please note - in this blog Russian art is defined as art produced within the borders of the Russian Empire in the 19th Century.


Михаи́л Васи́льевич Не́стеров - (Mikhail Nesterov) - (1862 – 1942)
Михаи́л Васи́льевич Не́стеров - (Mikhail Vasilyevich Nesterov) - (May 31 [O.S. May 19] 1862, Ufa – 18 October 1942, Moscow) was a major representative of religious Symbolism in Russian art.
He was a pupil of Pavel Tchistyakov at the Imperial Academy of Arts, but later allied himself with the group of artists known as the Peredvizhniki.
His canvas The Vision of the Youth Bartholomew (1890–91), depicting the conversion of medieval Russian saint Sergii Radonezhsky, is often considered to be the earliest example of the Russian Symbolist style.
From 1890 to 1910, Nesterov lived in Kiev and St Petersburg, working on frescoes in St. Vladimir's Cathedral and the Church on Spilt Blood, respectively.
After 1910, he spent the remainder of his life in Moscow, working in the Marfo-Mariinsky Convent.
As a devout Orthodox Christian, he did not accept the Bolshevik Revolution but remained in Russia until his death, painting the portraits of Ivan Ilyin, Ivan Pavlov, Ksenia Derzhinskaia, Otto Schmidt, and Vera Mukhina, among others.

Михаи́л Васи́льевич Не́стеров - (Mikhail Nesterov) - (1862 – 1942)

Васи́лий Ива́нович Су́риков
Vasily Ivanovich Surikov

Васи́лий Ива́нович Су́риков - (Vasily Ivanovich Surikov) - (January 24, 1848 (Julian calendar: January 12) – March 19, 1916 (Julian calendar: March 6)) was the foremost Russian painter of large-scale historical subjects. His major pieces are among the best-known paintings in Russia.
Surikov was born in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, where a monument to him was recently opened by his great-grandsons, Nikita Mikhalkov and Andrei Konchalovsky.
In 1869-1871 he studied under Pavel Chistyakov at the Imperial Academy of Arts.
In 1877, Surikov settled in Moscow, where he contributed some imposing frescoes to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
In 1878 he married Elizabeth Charais, a granddaughter of the Decembrist Svistunov.
In 1881 he joined the Peredvizhniki movement. From 1893 he was a full member of the St.Petersburg Academy of Arts.
Surikov was interred at the Vagankovskoye Cemetery in Moscow.
Surikov painted images from Russia's past that focused on the lives of ordinary people.
His works are remarkable for the original way in which they represent space and movements of people.
In some cases he seems to have painted the same image in more than one size, probably as a prototype to a bigger image which he has in his mind, or he may have liked the smaller version so much that he decided it would look nicer when enlarged.

'AN OBEREK' - (1878)
Jozef Chelmonski

Józef Marian Chelmonski (November 7, 1849 – April 6, 1914) was born in the village of Boczki near Lowicz in central Congress Poland, Russian Empire.
His first drawing teacher was his father (a small leaseholder and administrator of Boczki village). After finishing high school in Warsaw, Jozef studied in Warsaw Drawing Class (1867–1871) and took private lessons from Wojciech Gerson.
From 1871 to 1874 Chelmonski lived in Munich.
His first paintings were done under the influence of Gerson.
The works that followed were landscapes and villages.
In 1875 Chelmonski went to Paris, where he had many important exhibitions and became known to the art scene.
From 1878 to 1887 Chelmonski visited Poland, Vienna and Venice.
In 1887 he returned to Poland and in 1889 settled in the village of Kuklówka Zarzeczna. Contact with his homeland and nature are qualities revealed in his artworks.
He died in Kuklówka near Grodzisk Mazowiecki in 1914.

