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Old March 16th, 2016 #21
Alex Him
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Alex Him

Ilya Repin (IV)

А. С. Пушкин на акте в Лицее 8 января 1815 года (1911) / A. Pushkin on the act in the Lyceum on Jan. 8, 1815 (1911)

"Aleksandr Pushkin is considered Russia's greatest poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. Pushkin was the first to use everyday speech in his poetry, fusing Old Slavonic with vernacular Russian. This blend gave his works their rich, melodic quality.

Aleksandr Pushkin was born in Moscow on 6 June 1799 into a cultured but poor aristocratic family, with a long and distinguished lineage. On his father's side, he was a descendant of an ancient noble family; his mother was a great granddaughter of Gannibal, the legendary Abyssinian, who served under Peter the Great. Pushkin's mother took little interest in the upbringing of her son, entrusting him to nursemaids and French tutors. Pushkin got acquainted with the Russian language through communication with household serfs and his nanny, Arina Rodionovna, whom he loved dearly and was more attached to than to his own mother.

In 1811, along with 30 other distinguished young men, Pushkin was admitted to the Lyceum, an exclusive school for the nobility, located outside St. Petersburg in Tsarskoe Selo. It provided the best education available in Russia at the time. An unofficial laureate of the Lyceum, in no time, Pushkin drew the acclaim of his teachers and peers for his poetry. His first publication appeared in the journal The Messenger of Europe in 1814. In 1815, at the public examination at the Lyceum, the audience was swept by his poem "Recollections about Tsarskoe Selo," which was highly praised by Gavriil Derzhavin, the most influential poet of the time. [This moment was shown in the picture - Alex Him] At the Lyceum, Pushkin formed rock solid friendships with many other students, and cherished this "Lyceum brotherhood" for the rest of his life.

After graduating from the Lyceum in 1817, Pushkin was given a sinecure in the Collegium of Foreign Affairs in St. Petersburg. The next three years he spent easily sailing through life, welcome both in literary circles and at bacchanal Guard parties. Despite this frivolous lifestyle, Pushkin nevertheless was still committed to social reform. Like many of his Lyceum friends, he became associated with members of a radical movement, responsible for the Decembrist uprising of 1825, but Pushkin himself was never a part of the plot. Between 1817 and 1820, his ideas were vocalized in "revolutionary" poems, namely his "Ode to Liberty," "The Village" and a number of poems about Emperor Alexander I and his conservative minister Arakcheev. At the same time, Pushkin took up his first large-scale work, "Ruslan and Ludmila," a fairy tale in verse.

"Ode to Liberty" angered the Russian Emperor, and he banished Pushkin from St. Petersburg for six years. Pushkin left for Ekaterinoslav on 6 May 1820. Soon after his arrival there, Pushkin traveled around the Caucasus and the Crimea. He was then transferred to Chisinau, Moldova, for three years. In the meantime, Pushkin fell under the spell of George Byron's work, and eventually became the leader of the Russian Romantic Movement. He wrote a series of narrative poems, featuring exotic southern settings and tragic romantic encounters: "The Prisoner of the Caucasus" (1820-1821), "The Bandit Brothers" (1821-1822), and "The Fountain of Bakhchisaray" (1821-1823).
With the aid of his influential friends, in July 1823 Pushkin was transferred to Odessa, Ukraine, where he engaged in going to the theater, social outings, and love affairs. His literary creativity thrived, as he completed "The Fountain of Bakhchisaray," began "The Gypsies" and the first chapter of "Eugene Onegin," his big-name novel in verse which provided a dazzling yet insightful portrait of a world-weary young member of the nobility who fails to appreciate a woman's love until it is too late and she is married to another person.

After postal officials intercepted a letter which revealed his thinly-veiled support of atheism, Pushkin was exiled to his mother's estate of Mikhaylovskoye in northern Russia. The next two years, from August 1824 till August 1826, he lived at Mikhaylovskoye under surveillance. However unpleasant Pushkin might have found his virtual imprisonment in the village, the years at Mikhailovskoye saw the maturation of his talent, as he moved away from the sensuous flavor of his southern poems toward a more austere and incisive form. While at Mikhaylovskoye, he completed "The Gypsies," wrote the dramas "Boris Godunov" and "Count Nulin" and the second chapter of "Eugene Onegin." His sweeping historical tragedy, "Boris Godunov," was published in 1831. It was based on the controversial reign of Boris Godunov, the Russian Tsar from 1598 to 1605.

When the new Emperor, Nicolas I, allowed Pushkin to return to Moscow, the poet openly abandoned his revolutionary sentiments. When the Decembrist Uprising took place in St. Petersburg on 14 December 1825 (the failed conspiracy organized by a group of aristocrats to overthrow the legitimate Emperor Nicolas I and to replace him with their protégé, the Emperor's brother Konstantin), Pushkin, still at Mikhailovskoye, was not involved, but greatly sympathized with the rioters, many of them being his Lyceum friends. In the late spring of 1826, he sent the Tsar a petition that he be released from exile. After the uprising had been suppressed and many of its participants sentenced to the death penalty, Pushkin's friends among them, Pushkin's activity was subjected to a meticulous investigation to establish his plausible connection with the rioters. After a very detailed interview with the Emperor himself, Pushkin was ecstatic to find out his appeal had been allowed, however, with the Emperor personally censoring all of his works.

Later, Pushkin was to discover that his freedom was not entirely unconditional. Count Benkendorf, Chief of the Gendarmes, let Pushkin know that without prior permission he was not to make any trip, participate in any journal, or publish - or even publicly read - any of his works. He was questioned several times by the police about poems he had written.

Meanwhile, Pushkin, still light-hearted and at the stage of matrimony, engaged in searching for an appropriate wife. He sought no less than the most beautiful woman in Russia for his bride. In 1829, he found her in Natalya Goncharova, and plighted his troth to her in April of that same year. She finally agreed to marry him on the condition that his ambiguous situation with the government be clarified - and it was. As a wedding gift, Pushkin was given permission to publish "Boris Godunov" after four years of waiting for approval. He was formally betrothed on 6 May 1830.

Financial arrangements in connection with the recent acquisition of part of the family stead required that he visit the neighboring estate of Boldino in east-central Russia. Pushkin had only planned go be there for a few days but to his dismay, he got stranded by an Asiatic cholera outbreak for three months. These three months in Boldino, however, turned out to be the most fruitful period of his life in terms of creativity. During the last months of his exile at Mikhaylovskoe, he did produce two more chapters of "Eugene Onegin", but in the four subsequent years he had only written "Poltava"(1828), his unfinished novel "The Blackamoor of Peter the Great" (1827), a narration about his Abyssinian ancestor Gannibal, and chapter seven of "Eugene Onegin" (1827-1828). During the autumn at Boldino, Pushkin wrote the five short stories of "The Tales of Belkin"; the versed tale "The Little House in Kolomna"; four "little tragedies": "The Avaricious Knight," "Mozart and Salieri;" "The Stone Guest", and "Feast in Time of Plague"; fairy tales in verse, the last chapter of "Eugene Onegin" and a great number of poems.

Pushkin finally married Natalya Goncharova on 18 February1831 in Moscow. In May, the Pushkins moved to Tsarskoe Selo, to settle for a more frugal life and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the countryside. They never found what they wanted, as a cholera outbreak in St. Petersburg drove the Emperor and his court to take refuge in Tsarskoe Selo in July. In October of 1831 the Pushkins moved back to St. Petersburg to an apartment where they spent the rest of their lives.

Natalya's beauty immediately made a sensation in high society, the Emperor himself being one of her admirers. Because of her popularity, Pushkin was forced to spend more time in the capital than he wished. On 30 December 1833, Nicholas I made Pushkin a Kammerjunker, a low court rank usually granted to the youngsters of high aristocratic families. Pushkin was deeply offended and all the more convinced, that, apart from being worthless in terms of career, the rank was merely an excuse for his wife to frequent court balls.

Pushkin could ill afford the expense of gowns for Natalya for court balls, required for performing court duties. His troubles further increased when her two unmarried sisters came to live with them in the autumn of 1834. In addition, in the spring of 1834, he had taken over the management of his father's estate and agreed to settle the debts of his heedless brother. His financial situation was so aggravated that he applied for a substantial loan to cover his most pressing debts, and for the permission to publish a journal. He received the loan and a little later, in 1836, was permitted to publish a quarterly literary journal, The Contemporary. The journal was not a financial success; in addition, it got Pushkin involved in endless editorial and financial debates and in trouble with the censors. Short visits to the country in 1834 and 1835 resulted in the completion of his fairy tale in verse, "The Tale of the Golden Cockerel" (1834) while in 1836 he completed his novel, "The Captain's Daughter," about Pugachev's peasant uprising of 1773-1775, and a number of his finest lyrics.

By the mid 30s, many critics began to refer to Pushkin's works as outdated and obsolete, which was a disastrous thing for Pushkin to hear; it dispirited him immensely. In addition to that, his family life had hit the rocks as well. In 1834 Natalya Pushkina met a handsome French royalist émigré in Russian service. Young d'Anthes had been pursuing her for two years, and eventually, his claims became so open and unabashed, that in the fall of 1836, it led to a scandal. Pushkin challenged d'Anthes to a duel. He retracted the challenge, however, when he learned from rumors that d'Anthes was "really" in love with Natalya's sister, Ekaterina Goncharova. On 10 January 1837, their marriage took place, but Pushkin refused to attend the wedding or to receive the couple in his home. After the marriage, d'Anthes resumed pursuing Natalya Pushkina with doubled tenacity. A duel between Pushkin and d'Anthes finally took place on 27 January 1837. D'Anthes fired first, and Pushkin was mortally wounded. He died two days later, on 29 January."

