book of water-colours and drawings of the Yenisei, "Ulug-Khem - Yenisei - lonessy", was published in Krasnoyarsk in 1970.
Ryannel has written a number of essays about the work of artists, exhibitions, his own travels, which were published in such newspapers as "Krasnoyarsky Rabochy", "Krasnoyarsky Komsomolets", magazines "Yenisei", "Sibirskiye Ogni", "Vokrug Sveta". The essay "Artist Karatanov" was published as a separate edition in Krasnoyarsk in 1948. In 1974 Ryannel was awarded a title of Honoured Artist of the RSFSR.
The artist's works are exhibited in the picture galleries and art museums of Yakutsk, Chita, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Kemerovo, Barnaul, Norilsk, Omsk, Oktyabrsk, Oryol, Tula, Kursk; some of them belong to the exhibition stock of the Ministries of Culture of the Russia.
The paintings, water-colours and drawings presented here were created in different periods of the artist's life but they are all united by their subject, Siberia.
Every picture reflects years of hard work and numerous tireless travels to the most remote and almost inaccessible regions of Siberia.
It is not necessary to enumerate all these travels here. The artist himself depicted them in his essays, they were described in press in connection with his personal exhibitions which have been held all over the country since 1959. Of special interest are his travels in the Sayan Mountains. The role of the Sayans in Ryannel's art cannot be overestimated. He keeps going there nearly every year. The subjects of many pictures were conceived there. The Sayans have also made him a master of original colours. "I don't regard myself as a pioneer of the Sayans", said the artist, "but I have tried to see them in my own way. They served me as a field of establishing my aesthetic programme."
Ryannel works in different genres but most widely known is he as a landscape painter. It is by means of landscape that he most often addresses people, revealing as he does his civic position, his philosophical and aesthetic criteria.
Still at the beginning of his artistic career the painter developed his own way of painting characterized by subtle sentiments, new and original composition, daring colours reflecting various, sometimes complicated, states of nature. It was lyric painting, mood landscape, in which the artist showed his admiration for Siberian nature and for the people creating new life there. This was how people saw the artist at Republican and All-Union exhibitions in the 50s.
By and by the motif of magnificent virgin nature and heroic being of our contemporaries was getting more and more pronounced in Ryannel's pictures. He used his increased mastery and experience to show new, rapidly developing Siberia, rich spiritual life of his contemporaries. Of particular importance for the artist is a great Siberian river, The Yenisei, which is a symbol of everlasting might of nature and great deeds of the man. Striking changes that took place on the Yenisei in the 50s affected everything and everybody. They awoke enormous potentials concealed in the unbounded space, changed the tempo of life. The Yenisei means a lot of different things for Ryannel. These are the places V. Lenin was at during his Siberian exile, the Upper Yenisei where it is extremely rapid and its boundless overflows in the North, new towns, the centre of the vast territory, industrial and cultural Krasnoyarsk, giants of power engineering, and man-made seas. "I have been nursed by the Yenisei land. I am growing together with it as a man and as an artist, I share in its heroic past and present," the artist's words are confirmed by his hard work which has made him one of the leading landscape painters in Siberia. He is considered to be one of the founders of thematic landscape, so-called contemplation landscape.
In the mid-50s in Ryannel's art appeared an epic motif evoked by the desire to philosophize on his observations. The landscape, in which the pulse of life was getting stronger and stronger, became a logical result of his developing other image-bearing and expressive means of painting. The tendency can be traced in the pictures "Domes of Erlig-Khan" (1955) and "The Earth of the Yenisei" (1958). Both pictures represent the development of the tendency to create a generalized image of Siberian nature but they were not devoid of elaborated details. A more perfect stage was creating the picture "Mountain Pines" (1 956 - 1 959). The painting is genuinely monumental due to its integral composition and laconic colouring. It can be a symbol of the great past and present of Siberia
One should also note that in his art Ryannel develops long-established traditions of Krasnoyarsk painting school notable for developing landscape not only in oil-painting, but also in graphic art.
Recently, quite a number of Krasnoyarsk artists have been working on creating landscapes carrying the message of historical development, harmonious relations between the past and the present: they strive to convey the national nature of psychological perception of environment by the man. It is interesting to follow the development of this subject in Ryannel's pictures. From placid meditation on life in the picture "Green Kar" (1 958) to daring attempts to attain perfection in the picture "The Path of Giants" (1 969) and further to the understanding of the perfect nature of the man living on the land in the canvas "The Heart of the Sayans" (1979) - this is the direction we should follow if we are to understand the painter's art endeavour. Ryannel never tires of searching for the plastic language, necessary expressive means for creating capacious, integral composition. Often being dissatisfied with the results of his work, the artist once and again reverts to the same subject trying to find different techniques, different pictorial states.
One of the most cherished aspects in Ryannel's art is colour. Speaking of the artist's achievements one cannot but mention his persistent search of colouring, hard work in plein air. As a result, he has become a master of various mediums, both oil and water-colour. This may account for his success as a painter and his peculiar talent various new aspects of which are still becoming apparent.
A series of landscapes of the river Mana can serve as an example of one more genre in Ryannel's art, lyrico-epic one, with his own distinctive colouring. The beautiful river has appeared before us as another revelation of the artist. It seems he has got a good results. But a restless heart of artist makes him to look for a new ways, new interesting places and new impressions.