Jozef Chelmonski

Stanislaw Witkiewicz

Stanislaw Witkiewicz (8 May 1851 in Pašiauše – 5 September 1915 in Lovran) was a painter, architect, writer and art theoretician.
Witkiewicz was born in the Lithuanian village of Pašiaušė (Polish: Poszawsze) in Samogitia, at that time, in the partitioned Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth lands ruled by the Russian Empire.
Witkiewicz studied in Saint Petersburg, 1869–71, then in Munich, 1872–75.
He created the Zakopane Style (styl zakopiański) (also known as Witkiewicz Style (styl witkiewiczowski)) in architecture.
He was strongly associated with Zakopane and promoted it in the art community.

Mikhail Germashyov

Mikhail Germashyov

Илья́ Ефи́мович Ре́пин

Илья́ Ефи́мович Ре́пин

Ilya Efimovich Repin was born in 1844 in a small Ukrainian town of Chuguev, Kharkov Province, in a family of a military settler.
As a young boy, he received his first lessons in art in 1858, when he worked for a talented icon painter I. M. Bunakov.
At the age of 19, he entered St. Petersburg Academy of Arts.
His arrival to the capital coincides with the important event in the artistic life of the 60's, the so called 'Riot of the Fourteen'.
Fourteen young artists left the Academy having refused to use mythological subjects for their diploma works.
They stood on the point that art should be close to real life. Later Ilya Repin would be closely connected with some of them, the members of the Society of Peredvizhinsky.
Working with Kramskoi, in a year Repin developed his skills sufficiently to be accepted in the Academy. In 1870, Repin made his first scketches for 'Barge Haulers on the Volga', while being on a boat trip.
When the work was finished in 1873, it immediately won recognition.
For his diploma work, 'Raising of Jauris' Daughter' (1871), Repin was awared the Major Gold Medal and received a scholarship for studies abroad.
In 1873 Repin went abroad. For several months he had been traveling around Italy and then settled to work in Paris up until 1876.
It was in Paris that he witnessed the first exhibition of the Impressionists, but, judging by the works created then and his letters home, he didn't become an ardent follower of a new Paris school of painting, though he didn't share the opinion of some of his countrymen who saw in the Impressionism a dangerous departure from "the truth of life."
After returning to Russia, Repin settled in Moscow.
He was a frequent visitor in Abramtsevo - the country estate of Savva Mamontov, one of the famous Russian patrons of art.
It was a very fruitful period of his creative activity.
During these 10-12 years Repin created majority of his famous paintings. In 1877, he started painting a religious procession (Krestniy Khod), Krestniy Khod in Kursk Gubernia (1880-1883). The composition was based on the dramatic effect of different attitude of the participants of the procession to the wonder-working icon carried at the head of the procession.
There were two different versions of the picture. The second one, completed in 1883, became the most popular.
Repin painted many portraits, which are an essential part of his artistic heritage.
Repin never painted faces, he painted real people, managing to show his models in their natural state, to reveal their way of communicating with the world: 'Portrait of the Composer Modest Musorgsky' (1881), and 'Portrait of Leo Tolstoy' (1887) and many others are distinguished by the power of visual characteristic and the economy and sharpness of execution.
Repin rarely painted historical paintings, however, the most popular of his paintings in this genre is 'Ivan the Terrible and his son Ivan' (1895).
The expressive, intense composition and psychological insight in rendering the characters produced and unforgettable impression on the spectators.
Another popular painting in this genre is 'The Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mahmoud IV' (1880-1891).
The faithfully rendered spirit of the Zaporozhian freemen, who, according to the artist, had a particularly strong sense of "liberty, equality and fraternity"undoubtedly gives the picture its significance.
Repin's contemporaries saw it as a symbol of the Russian people throwing off their chains.
For six years Repin lived in Moscow (1876-1882), but later he moved to St. Petersburg.
He also made several trips to Europe - in 1883, 1889, 1894, and 1900.
He taught at St. Petersburg's Academy (1894-1907) and was an influential member of the 'Wanderers'.
In 1900, during his trip to Paris, Repin met Natalia Nordman, "the love of his life" (Repin was separated from his wife), and moved to her home Penaty (Penates), in Kuokkala (Finland), located about an hour train ride from St. Petersburg.
Together they organized the famous Wednesdays at the Penaty which attracted the creative elite of Russia.
When Nordman died in 1914, she left the estate to the Academy, but Repin occupied it for the next sixteen years.
In 1930, Repin died in Kuokkala, Finland.
After the Continuation War, Finland ceded Kuokkala to the Soviet Union, which renamed it Repino (Leningrad Oblast).
Penaty is part of the World Heritage Site Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments.
In 1940, Penaty was opened for the public as a house museum.
His realistic works often expressed great psychological depth and exposed the tensions within the existing social order.
Beginning in the late 1920s, detailed works on him were published in the Soviet Union, where a Repin cult developed about a decade later.
He was held up as a model "progressive" and "realist" to be imitated by "Socialist Realist" artists in the USSR.