Written by Ekaterina Shubnaya -

Самосожжение Гоголя (1909) / The Self immolation of Gogol (1909)

"Nikolay Vasilyevich Gogol was a Ukrainian-born writer, playwright, poet, critic and publicist.

Gogol was born in Sorochitsy, in the Poltava Region (central Ukraine) into the family of a modest landlord. He was named Nikolay after the miracle-working icon of Saint Nicholas that was kept in the church of the nearby village of Dikanka. He spent his childhood on his parents’ estate Vasil’evka near Dikanka, which was a place of legends, superstitions and fables.

A considerable role in the future writer’s education was played by his father, Vasily Afanasyevich, an avid connoisseur of the arts. After receiving home education, Gogol spent two years in the Poltava District College before entering the Nizhyn Pedagogical University (then a Gymnasium of High Sciences). Here he learned to play the violin and paint, took part in plays both as a decorator and an actor and was especially successful in comic roles.

He also tried his hand at various literature genres, writing elegiacs, tragedies, historic poetry and prose. He wrote the satire “Something About Nizhyn, or There’s no Law for Fools” (“Nechto o Nezhine, ili durakam zakon ne pisan”), which didn’t survive for future generations. However, at the time Gogol didn’t think of writing as a serious occupation. His aspirations were in the field of state service, namely law.

After graduating from the Nizhyn Gymnasium in June 1828, he set off for St. Petersburg in hopes of starting broader work in December of that same year. He didn’t manage to get a job though and his literary attempts were also unsuccessful. In disappointment, he went abroad, but soon came back. In November 1829 he managed to get a job in the department of state property and public buildings of the Ministry of Domestic Affairs. For the next year he served in this office.

The paperwork caused great disappointment in Gogol, but provided plenty of material for his future literary works that depicted the lives of officials and the functioning of the wheels of state.

In 1830 in the “Native Notes” (“Otechestvennye zapiski”) magazine, Gogol’s first novella appeared under the title “Basavryuk.” It was later reworked into the novella “Night Before Ivan Kupala Day” (“Vecher nakanune Ivana Kupala”). In December, a chapter from his historic novel “The Hetman” was printed in Delvig’s almanac “The Northern Flowers” (“Severnye Tsvety”). Thus, he became close with the literary figures of the time, like Delvig, Zhukovsky and Pushkin, whose friendship was key for the development of young Gogol’s social position and literary talent. Pushkin introduced him to his circles, which were often visited by the likes of Krylov, Vyzemsky, Odoyevsky and the artist Bryullov, who gave him the idea for the plots of “The Government Inspector” (“Revizor”) and “The Dead Souls” (“Mertvye dushi”).

Gogol soon received acclaim for his “Evenings At a Farm Near Dikanka” (“Vechera na khutore bliz Dikanki”), “The Sorochino Fair” (“Sorochinskaya yarmarka”), “The May Night” (“Mayskaya noch”) and other works.

In 1833 Gogol decided to dedicate his life to scientific and pedagogic work and in 1834 he was appointed assistant professor of the World History Department of the St. Petersburg University.

His studies of Ukraine’s history laid the foundations for the plot of “Taras Bulba.” In 1835 he left university and dedicated himself wholly to literature. That same year, the “Mirgorod” novella collection came out, including “Old-world Landlords” (“Starosvetskie pomeshchiki”), “Taras Bulba,” “Viy,” and others, along with the collection “Arabesques” depicting themes of St. Petersburg life. The novella “The Greatcoat” (“Shinel”) was the most significant work of his St. Petersburg cycle; Gogol read the rough drafts to Pushkin in 1836 and finished the novella in 1842.

While working on novellas, Gogol also tried his hand at playwriting. He considered theater a great power that had played a considerable part in social development. In 1835 he wrote “The Government Inspector,” which in 1836 was staged in Moscow. Soon after the staging, Gogol left Russia, settling first in Switzerland, and later in Paris, where he continued his work on “The Dead Souls” that he had began in Russia. The news of Pushkin’s death was a grave blow for Gogol. In March 1837 he moved to Rome. During his visit to Russia in 1839-1840, he read parts of “The Dead Souls” first volume, which he later finished in 1841 in Rome.

After returning to Russia in October 1841, Gogol, with the help of the critic Vissarion Belinsky, printed the first volume in 1842. Belinsky called it a “deeply intellectual, social and historic work.” The work on the second tome of “The Dead Souls” coincided with Gogol’s deep spiritual crisis and mainly reflected his doubt on the effectiveness of literature, putting him on the edge of denouncing his previous creations.

In 1847 he published “Chosen Excerpts from Friends’ Correspondence,” which Belinsky subjected to rough criticism in a letter to Gogol, denouncing his ideas as reactionary. Gogol spent the winter in Naples, avidly reading the Russian press and new historic and folklore-based fiction. At the same time he made preparations for a pilgrimage to holy places he had long been planning.

In January 1848 he traveled to Jerusalem by sea. In April 1848, after the pilgrimage, Gogol returned to Russia for good. He spent most of his time in Moscow and visited St. Petersburg and his native Ukraine.

In 1849-1850, Gogol read parts of the second volume of “The Dead Souls” to his friends. Their approval and delight encouraged him to work twice as hard. In spring, he made his first and only attempt to create a family. He proposed to Anna Wielhorski, who turned him down. In October, he came to Odessa. His mood was up, he was vigorous, cheerful and full of enthusiasm. He became close with the actors of an Odessa troupe, to whom he gave lessons in reading comedies. In March 1851 he returned to Moscow. A new round of the second volume readings followed. In total, he read up to seven chapters.

On January 1, 1852 Gogol informed everyone that the second volume was “completely finished.” But at the end of the month, signs of a new personality crisis appeared. He was tormented by a sense of approaching death, worsened by new doubts in his success as a writer. On February 7 Gogol confessed and took communion and on the night of February 12 he burnt the clean manuscript of the second volume of “The Dead Souls.” [This moment was shown in the picture - Alex Him] Only five unfinished chapters remained from various draft editions, which were published in 1855.
On the morning of February 21 (March 4) Gogol died in his apartment in Moscow."

Written by Aleksandr Bondarenko -

Пахарь. Лев Николаевич Толстой на пашне. (1887) / Portrait of Leo Tolstoy as a Ploughman on a Field (1887)

"A Russian writer, Leo Tolstoy is widely seen as one of the greatest European novelists of all time. His masterpieces “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina” have been read by millions around the world and continue to inspire filmmakers at home and abroad.

The fourth of five children, Tolstoy was born into a family of old Russian nobility in Yasnaya Polyana, an estate in the region of Tula in Central European Russia. His parents died when he was a child and he was brought up by relatives.

At 16, after more than two years of intense preparations, Tolstoy entered Kazan University to study Oriental languages and later took up law. But he didn’t enjoy the classes and his teachers described him as both unable and unwilling to learn. Tolstoy dropped out before completing his courses, returned to the family estate and began spending a large amount time in Moscow and St. Petersburg. His interests at the time couldn’t have been more volatile – the young Count divided his time between books, music and dreams of joining the army. He also got caught up in high society, spending nights in ballrooms and at gambling tables.

In 1851, after clocking up massive gambling debts that would take him years to pay off, Tolstoy accompanied his elder brother to the Caucasus. He joined the army and spent almost three years in a Cossack village. He began writing and published his first short novel “Childhood,” which like “Boyhood” and “Youth” that followed, was inspired by Tolstoy’s own early years. After the publication, its author woke up famous.

In 1853 the Crimean War against the Ottoman Empire began. Driven by patriotism and dreams of battlefield glory, Tolstoy volunteered to the frontline. He served in an artillery regiment, witnessing the siege of the port of Sevastopol where he showed exceptional courage and received several awards. His description of the horrors of war in “The Sevastopol Sketches” earned him further popularity.

After leaving the army in 1857, Tolstoy traveled to Europe. An avid reader, fluent in English, French and German, he became interested in the European educational system. Upon his return, Tolstoy founded a school for peasant children in Yasnaya Polyana, where he himself taught. He returned to Europe in 1860, visiting more schools in France, Italy, Germany and Britain and published magazines and textbooks on the subject.

In 1861 Russia saw the abolition of serfdom. Tolstoy took the post of conciliator in Yasnaya Polyana but soon angered the local nobility by actively taking the side of the peasants in disputes and was fired. The following year marked a turning point in his life. He married a Moscow doctor’s daughter, Sophia Bers, 16 years his junior. She bore him thirteen children and became her husband’s devoted secretary. For the next twenty years the family remained in Yasnaya Polyana only rarely visiting Moscow. Settling into calm countryside life in his beloved estate, Tolstoy had the time and inspiration to write.

Tolstoy’s major work, “War and Peace,” appeared between the years 1865 and 1869. The epic tale is widely thought to be one of the greatest novels ever written. It tells the story of several families against the background of Napoleon’s 1812 invasion of Russia. The book has some 580 characters, many historical, others fictional. The plot is a thrilling mix of events and people, playing out from Moscow’s ballrooms to the battlefields of Austerlitz and Borodino.

His other masterpiece, “Anna Karenina” (1873-77), tells of the doomed affair between a high society woman trapped in a passionless marriage and a dashing officer. Set against a rich canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, the gripping tale is a quest for love, family happiness and the meaning of life.

But after finishing “Anna Karenina” Tolstoy faced a profound crisis. In the 1880s he started seeing himself more as a sage and moral leader than a writer. He desperately questioned faith, science, art, justice and marriage. His search for spirituality led him to give up copyright of his earlier works. He came to believe that he didn’t deserve his inherited wealth and began working with the peasants, plowing and making boots. His theory of non-violent resistance to what he saw as the world’s wrongs garnered a large following around the globe. These ideas had a profound impact on such twentieth-century figures as Mahatma Gandhi in India and Martin Luther King, Jr. in the U.S.. But Tolstoy’s sharp criticism of Christian dogmas and state institutions provoked the wrath of the clergy and the authorities. In 1901 his excommunication from the Orthodox Church sent shockwaves throughout Russian society.

Tolstoy’s shift in values also caused cracks in his marriage. His famous opening line of “Anna Karenina,” “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” became part of his own story as the writer and his wife drifted apart. Their relationship at the time was described as one of the unhappiest in literary history.
On a late autumn evening in 1910, 82-year-old Tolstoy secretly left Yasnaya Polyana. But his poor health failed and he died of pneumonia at a remote railway junction. Eight years after his death, his wife apparently remarked: “I lived with Lev Nikolayevich for forty-eight years, but I never really learned what kind of man he was.”

Портрет писателя Л. Н. Толстого (1887) / Portrait of Leo Tolstoy (1887)

Лев Николаевич Толстой на отдыхе в лесу (1891) / Leo Tolstoy in the forest (1891)

Лев Николаевич Толстой босой. Этюд к портрету (1891) / Leo Tolstoy barefoot. Etude (1891)

Л. Н. Толстой босой (1901) / Leo Tolstoy barefoot (1901)

Л. Н. Толстой за работой у круглого стола (1891) / Leo Tolstoy working at the round table (1891)

Портрет писателя И. С. Тургенева (1874) / Portrait of writer Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev (1874)

"Ivan Turgenev was a novelist, poet and playwright, known for his detailed descriptions of everyday life in 19th century Russia. Although Turgenev has been overshadowed by his contemporaries, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Leo Tolstoy, he remains one of the major figures of 19th century Russian literature.

Turgenev realistically portrayed the peasantry and the rising intelligentsia in its attempt to move the country into a new age.

Turgenev came from a family of wealthy landowners in Orel Province. When Ivan's father died, his abusive mother oversaw the running of the farms and their serfs, and her two sons, Nikolay and Ivan. Turgenev’s cruel, domineering mother was a great influence in his life; her strong personality left traces on his later works. Turgenev portrayed his mother in his fiction as a tyrannous and unreasonable domestic despot. Yet Turgenev understood her real tragedy – that she desperately wanted to be loved by her sons, but the actions to which her warped character drove her repelled them. An entry in her diary, made shortly before her death, suggests that she had realized this herself: “Mother of God, my children, forgive me. And you, oh Lord, forgive me as well – for pride, this mortal sin, was always my sin.” Ivan was even afraid of her as she beat him constantly. She was eager that Turgenev should make a brilliant official career. And later, when he resigned from the Interior Ministry, she showed her disapproval by cutting down his allowance, thus forcing him to support himself by the profession he had chosen.

When his mother died, the estates were settled, and with an income of about $5,000 a year, Turgenev became a wanderer. He had, or imagined he had, very bad health, and the eminent specialists he consulted sent him from one resort to another, to Rome, the Isle of Wight, Soden, and the like.

Turgenev first attended the University of St. Petersburg. Later, at the age of 19, he traveled to Germany and entered the University of Berlin. On his way to Germany, the steamer he was traveling on caught fire and rumors spread in Russia that he had acted cowardly. This revealing experience, which followed the author throughout his life, formed later the basis for his story “A Fire at Sea.” In Germany he concentrated on studying history and philosophy, mainly the works of Georg W. F. Hegel.

After a time working as a civil servant, he met French opera singer Pauline Garcia Viardot with whom he had a lifelong platonic relationship. He lived near her or at times with her and her husband and traveled extensively with them. Viardot remained Turgenev's greatest and unfulfilled love.

Turgenev set up residence in France and it was here that he began writing in earnest. With the short-story cycle “A Sportsman's Sketches,” he made his reputation. Turgenev was an enthusiastic hunter. It was his experiences in the woods of his native province that supplied the material for “A Sportsman’s Sketches.” It is said that the work contributed to Tsar Aleksandr II's decision to liberate the serfs. The short pieces were written from the point of view of a young nobleman who learns to appreciate the wisdom of the peasants living on his family's estates. Traveling often between Europe and Russia, Turgenev was arrested and imprisoned for suspicious revolutionary activities. Turgenev's opinions brought him a month of detention in St. Petersburg and 18 months of house arrest.

The first of “A Sportsman’s Sketches” appeared in 1847, and in the same year he left Russia in the train of Pauline Viardot. For a year or two he lived chiefly in Paris or at a country house at Courtavenel in Brie, which belonged to Madame Viardot. In 1850 he returned to Russia. There he found Dostoevsky banished to Siberia and Belinsky dead. Turgenev himself was under suspicion by the government on account of the popularity of “A Sportsman’s Sketches.” For praising Gogol, who had just died, he was arrested and imprisoned for a short time, and for the next two years he was kept under police surveillance. In the meantime he continued to write. The end of the Crimean War made it possible for him to travel to Western Europe again and by that time he had become recognized the foremost living Russian author.

Though Turgenev never graduated from any university, while studying in Berlin he became convinced that Russia needed to be Westernized. Lacking an interest in religious issues like his two great compatriots, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, he represented the social side of the reform movement. In 1855 he met Leo Tolstoy, who had returned to St. Petersburg from the siege of Sevastopol. Tolstoy had not become a famous writer yet, but Turgenev recognized his literary genius. "I'm not exaggerating when I say that he'll become a great writer," he wrote to Tolstoy's sister. In 1857 he traveled with Nikolay Nekrasov and Tolstoy to Paris, and showed the younger novelist all the sights. "Turgenev is a bore," Tolstoy recorded in his diary in Dijon. The relationship between these two great writers remained tense, although they never broke contact and also had family ties. Turgenev's mother had given birth in 1833 to a daughter, whose father was rumored to be Dr. Andrey Bers, who became Tolstoy's father-in-law. Once Turgenev visited Tolstoy at Yasnaya Polyana Estate and demonstrated a can-can to Tolstoy’s children. "Turgevev’s can-can… sad," was Tolstoy's reaction.

During the period of 1853 - 1862 Turgenev wrote some of his finest stories and novellas and the first four of his six novels: “Rudin” (1856), “A Nest of Nobles” (1859), “On the Eve” (1860) and “Fathers and Sons” (1862). The central themes in these works were the beauty of early love, failure to reach one's dreams, and frustrated love, which partly reflected the author's lifelong passion for Pauline.

Turgenev’s masterpiece “Fathers and Sons” deals with nihilist philosophy and personal and social rebellion.

"Whatever a man prays for, he prays for a miracle. Every prayer reduces itself to this: Great God, grant that twice two be not four." (from “Fathers and Sons”)

Hostile reaction to “Fathers and Sons” (1862) prompted Turgenev's decision to leave Russia.

As a consequence he also lost the majority of his readers. The novel examined the conflict between the older generation, reluctant to accept reforms, and the idealistic youth. In the central character, Bazarov, Turgenev drew a classical portrait of the mid-nineteenth-century nihilist  the word was invented by the author.

"A nihilist is a man who does not bow to any authorities, who does not take any principle on trust, no matter with what respect that principle is surrounded." (from “Fathers and Sons”)

Later the temperament of a nihilist found a number of different manifestations: the terrorist, the anarchist, the atheist, the materialist, and the communist. “Fathers and Sons” was set during the six-year period of social ferment, from Russia's defeat in the Crimean War to the Emancipation of the Serfs. The central character is the young medical student and nihilist Evgeny Bazarov, who has been described as the 'first Bolshevik' in Russian literature. "I share no man's opinions; I have my own." These words became central in Turgenev’s life. The figure of Bazarov was conceived on the Isle of Wright, where Turgenev had spent three weeks in 1860.

In “Virgin Soil” Turgenev embodied the 'positive hero' Vasily Solomin. This was a new type of character, who would liberate Russia from her backwardness. At the heart of the book, full of discussions about literature, aesthetic life, emancipation, beauty and patriotic principles, is a love story in which a young woman must choose her way in life…

After “Fathers and Sons” failed, Turgenev lived first in Germany, and then he moved to London, where “Fathers and Sons” had had great success. He settled finally in Paris, where he lived until his death. He became a corresponding member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences in 1860 and a Doctor of Civil Law at Oxford University in 1879.

Among Turgenev's close friends in France was the writer Gustave Flaubert, with whom he shared similar social and aesthetic ideals. They both rejected extremist right and left and stuck to a nonjudgmental, if somewhat pessimistic, depiction of the world. Struggling with his last, unfinished work, Turgenev wrote to Flaubert: "On certain days I feel crushed by this burden. It seems to me that I have no more marrow in my bones, and I carry on like an old post horse, worn out but courageous."