Krestniy Khod in Kursk Gubernia (1880-1883)




The record of the daughter of Jairus is a combination of miracles of Jesus in the Gospels (Mark 5:21–43, Matthew 9:18–26, Luke 8:40–56).
The story immediately follows the exorcism at Gerasa.
Jairus, a patron of the synagogue, asks Jesus to heal his dying daughter, however, according to Matthew, his daughter is already dead, not dying.
As they travel to Jairus's house, a sick woman in the crowd touches Jesus' cloak and is healed of her sickness. This is called the miracle of Christ healing the bleeding woman.
Meanwhile the daughter dies, but Jesus continues to the house and brings her back to life, or in his own words, awakens her.
In Mark's account, the Aramaic phrase "Talitha Koum" - (ταλιθα κουμ) - and meaning, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!") is attributed to Jesus.


Ivan IV Vasilyevich - Ivan Chetvyorty, Vasilyevich; 25 August 1530 – 28 March [O.S. 18 March] 1584),[1] known in English as Ivan the Terrible, was Grand Prince of Moscow from 1533 until his death.
His long reign saw the conquest of the Khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan, and Siberia, transforming Russia into a multiethnic and multiconfessional state spanning almost one billion acres, approximately 4,046,856 km2 (1,562,500 sq mi).
Ivan managed countless changes in the progression from a medieval nation state to an empire and emerging regional power, and became the first ruler to be crowned as Tsar of All Russia.
Historic sources present disparate accounts of Ivan's complex personality: he was described as intelligent and devout, yet given to rages and prone to episodic outbreaks of mental illness.
One notable outburst may have resulted in the death of his groomed and chosen heir Ivan Ivanovich (see above), which led to the passing of the Tsardom to the younger son: the weak and possibly mentally retarded Feodor I of Russia.
His contemporaries called him "Ivan Groznyi" the name, which, although usually translated as "Terrible", actually means something closer to "Redoubtable" or "Severe" and carries connotations of might, power and strictness rather than horror or cruelty.



Sadko  is an opera in seven scenes by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.
The libretto was written by the composer, with assistance from Vladimir Belsky, Vladimir Stasov, and others.
Rimsky-Korsakov was first inspired by the bylina of Sadko in 1867, when he completed a tone poem on the subject, his Op. 5.
After finishing his second revision of this work in 1892, he decided to turn it into a dramatic work. The opera was completed in 1896.
The music is highly evocative, and Rimsky-Korsakov's famed powers of orchestration are abundantly in evidence throughout the score.





Nicholas II(Nikolay Alexandrovich Romanov) - (18 May [O.S. 6 May] 1868 – 17 July 1918) was the last Emperor of Russia, Grand Prince of Finland, and titular King of Poland.
His official title was Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias and he is known as Saint Nicholas the Passion-Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church.
Nicholas II ruled from 1894 until his abdication on 15 March 1917.
His reign saw Imperial Russia go from being one of the foremost great powers of the world to economic and military collapse. 
As head of state, he approved the Russian mobilization of August 1914, which marked the beginning of Russia's involvement in World War I, a war in which 3.3 million Russians would be killed.
The unpopularity of the Russian involvement in this war is often cited as a leading cause of the fall of the Romanov dynasty less than three years later.