Turgenev's later works include the novellas “A King Lear of the Steppes” (1870) and “Spring Torrents,” which rank with “First Love” (1860) as his finest achievements in the genre. His last published work was a collection of meditations and anecdotes, entitled “Poems in Prose” (1883)."

Портрет И. С. Тургенева (1879) / Portrait of Ivan Turgenev (1879)

Old March 17th, 2016 #22
Alex Him
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Ilya Repin (V)

Портрет А. К. Толстого (1896) / Portrait of Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy (1896)

"Count Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy was a Russian poet, novelist and dramatist. He wrote beautiful ballads, a historical novel and some licentious verse and satires that were published under the pen name of Kozma Prutkov. But Tolstoy’s true contribution to Russian literature was his trilogy of historical dramas.

Aleksey Tolstoy was born on 5 September 1817 in Saint Petersburg to the famed family of Count Tolstoy. His mother, Anna Perovskaya, was one of the reigning beauties of the times and his father was the elderly count and widower Konstantin Tolstoy (the boy was also a half-cousin of one of the most famous and best-recognized Russian writers of the 19th century – Leo Tolstoy). The marriage of Anna and Konstantin was not a happy one. Soon after Aleksey was born his parents separated. When he was just six weeks old he was taken by his mother to Ukraine, to a small village belonging to his uncle Aleksey Perovsky, Anna’s brother. Tolstoy spent his childhood at his uncle’s estate. It was Perovsky who raised the future poet. A writer himself, he encouraged the boy’s passion for verse, reading all the poems the boy wrote in his childhood and youth.

At the age of eight Aleksey, accompanied by his mother and uncle, moved to Saint Petersburg. With the help of his uncle’s friend, Vasily Zhukovsky (the foremost Russian poet of the 1810s), Aleksey was introduced to the eight-year-old heir to the throne (who was to become Emperor Alexander II) and was among the very few children that were allowed to visit the crown prince on Sundays to play together. Thus began a long-lasting friendship. Alexander’s wife, Empress Maria Alexandrovna, also loved Aleksey and esteemed his talent and personality.

In 1826 Aleksey, together with his mother and uncle (his irreplaceable companions) traveled to Germany. One of Aleksey’s most cherished memories of the trip was his visit to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe while in Weimar; Tolstoy even remembered sitting in the great writer’s lap.
From Germany the family went to Italy and the country absolutely charmed Aleksey. He recalled the journey started from Venice, where his uncle purchased several highly valuable paintings at the old Grimani Castle. From Venice the travelers moved to Milan, Florence, Rome and finally to Naples. Each of the cities reinforced Aleksey’s love of art and when he returned to Russia he fell into despair and longing for Italy; his mother remembered her son refused to eat and even sometimes cried at night.

Aleksey received a good education at home and in the mid 1830s became one of the so-called “archival” young men; these young gentlemen continued their studies at the Moscow Main Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In 1836 Aleksey took a four month leave in order to accompany his uncle, who was seriously ill at the time, to Nice where the climate was better; on the way to France, in a small Warsaw hotel Aleksey’s uncle died. He left his estate and fortune to his nephew, making young Aleksey Tolstoy a well-to-do gentleman. Until his last day, his uncle remained young Aleksey’s main adviser in all his literary activities and presented his works before the court of Vasily Zhukovsky and Alexander Pushkin, with whom he was on intimate terms and whom he trusted implicitly; moreover, the two renowned poets praised the works of the up-and-coming author.

In December 1836, while studying at the Archives, Aleksey Tolstoy passed an examination in sciences at the Moscow State University and was given a position with the Russian mission under the jurisdiction of the German Seym in Frankfurt am Main. Tolstoy hated civil service and dreamed of becoming a poet, but he didn’t dare give up his work for fear of upsetting his mother. The job was just a formality and though Aleksey went to Frankfurt once (during this trip he met Nikolay Gogol, a well-known Russian novelist, humorist and dramatist for the first time), he spent most of his time like every other young dandy – going to theatres, hanging out with friends and frequenting various guest-nights.

In 1838 Tolstoy went abroad. At first he lived in Germany and later moved to Italy and then to France. In France he wrote his first short stories (in French) “The Family of the Vourdalak” (1839) and “The Meeting 300 Years Later” (1839). The stories, however, were published only after Tolstoy’s death. Both are examples of mysticism in literature (Tolstoy’s interest in the afterworld and paranormal phenomena increased over time – he was fascinated by table-turning and once even visited spiritual sessions organized by the well-known spiritualist Hume).

In 1839 Tolstoy returned to Russia where he continued to live the high life, flirting with ladies at balls, spending money in grand style and hunting on his estate. Hunting became Tolstoy’s passion – once, at the risk of his life, he went to hunt a bear armed only with a fork; Aleksey was a strong man and was noted for his remarkable physical might – his acquaintances recalled that he could twist silver forks and spoons and was able to curve out horseshoes without turning a hair.

In the 1840s some of Tolstoy’s ballads and poems, loved and much quoted by the public, were set to music by Russian composers (“My Bell-Flowers,” “Burial Mound,” “In the Midst of a Rout Ball” and some others).

1841 was the year of Tolstoy’s literary debut; under the pen name of Krasnogorsky he published the mystic novella “The Vampire,” which was the first ever novella with an “afterworld” theme to be published in Russia. The novella was praised by Belinsky (a Russian literary critic with Western tendencies).

During the 1840s Tolstoy wrote a number of verses and ballads and started writing his only and much admired historical novel “Knyaz Serebrenny” (“Prince Serebrenny”), which was finished only in 1863. But Aleksey did not aim at publishing his works, he wrote mainly for himself.

In 1850 Aleksey and his cousin Aleksey Zhemchuzhnikov took the pen names of “Y” and “Z” and sent a comedy entitled “Fantasy” they had written together to the censorship bureau. The censor made a few minor modifications to the text, but generally liked it and the play received a good send-off.

The premier of the play took place in January 1851 but caused a massive scandal and was officially forbidden. The public failed to understand the originality of the play, the mockery of the absurd dialogues and monologues; Emperor Nikolay I, who attended the premier, left the hall before the play ended.

That same year Tolstoy was conferred the dignity of a gentleman-usher and met his future wife, Sofia Miller. His love for Sofia, which lasted until his last days, inspired Tolstoy and he began to systematically publish his verses, though some of the poems were published under the tried-and-true pen name of Kozma Prutkov.

Kozma Prutkov was invented and brought to life by Aleksey Tolstoy and the Zhemchuzhnikov brothers. Under this convenient pen name the writers published aphorisms, fables, epigrams, satiric, humorous and nonsense verses in the 1850s and 1860s, most notably in the literary magazine "Sovremennik" (“The Contemporary”). The writers even created Prutkov’s biography.

During the Crimean War (1853-1856) Tolstoy joined the army in the capacity of a major, but did not have a chance to take part in military operations; at the very beginning of the war he came down with cesspool fever which nearly killed him. After Tolstoy finally recovered, he participated in the coronation of Alexander II and on Coronation Day was made lieutenant colonel and at the same time an aide-de-camp to the Emperor.

With time soldiery started to press heavily upon Aleksey and he wrested out his retirement (Aleksey even wrote a letter to the Emperor saying that military service and art were absolutely contradictory). After his retirement in 1861 Tolstoy moved to his estate, where he lived permanently (except for his “seasonal” trips to France, Italy and Germany) and where one day he understood he had become a famous Russian poet: his novellas were read during soirees and his verses were quoted by young men and ladies.

In the 1860s Tolstoy became interested in the history of Russia (the Time of Troubles and the days of Ivan the Terrible in particular); this interest resulted in the creation of one of Tolstoy’s most famous works – the historical novel “Knyaz Serebrenny” (or “Prince Serebrenny”). The novel described a momentous period of Russian history - the rise of the centralized regime and the fight with the boyar opposition. It was centered on the character of Ivan the Terrible – the first Russian tsar. In his novel Tolstoy supported the boyars whom he considered far more honest and sincere than the monarch.

Tolstoy also took an interest in Russian history during the period before the Tartar Yoke; he idolized his native country during this epoch and cried content with it in his ballads, verses and folk tales.

In 1862 the dramatic poem “Don Juan” was published and between 1866 and 1870 a historical trilogy followed, which included three tragedies: “The Death of Ivan the Terrible” (1864), “Tsar Fyodor Ioannovich” (1868) and “Tsar Boris” (1870). The trilogy mirrored life in Russia at the end of the 16th and at the beginning of the 17th centuries. The novels depicted three different epochs and portrayed three unalike monarchs: Ivan the Terrible, obsessed with the idea that his power was God-sent; Fyodor Ioannovich, a kind-hearted and quiet regent; and Boris Godunov, a ruler who was at the same time wise and greedy for fame.

Tolstoy not only tried to avoid the many honors and pennies from heaven fate had in store for them, but even argued with those who wished him well. Aleksey could boast of a facile nature and kindness. Tolstoy’s friends remember him as sarcastic and ironic, though he never offended his acquaintances and family members.

In the closing stages of his life Tolstoy was seriously ill; suffering from raging headaches he started to give himself morphine injections that eased the pain a little. The excessive use of morphine soon led to addiction. Because of the illness Tolstoy spent much time abroad: in summer he lived at different resorts and in winter he moved to Italy or to the south of France. On 10 October 1875 Aleksey Tolstoy died aged 58 on his estate; the cause of his death was morphine overdose."

Written by Anna Yudina -

Портрет писателя А. Ф. Писемского (1880) / Portrait of the writer Aleksey Pisemsky (1880)

"Aleksey Feofilaktovich Pisemsky (1821-1881) - (Russian: Алексе́й Феофила́ктович Пи́семский) was a Russian novelist and dramatist who was regarded as an equal of Ivan Turgenev and Fyodor Dostoyevsky in the late 1850s, but whose reputation suffered a spectacular decline after his fall-out with Sovremennik magazine in the early 1860s. A realistic playwright, along with Aleksandr Ostrovsky he was responsible for the first dramatization of ordinary people in the history of Russian theatre. "Pisemsky's great narrative gift and exceptionally strong grip on reality make him one of the best Russian novelists," according to D.S. Mirsky.

Pisemsky's first novel Boyarschina (1847, published 1858) was originally forbidden for its unflattering description of the Russian nobility. His principal novels are The Simpleton (1850), One Thousand Souls (1858), which is considered his best work of the kind, and Troubled Seas, which gives a picture of the excited state of Russian society around the year 1862. He also wrote plays, including A Bitter Fate (also translated as "A Hard Lot"), which depicts the dark side of the Russian peasantry. The play has been called the first Russian realistic tragedy; it won the Uvarov Prize of the Russian Academy."

Text by Wikipedia.

Портрет писателя Л. Н. Андреева (1904) / Portrait of the writer Leonid Andreev (1904)

"Leonid Andreev was a Russian playwright and short story writer. Considered the first and leading expressionist in Russian literature, Andreev was also one of the most prominent representatives of the so-called Silver Age.
Leonid Nikolaevich Andreev was born in Oryol. His father was the son of the head of the local nobility and his mother a serf girl from the family of a bankrupt Polish landowner. His father worked as a land-surveyor. The family struggled with poverty but shortly before Leonid was born his father had attained a position in a bank and had bought a house. Leonid’s father was famous for his exceptional physical force as well as his strong sense of justice and straightforward character that never failed him even in his most notorious drunken fights and pranks. Later Leonid explained that his own difficult character and inclination to drinking was hereditary. His mother was a simple woman with no education and her greatest merit was her endless and unconditional love for her children. She often told them stories. She was a talented storyteller and it was difficult to discern between what was real and what was made up.

Leonid Andreev remembers his childhood as happy and carefree. At the age of six he learned to read and gobbled up every book he came across. In
1882-1891 he attended the Oryol Gymnasium but was a poor student both in grades and attendance. He discovered his writing talent through cheating: he copied his classmates’ homework in math and paid them back by doing essays for them in different styles. He quite enjoyed writing “in Chekhov’s manner” or “in Tolstoy’s manner,” copying the characteristics of the great authors’ texts. In school, though, he never thought of literature as a career, wanting instead to become an artist. Oryol had no painting school and a fruitless search for a tutor left Andreev with only a few amateur attempts at drawing. Later, after he had already become a famous writer, he often said how unhappy he was that his artistic talent was never developed, even though it made him take up writing in alternative.

He read incessantly. One of his favorite authors was Arthur Schopenhauer and one of his greatest literary influences was “The World as Will and Representation.” Obsessed by the philosophical questions of life and death, at the age of 16 he even tried to test “fate” by laying on the railroad tracks. This time “fate” was benevolent – the train had a high-set heater and ran above Leonid without as much as touching him.

For Leonid high school was a time of endless love affairs. He fell in love often and with a fierce force. “As some need words, as others need labor or fight, I need love,” he wrote in his diary.

Upon graduation he entered the law department at the St. Petersburg University. By this time his family’s financial situation had drastically worsened. His father died and the family suffered periods of extreme poverty and hunger. This is reflected in his first short story “In Hunger and Gold” about a starving student. In 1893 Andreev was expelled from the university for his inability to pay his tuition fees. He moved to the law faculty of the Moscow University, where he had support from friends. According to the university rules, he was not to enter any societies, secret or not.

In the summer of 1894 Leonid spent his holidays in his hometown and lived through the longest and hardest love drama of his life. “22 July 1894 is my second birthday,” he wrote in his diary. But the girl he fell in love with rejected him – and he attempted suicide. He tried to shoot himself, but the only result of this attempt was heart disease and a confession in church.

The following year his family, including five younger siblings, moved to Moscow where they continued to live in poverty in cheap rented apartments – most of the buildings where they resided can still be found in the city today. While still a student Andreev gave private lessons, worked for “The Russian Word” newspaper producing notes on the opening hours of museums and the like and showed no interest in politics. He was a member of the Oryol Friends Association (then targeted by police as a possible secret society), which laughed at the new “reformists” and their Marxist ideals. The meetings of people from the Oryol area are described in Andreev’s stories “Gaudeamus” and “The Days Of Our Lives.”

Andreev spent every spare minute reading, devouring hundreds of philosophy books, spending entire nights pouring over the works of Nietzsche and taking his death in 1900 as a personal loss. Andreev had difficulty getting his writings published so he took to painting portraits made to order at 3-5 roubles a piece. After he mastered his technique, he could even get 10 or 12 roubles per painting.

In 1897 – to his surprise – he passed his graduation exams at the university with high grades, earning a second-degree diploma allowing him to start a lawyer’s practice. Soon he was an assistant to a prominent lawyer and worked in the courts until 1902, taking his job very seriously.

One day a man he knew from the law practice offered him a job as a court reporter for the “Moscow Herald” magazine. A few days later Leonid Andreev brought his first article to the editor and amazed the man with the high quality of his writing. He now worked two jobs defending people in court and then writing anonymously about it. He was recognized as a talented reporter and in a few months received an offer to write for the new Moscow newspaper “Courier.” Soon he was also publishing satirical articles and short stories signing them as “James Lynch” or “L.-ev.” Later, when he became a famous author, some magazines and newspapers reprinted his old stories just to have the fashionable writer’s work on their pages.

In 1898 Andreev was asked to write a special feature for the Easter edition of a magazine – which he did, producing his masterpiece “Bergamot and Garaska.” It was a life-changing moment as the story was noticed by Maxim Gorky. The two writers became friends and soon Andreev joined the circle of Bunin, Teleshov and Chaliapin. Gorky helped Andreev get his works published by “Znanie” – a publishing house founded by the union of young writers to promote modern literature.

In 1901 Leonid Andreev received public acclaim and critical admiration for his short story “Once Upon a Time.” Later in the year his first collection of short stories was published. It was paid for by Maxim Gorky and included “Lie,” “Silence,” “Little Angel” and others.

In February 1902 in the church of St. Nicholas on Arbat Street in Moscow he married Anna Veligorskaya. Together they started a tradition of “literary Mondays,” inviting the best authors of the time to recite the most outstanding works of the early 20th century. Andreev was once taken to court for his public reading the rebellious poem “Oh No, I’m Not With You” by Stepan Skitalets.

In 1902 Leonid Andreev became a literary editor for “Courier.” In this role, he was bold enough to publish the works of Serafimovich, Remizov, Zaitsev and Chulkov. His own works enjoyed immense popularity and his books sold by the tens of thousands. Critics took the young writer seriously, praising his talent and his very pronounced literary style.

In 1905, on the anniversary of his wedding, Leonid Andreev was taken to Taganskaya Prison (single cell number 129) for fostering a secret meeting of the leaders of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers’ Party. He was released on bail within two weeks, but from then on was kept under close attention by the police. That same year Andreev wrote his story “The Governor” reflecting the assassination of the Moscow Governor-General. Still later in the year he moved to St. Petersburg and then to Germany, where his wife gave birth to their son Daniil. She died soon afterwards.

By 1905 Andreev had produced many of his most famous stories: “Laughter,” “The Wall,” “The Abyss,” “The Idea” and “In the Fog.” His novel “Red Laughter,” written during the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905, reflected his deep revolt against the cruelty of war. After 1905 he became better know as a playwright, with his first stage play “To The Stars” published that year. From then until 1917 he published at least one play a year.

In 1908 he moved to his own house in the Finnish village of Vammelsu and visited Moscow only when his plays were staged. “The Life Of Man” was staged by the two giants of Russian theater - Stanislavsky in Moscow and Meyerhold in St. Petersburg. In 1909 he saw “The Days Of Our Lives” and the tragedy “Anathema” staged. “He Who Gets Slapped” followed, also to great success.

In 1913 Leonid Andreev contributed some of his paintings to an exhibit of independent artists in St. Petersburg and was praised for his talent in this area by Ilya Repin and Nicholas Roerich.

The idea of the Bolshevik Revolution did not appeal to the writer. After the power takeover, Finland received independence and Andreev found himself an immigrant. The events that followed the revolution revolted him and inspired to begin writing “The Diary of Satan” about the revolutionaries, but the work was never completed. In 1919 Andreev died from a heart attack."