Илья́ Ефи́мович Ре́пин



Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy - (September 9, 1828 – November 20, 1910) was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories.
Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays.
His two most famous works, the novels 'War and Peace' and 'Anna Karenina', are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist fiction.
Tolstoy is equally known for his complicated and paradoxical persona and for his extreme moralistic and ascetic views, which he adopted after a moral crisis and spiritual awakening in the 1870s, after which he also became noted as a moral thinker and social reformer.
His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him in later life to become a fervent Christian anarchist and anarcho-pacifist.

Ива́н Серге́евич Турге́нев

Ива́н Серге́евич Турге́нев - (Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev) - (November 9 [O.S. October 28] 1818 – September 3, 1883) was a Russian novelist, short story writer, and playwright.
His first major publication, a short story collection entitled 'A Sportsman's Sketches', is a milestone of Russian Realism, and his novel 'Fathers and Sons' is regarded as one of the major works of 19th-century fiction.

 Макси́м Го́рький
Alexei Maximovich
Алексе́й Макси́мович Пешков

Alexei Maximovich Peshkov  - (28 March [O.S. 16 March] 1868 – 18 June 1936), also known as Maxim Gorky, was a Russian, Soviet author, a founder of the Socialist Realism literary method and a political activist.

Дми́трий Ива́нович Менделе́ев

Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev (also romanized Mendeleyev or Mendeleef) - (8 February [O.S. 27 January] 1834 – 2 February [O.S. 20 January] 1907), was a Russian chemist and inventor.
He is credited as being the creator of the first version of the periodic table of elements.
Using the table, he predicted the properties of elements yet to be discovered.

Моде́ст Петро́вич Му́соргский

Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky - (21 March [O.S. 9 March] 1839 – 28 March [O.S. 16 March] 1881) was a Russian composer, one of the group known as 'The Five'.
He was an innovator of Russian music in the romantic period.
He strove to achieve a uniquely Russian musical identity, often in deliberate defiance of the established conventions of Western music.
Many of his works were inspired by Russian history, Russian folklore, and other nationalist themes.
Such works include the opera 'Boris Godunov', the orchestral tone poem 'Night on Bald Mountain', and the piano suite 'Pictures at an Exhibition'.
For many years Mussorgsky's works were mainly known in versions revised or completed by other composers.
Many of his most important compositions have recently come into their own in their original forms, and some of the original scores are now also available.

Никола́й Андре́евич Ри́мский-Ко́рсаков

Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov (18 March [O.S. 6 March] 1844,[a 1] – 21 June [O.S. 8 June] 1908) was a Russian composer, and a member of the group of composers known as The Five.
He was a master of orchestration. His best-known orchestral compositions—'Capriccio Espagnol', the 'Russian Easter Festival Overture', and the symphonic suite 'Scheherazade' - are considered staples of the classical music repertoire, along with suites and excerpts from some of his 15 operas.
'Scheherazade' is an example of his frequent use of fairy tale and folk subjects.

Михаи́л Ива́нович Гли́нка

Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka - (June 1 [O.S. May 20] 1804 – February 15 [O.S. February 3] 1857), was the first Russian composer to gain wide recognition within his own country, and is often regarded as the father of Russian classical music.
Glinka's compositions were an important influence on future Russian composers, notably the members of The Five, who took Glinka's lead and produced a distinctive Russian style of music.


Портрет композитора и ученого-химика Александра Порфирьевича Бородина

Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin - (12 November 1833 – 27 February 1887[2]) was a Russian Romantic composer and chemist of Georgian–Russian parentage.
He was a member of the group of composers called 'The Five' (or "The Mighty Handful"), who were dedicated to producing a specifically Russian kind of art music.
He is best known for his symphonies, his two string quartets, and his opera 'Prince Igor'.
Music from Prince Igor and his string quartets was later adapted for the Forrest and Wright musical Kismet.


Arthur Rubinstein - (January 28, 1887 – December 20, 1982) was a Polish-born pianist.
He received international acclaim for his performances of the music of a variety of composers (many regard him as the greatest Chopin interpreter of the century).
He is widely considered one of the greatest classical pianists of the twentieth century.


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