Портрет Л. Н. Андреева (1905) / Portrait of Leonid Andreev (1905)

Портрет писателя Л. Н. Андреева на яхте (1912) / Portrait of the writer Leonid Nikolayevich Andreyev on a yacht (1912)

Портрет писателя В. Г. Короленко (1912) / Portrait of the writer Vladimir Korolenko (1912)

"Vladimir Galaktionovich Korolenko (1853-1921) - (Russian: Влади́мир Галактио́нович Короле́нко) was a Russian and Ukrainian short story writer, journalist, human rights activist and humanitarian. His short stories were known for their harsh description of nature based on his experience of exile in Siberia. Korolenko was a strong critic of the Tsarist regime and in his final years of the Bolsheviks.

The following is a list of Korolenko's most notable writings:

Son Makara (1885) translated as Makar's Dream (1891);
Slepoi Muzykant (1886) translated as The Blind Musician (1896–1898);
V durnom obshchestve (1885) translated as In Bad Company (1916);
Les Shumit translated as The Murmuring Forest (1916);
Reka igraet (1892) The River Sparkles;
Za Ikonoi After the Icon
Bez Yazyka (1895) or Without Language;
Mgnovenie (1900) or Blink of an Eye;
Siberian Tales 1901;
Istoria moego sovremmenika or The History of My Contemporary an autobiography (1905–1921)"

Text by Wikipedia.

Портрет М. Горького (1899) / Portrait of Maxim Gorky (1899)

"Maxim Gorky (born Aleksey Maksimovich Peshkov) was a Russian and Soviet writer, playwright, poet and publicist.

He was born in Nizhniy Novgorod into the family of a cabinet-maker (although some sources suggest his father was the director of the Astrakhan steamship line). His father died of cholera in summer 1871. His mother blamed little Gorky for involuntarily causing his father’s death, as the man caught cholera while taking care of the sick boy. For this reason his mother gave him to the family of her father, who owned a dye-house. When he was six, Gorky learned to read and write in Old Church Slavonic. Three years later, he began his education at the Nizhniy Novgorod Kunavinskoe College.

In 1879 Gorky’s mother died of rapid lung tuberculosis. Ensuing family conflicts resulted in his grandfather’s impoverishment and insanity. The lack of money forced Gorky to abandon his education to seek for his fortune. He spent five years working first as a shoemaker’s apprentice, then an apprentice in a graphic workshop, then in an icon painting shop. He eventually became a kitchen hand on a steamship traveling along the Volga River. Years later, Gorky remembered the steamship’s cook, Smury (the nickname translates as Gloomy), who was only semiliterate, but gathered books nonetheless. Thanks to him, young Gorky got to know various works of world literature and was able to self educate himself.

In 1884 Gorky moved to Kazan, dreaming of entering university. That didn’t come to happen because of lack of money. Instead he enrolled in the “revolutionary underground school.” He attended gymnasium and university populist clubs, reading the relevant literature and fighting with police. At the same time he earned his living doing menial work. In December 1887 a series of misfortunes led him to a suicide attempt. After that, Gorky traveled around Russia in search of a job and experience. He traveled to the Volga Region, the Don, Ukraine, Crimea, South Bessarabia (now part of Moldova) and the Caucasus. He worked as a laborer in a village, a dishwasher, a railroad guard and a worker at a fishery, a salt-works and a repair workshop. At the same time he managed to get acquainted with people from arts circles, take part in clashes with police and earn an overall reputation as an “untrustworthy” individual. In his travels, he collected prototypes for his future characters, which can be seen in his early works, where the characters were people from the “bottom” echelons of society.

In September 1892 the Tbilisi newspaper “The Caucasus” (“Kavkaz”) first printed Gorky’s short story “Makar Chudra.” Gorky’s establishment as a writer was influenced by the Russian-Ukrainian writer Vladimir Korolenko, who introduced Gorky to publishing houses and corrected his manuscripts. In 1893 through 1895 Gorky’s short stories were often published in the Volga Region papers. In those years he wrote “Chelkash,” “Vengeance” (“Mest”), “Old Woman Izergil” (“Starukha Izergil”), “Emelyan Pilyay,” “Conclusion” (“Vyvod”) and “The Song of a Falcon” (“Pesnya o Sokole”). He signed his works with pseudonyms, of which he had around 30. The most famous were “A.P.,” “M.G.,” “A-a!” “One of the Perplexed,” “Iegudiil Khlamida” and “Taras Oparin.”

In 1895 Korolenko helped him get employment with the “Samara Newspaper” (“Samarskaya gazeta”), where he wrote daily articles for the gossip column “By the Way” (“Mezhdu prochim”), signing them as Iegudiil Khlamida. While at the paper he met Ekaterina Volzhina, an editor, whom he married a year later.

Another year later Gorky started working in his hometown, at the “Nizhniy Novgorod Leaflet” (“Nizhegorodskiy listok”) newspaper. In 1897 he suffered from aggravated tuberculosis and moved to the Crimea together with his wife. Later they moved to the village of Maksatikha in Ukraine’s Poltava Region. That same year, his son Maksim was born. At the beginning of 1898 Gorky returned to Nizhniy Novgorod, where he worked on compiling a collection of his works. His first two-volume collection “Sketches and Short Stories” (“Ocherki i rasskazy”) was published. The collection was praised by critics as a phenomenon of Russian and European literature. A year later, it was republished in three volumes. Gorky was rapidly becoming one of the leading literary figures in Russia.

In April 1901 Gorky was detained in Nizhniy Novgorod for having taken part in student unrest in St. Petersburg. He remained in detention for a month, after which he was put under house arrest, and later expelled to Arzamas (in the Nizhniy Novgorod Region). That same year the magazine “Life” (“Zhizn”) published “The Song of the Stormy Petrel” (“Pesnya o burevestnike”), which triggered the magazine’s shut down by authorities. A year later the Moscow Art Theater staged the plays “The Lower Depth” (“Na dne”) and “The Philistines” (“Meshchane”). “The Lower Depths” premiered triumphantly. Gorky was elected an honorary academic of polite literature. However, under Emperor Nikolay II’s order, the result of the election was annulled. In 1903 Gorky wrote the poem “Human” (“Chelovek”), which he later named his “creed.” That same year Gorky broke up with his wife. In 1900 he had met the Moscow Art Theater actress Maria Andreeva, who became his common-law wife in 1904.

In 1905 Gorky was an active participant in the revolution. He was a close associate of the social-democrats but at the same time, on the eve of “Bloody Sunday” (a key moment in Russia’s history, which served as a trigger for the 1905 Revolution) he visited Sergey Witte, the author of the October Manifesto of 1905, and together with a group of intellectuals he tried to prevent the tragedy. After the revolution Gorky was arrested on charges of preparing a coup d'état, but both Russian and European cultural figures rose up to defend the writer. He was released and at the beginning of the following year, emigrated from Russia. He went to America to collect funds to support the Russian Revolution.

In 1907 his novel “Mother” (“Mat’”) was published in America. From late 1906 through 1913 Gorky lived on the Italian island of Capri. There, he wrote the plays “The Last” (“Poslednie”) and “Vassa Zheleznova,” the novellas “Summer” (“Leto”) and “The Okurov Town” (“Gorodok Okurov”) and the novel “The Life of Matvey Kozhenyakin” (“Zhizn Matveya Kozhemyakina”). Starting from 1908 Gorky corresponded with Lenin, arguing with him over their differing views. For example, Gorky believed that revolution should be connected with education and humanism, which set him against the Bolsheviks.

In 1913 Gorky returned to Russia. That same year he wrote “My Childhood” (“Detstvo”), and two years later, he wrote the novel “In the World” (“V lyudyakh”). He also started to publish the magazine “The Chronicle” (“Letopis”). After the 1917 Revolution his position became ambiguous: on the one hand, he was supportive of the new authorities, but on the other hand, he kept to his own beliefs, thinking that mass culture is more important than class struggle. At the same time, he started working at the “World Literature” (“Vsemirnaya literatura”) publishing house, founding the newspaper “New Life” (“Novaya Zhizn”). Gorky’s relations with the authorities gradually aggravated. In 1921 he left Russia, officially going to Germany for medical treatment, but in fact escaping Bolshevik retribution.

He lived in Germany and Czechoslovakia until 1924. During this time he actively wrote articles for German magazines (“The Acknowledgement of a Poet and the Russian Literature of Our Time,” “The Russian Cruelty,” “The Intellectuals and the Revolution”). All the articles show his rejection of what had happened in Russia. Gorky actively strived to unify Russian artists working abroad.

In the mid-1920s Gorky moved to Sorrento, Italy, where he started work on the novel “The Life of Klim Samgin” (“Zhizn Klima Samgina”). The novel was never finished. In 1928 he journeyed to the USSR and spent the summer traveling around the country. His impressions on the trip were published in the book “Around the Union of Soviets” (“Po Soyuzu Sovetov”).

Three years later Gorky moved to Moscow. Having seen the results of Bolshevik rule while traveling, he set as his goal the promotion of the new “cultural construction” of the country. He initiated the creation of literary magazines and publishing houses. Later he organized and chaired the first all-Soviet meeting of Soviet writers. In May 1934 Gorky’s son was killed. Some suspected the NKVD (the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs) was responsible for the killing. Two years later Gorky died himself."

Written by Aleksandr Bondarenko -

Портрет писателя И. И. Ясинского (1910) / Portrait of the writer Ieronim Yasinsky (1910)

Ieronim Ieronimovich Yasinsky (1850-1931) - (Russian: Иерони́м Иерони́мович Яси́нский; April 18 (30), 1850 - December 31, 1931) was a Russian novelist, poet, literary critic and essayist.

Selected works:
Natashka (1881)
The Sleeping Beauty (1883)
The Kiev Stories (1885)
Irinarkh Plutarkhov (1886)
The Old Friend (1887)
The Great Man (1888)
Under Satan's Cloak (1909)
The Novel of My Life (1926)"

Text by Wikipedia.

Портрет писательницы Т. Л. Щепкиной-Куперник (1914) / Portrait of the writer T. L. Shchepkina-Kupernik (1914)

"Tatiana Lvovna Shchepkina-Kupernik (1874-1952) - (Russian: Татья́на Льво́вна Ще́пкина-Купе́рник) was a Russian and Soviet writer, dramatist, poet and translator."

Text by Wikipedia.

Портрет писателя В. М. Гаршина. Этюд (1883) / Portrait of the writer Vsevolod Mikhailovich Garshin. Etude (1883)

Vsevolod Mikhailovich Garshin (1855-1888) - (Russian: Все́волод Миха́йлович Гáршин) was a Russian author of short stories.

Garshin was the son of an officer. He attended secondary school and then the Saint Petersburg Mining Institute. He volunteered to serve in the army at the start of the Russo-Turkish War in 1877. He participated in the Balkans Campaign as a private, and was wounded in action. He was promoted to the rank of an officer at the end of the war. He resigned his commission soon after in order to devote his time to literary efforts. He had previously published a number of articles in newspapers, mostly reviews of art exhibitions.

His experiences as a soldier provide the basis for his first stories, including the very first, "Four Days" (Russian: "Четыре дня"), based on a real incident. The narrative is organized as the interior monologue of a wounded soldier left for dead on the battlefield for four days, face to face with the corpse of a Turkish soldier he had killed. Garshin's empathy for all beings is already evident in this first story.

Despite early literary success, he had periodical bouts of mental illness. At the age of 33, Garshin undertook an attempt to commit suicide by jumping from the fifth floor of his apartment building and died in torment five days later at a Red Cross hospital.

Garshin's work is not voluminous: it consists of some twenty stories, all of them included in a single volume. His stories are characterized by a spirit of compassion and pity that some have compared to Dostoevsky's.

In A Very Short Novel he examines the infidelity of a woman to a crippled hero. The story displays Garshin's talent for concentration and lyrical irony. That Which Was Not and Attalea Princeps are fables with animals and plants in human situations. The second of these stories has a sense of tragic irony. In Officer and Servant he is a forerunner of Chekhov; it is an excellently constructed story conveying an atmosphere of drab gloom and meaningless boredom. From the Reminiscences of Private Ivanov — the title story in the most recent English language collection of Garshin's work — has the same Russo-Turkish War setting of Four Days, and includes as minor players the characters from Officer and Servant.

His best-known and most characteristic story is The Red Flower; it fits in the series of lunatic-asylum stories in Russian literature (including Gogol's Diary of a Madman (1835), Leskov's Hare Remise (1894) and Chekhov's Ward No. 6 (1892))."

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Old March 18th, 2016 #23
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Академический сторож Ефимов (1870) / Academic keeper Efimov (1870)

Протодиакон (1877) / An archdeacon (1877)

Портрет неизвестной / Portrait of an Unknown Woman

Дезертир (1917) / Deserter (1917)

Негритянка (1876) / Negress (1876)

Портрет жительницы Чугуева С. Л. Любицкой (1877) / Portrait of Chuguev resident S. L. Lyubitskaya (1877)

"Chuhuiv (Ukrainian: Чугуїв) or Chuguev (Russian: Чугуев) is a Ukrainian city in the province of Kharkiv. The city is the administrative center of the Chuhuivskyi district. The estimated population is 36 438.

Chuhuiv's most notable contribution to the Ukrainian civilian economy and the country's sustenance is the notable food industry in the city, which particularly focuses on producing mayonnaise along with other staple supporting condiments.

The City's founding date is disputed with historical assertions ranging from 1540 to 1627. Some academics purport the city was built upon the orders Russia's first Tsar Ivan the Terrible who reigned from 1547 to 1584.

A military fort was built adjacent to the city in 1638 by order of Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich. This military presence near Chuhuiv has continued throughout history.

During the government of the Soviet Union the base became an important military training center. The base has been home to the Soviet Air Force Pilot Academy and the Red Army's Artillery School. Presently there is a Ukrainian Air Force adjacent to the town."

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Нищая девочка-рыбачка. Вёль. (1874) / Beggar girl fisherwoman. Vel. (1874)

"The Vel (Russian: Вель) is a river in Konoshsky and Velsky Districts of Arkhangelsk Oblast in Russia. It is a left tributary of the Vaga River. It is 223 kilometres (139 mi) long, and the area of its basin 5,390 square kilometres (2,080 sq mi)."

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Мужичок из робких (1877) / A Shy Peasant (1877)

Еврей на молитве (1875) / Jew praying (1875)

Продавец ученических работ в Академии художеств (1870) / Seller of student works at the Academy of Arts (1870)

Old March 19th, 2016 #24
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Портрет художника В. И. Сурикова (1877) / Portrait of the Artist Vasily Surikov (1877)

"Vasily Ivanovich Surikov is considered Russia's greatest historical painter. He executed only nine historical canvases out of hundreds of portraits, studies, and sketches - but what canvases! He was a master of monumental historical compositions, depicting national tragedies and powerful human characters.

In his canvases Surikov dealt with many dramatic episodes of Russian history such as the reformation of the church in the mid 17th century and Peter the Great's reforms of the 18th century. In Surikov's own time, the late 19th century, there were numerous flashbacks to those events in Russia. The Wanderers, a group of Russian realist artists to which Surikov belonged, were greatly influenced by the ideas of revolutionary democrats; they believed that art had a social-educational mission. They organized exhibitions all over Russia bringing art to the common people. The association united many of the best artists of the time. It was most active during the 1870s and 80s. Moscow merchant Pavel Tretyakov, the founder of the first museum of Russian art, was the main collector and promoter of the Wanderers’ works, guided in his activity by the ideal of serving the people.

The Russian people were the main characters of Surikov’s works and courage and daring were the artist's principal subject matters. In his paintings, Surikov always focused on fine portraiture. His female images are particularly elaborate and masterful.

Born in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, Surikov was of Cossack descent. His ancestors once built this city and participated in Cossack uprisings in Siberia and on the River Don in southern Russia. Surikov’s father's family came to Siberia from the Don area with Yermak, the Cossacks’ ataman (commander) in the Urals. His mother came from the old Cossack family Torgoshin and it was from these roots that the artist inherited his proud and freedom-loving character. Pyotr and Ilya Surikov and Vasily Torgoshin are mentioned among those who took part in the Krasnoyarsk uprising of 1695-98. Surikov was proud of his origins and wrote: “I am a Cossack through and through, with a pedigree going back over two hundred years.”

His parents were also in a broader sense artistically gifted. His father, a passionate lover of music, played guitar excellently and was considered the best amateur singer in Krasnoyarsk. His mother had wonderful inherent artistic taste. The source of Surikov's conception of beauty was Siberia, with all its severity, its sometimes cruel customs, its courageous people and “old Russian” beauty. “Siberia, brought me up from childhood with the ideals of historical types,” Surikov wrote.

Surikov made his first attempts at drawing in early childhood: “I was six, I remember, I drew Peter the Great from an engraving. The colors I did myself: blue for the uniform and crimson for the lapels.”

The first person to notice the boy's abilities was Grebnev, the drawing teacher at the Krasnoyarsk district school, which Surikov finished in 1861 with a certificate of merit. Grebnev gave Surikov the task of copying etchings from the old masters. Surikov later spoke with gratitude of his first tutor: “Grebnev nearly wept over me, teaching me to draw.” Appreciating Vasily's exceptional talent, his drawing teacher supported the young man's desire to become a professional painter.

In order to support the family after his father's death in 1859, Surikov worked as an office clerk. Sometimes, as he recalled later, he even had to “paint Easter eggs for three rubles per hundred” and once he took a commission to paint an icon entitled “The Holy Virgin's Feasts.” Surikov's drawings attracted the attention of the governor of Krasnoyarsk, Zamyatin, who put in a word for him at the Council of the Academy of Arts. The response from St. Petersburg was positive, but with the reservation that he would not be provided a scholarship. The rich gold-mine owner Kuznetsov, an art lover and collector, came to Surikov's aid and offered to pay for his studies and upkeep.

In the middle of December 1868, the young artist set off on a two-month journey to the capital with a string of carts transporting Kuznetsov's merchandise. Surikov proved to be insufficiently prepared for the Academy examinations. He entered the school of the Society for the Advancement of the Arts and in the three summer months mastered a three-year course. A straight-A student, Surikov didn't care much about big-city nightlife. He set his sights firmly on the portrayal of Russian history, working day and night to master that very challenging profession. On 28 August 1869 he passed the Academy's entrance examinations and was accepted as an external student. By the following autumn he was already at work on his first independent painting: “View of the Monument to Peter the Great on Senate Square in St. Petersburg” (1870). Surikov made great progress at the Academy, extracting the maximum benefit from his lessons. His achievements were particularly impressive in composition - so much so that his colleagues called him “the composer.”

The development of his natural gifts was owed much to Pavel Chistyakov, who trained many masters of Russian art. At the Academy Surikov successfully executed a series of compositions on classical themes and also a depiction of early Russian history, “A Prince's Judgment” (1874).

In April 1875 the artist participated in a competition for a gold medal with “The Apostle Paul Expounding the Dogma of Christianity to Herod, Agrippa, His Sister Bernice and the Roman Proconsul Festus.” Compositionally, the work did not venture beyond academic canons, but it did already show the artist's interest in his characters' psychologies. However, it did not earn him a medal.

Graduating from the Academy with honors in 1875, Surikov was allowed the privilege of a two-year trip abroad, paid for by the state. He refused, asking instead to be allowed to paint the murals for Christ the Savior's Cathedral in Moscow, a commission that made him a wealthy man. Surikov did the preparatory work for this in St. Petersburg and only added the final touches in Moscow. It was the only commission he ever took throughout life.

In 1877 Surikov settled in Moscow. From June 1877 the artist lived permanently in Moscow, spending two years doing frescos depicting the four ecumenical councils. In 1878 the artist married Elizaveta Share. His happy family life and relative material security allowed him to paint scenes from Russian history.

“Arriving in Moscow, I found myself in the center of the life of the Russian people and immediately found my bearings,” he subsequently recalled. And paint he did, churning out a raft of masterpieces such as “The Morning of the Streltsty's Execution,” “Menshikov in Beryozovo” and “The Boyarynya Morozova.”

“The Morning of the Streltsy's Execution” (1878-81) is truly staggering. Not for its depiction of the horrors of death, but for the power of its characters and its portrayal of the tragic nature of one of the most crucial periods of Russian history. The subject of the picture comes from the Petrine Age and reflects one of the episodes in the struggle for the throne between Peter the Great and his sister Sophia, the outcome of which was the defeat of Sophia and the Streltsy (members of Ivan the Terrible's elite corps) who supported her. It seems strangely appropriate that this canvas was first exhibited in St. Petersburg on 1 March 1881, the very day of Tsar Alexander II's assassination. This canvas shows, of course, not the execution itself, but the scene leading up to it. Not only are the Streltsy leaving their loved ones, but the whole of old Russia is departing. Surikov's compositions are designed to bring the spectator into the painted space, which is evident both in “Streltsy” and “Boyarynya Morozova.”

“It was not the execution I wanted to convey, but the solemnity of the last minutes,” wrote Surikov about the painting, which was soon bought by Tretyakov.

The first study for “Boyarynya Morozova” appeared in 1881. Surikov began work on the picture itself three years later, having meanwhile painted “Menshikov in Beryozovo” and made a trip abroad. Here the artist chose as his heroine Feodosiya Morozova.

The painting was first shown at the Fifteenth Peredvizhniki (Wanderers) Exhibition and was showered with the highest praise.

Then, all of a sudden, in 1888 the artist suffered a grave shock - his wife died. Devastated by the tragic loss of the woman he loved, Surikov stopped working. As his good friend Mikhail Nesterov later recalled, “...after a torturous night he would get up in the wee hours and head to a morning prayer. There, in the quiet of the old church, he prayed ecstatically for his deceased wife, hitting his burning forehead against the cool plates of the stone floor. Then, rain or shine, he would go straight to the Vagankovo cemetery weeping tears on his beloved's grave, calling out to her and praying desperately to no end...”

A testament to Surikov's state at that time was the painting “The Healing of a Man Blind From Birth” which was first seen at a Peredvizhniki (Wanderers) Exhibition in 1893.

Heeding the advice of his relatives, Surikov and his daughters went to Siberia, to Krasnoyarsk. “In Siberia the people are different than in Russia: free, courageous… Mountains formed wholly from jewels… Yenisei pure, cold, fast… Siberia gave me the ideals of historical characters, spirit, strength and health. I do not understand the actions of the separate historical persons without the people, without the crowd,” Surikov wrote.

“The Taking of a Snow-Built Fortress” (1891), the artist’s most joyous masterpiece, which appeared after three historical canvases, shows his great love of life, which helped him overcome grief and adversity. The heroes of his works are also endowed with this same love of life.

In 1891 Surikov returned to Moscow and began to work on a new canvas, “Conquest of Siberia by Yermak” (1895). The army is led by the legendary Yermak, whose figure is at once singled out and indivisible from the Cossacks. His exploration of Siberia marked the beginning of Russian expansion into the region and its colonization. In 1558, the Stroganov merchant family received their first patent for colonizing “the abundant region along the Kama River” and in 1574 lands over the Ural Mountains along the rivers Tura and Tobol. They also received permission to build forts along the Ob and Irtysh rivers. Around 1577, the Stroganovs hired Yermak to protect their lands from the Siberian Khan Kuchum. In 1582 Yermak attacked the Siberia Khanate, finally defeating Kuchum's forces.

In the painting the distinguishing feature of the Cossack force is its unity, its oneness. In contrast, the army of Kuchum, seized by panic, appears disconnected.

The work was presented during the 23rd Peredvizhniki (Wanderers) Exhibition, which was also visited by Tsar Nikolay II, who bought the masterpiece.

“Suvorov Crossing the Alps” (1899) further developed the theme of the military heroism of the Russian people, which was introduced in “Conquest of Siberia by Yermak.” Surikov began working on it in 1895 and in 1898 he made etudes for it at the site of the historic crossing in Switzerland.

Surikov spent several years working on his last large-scale work “Stepan Razin” (1907-10). Stepan Razin was a Cossack ataman, leader of a major uprising against the nobility and the Tsar's bureaucracy in southern Russia. This painting caused Surikov some trouble and he returned to it even after it had been shown in public. In 1909 the artist wrote in a letter: “As far as Razin is concerned, I am still working on it, emphasizing the characterization of Razin. I went back home to Siberia and there I found the realization of my dream of him.” Evidently Surikov's aim was to convey the inner state of this strong, rebellious character, and this fact is brought out by his words to the artist Minchenkov: “Today I painted Stepan's forehea;: he's got much more pensiveness about him now, hasn't he?”

The last historical figure to be painted by Surikov was Pugachev. A study dating from 1911 shows the leader of the eighteenth-century peasant uprising locked up in a cage.

Surikov died on 19 March 1916 and was buried beside his wife in the Vagankovo Cemetery in Moscow."

Портрет художника Н. Н. Ге (1880) / Portrait of the Artist Nikolay Gay (1880)

"Nikolay Ghe (Gay) was an Itinerant artist. He dreamed of creating a common artistic image of his homeland in his painting. He believed that his art would give people happiness and hope. The Itinerant artists were from all walks of life and of all ages. Some were peasants, and some, like Ghe, were of the nobility, but all were united by a single goal - to depict life in Russia as it really was; the love of the Russian people for their country and its nature was deified.

The great Russian art critic Vladimir Stasov defined the Itinerants as follows: “The artists striving to unite, to set up their own society, were not doing it for the purpose of creating beautiful paintings and statues for the sole purpose of earning money. They were striving to create something for the minds and feelings of the people.”

The Itinerants held sway over Russian art until the first decade of the 20th century. They will always be among the best of what Russian art has to offer, Nikolay Ghe being one of their greatest representatives.

Nikolay Nikolaevich Ghe was born in the town of Voronezh, in the year of the cholera epidemic. His mother died just three months after his birth. The future artist spent his childhood in Ukraine on the estate of his father, the grandson of a French émigré, Gai, who had moved from France to Russia at the end of the 18th century during the Great French Revolution.

Nikolay was brought up by his nurse. Memories of his childhood and the hard life of the serfs sunk deeply into the artist's mind. All his life Ghe would remember the brutality of some and the pain and suffering of others. His nanny taught him compassion for the humiliated and insulted. She was his teacher of justice and life and endowed him with sensitivity to the grief of others.

As a schoolboy Ghe loved to draw and do watercolors with his drawing teacher; even back then it was obvious he was destined to become an artist. But Ghe did not believe in his talent and at his father’s recommendation entered the mathematics department of the Kiev University. In 1848 he entered the Petersburg University. In Petersburg over the course of two years (1848-1849) Ghe combined his studies at the university with visits to the Hermitage museum and long hours spent drawing at the Academy of Arts. The fact that Ghe joined the Academy of Arts in 1850 did not surprise anyone. At the Academy Ghe closely studied the works of Karl Bryullov and tried to create something similar. Bryullov’s influence can be traced in Ghe’s student works, such as “Leila and Khadji-Abrek” (1852), “The Judgment of King Solomon” (1854) and “Achilles Lamenting the Death of Patroclus” (1855). All his works, though rather romantic, are fulfilled in accordance with the demanding principles of classicism adopted at the Academy. Ghe studied in the class of professor Pyotr Basin, a painter of historical themes and portraits. Having mastered academic painting, Ghe was awarded a Major Gold Medal for his painting “Saul and the Witch of Endor” in 1856. It earned him a scholarship to travel abroad at the expense of the Academy. Ghe literally fled Imperial Russia.

Meanwhile he fell deeply in love with Anna Zabello (the daughter of a famous architect). They were married on 28 October 1856 and lived together happily for 35 years. “In his beloved wife, though she was far from being a beauty, he saw and painted Magdalena…” Grigory Myasoedov, a famous Russian painter, pointed out.

After visiting Germany, Switzerland and France, he settled for six years in Italy from 1857 to 1863.

Ghe was one of the founders of the “Society of Traveling Art Exhibitions” that raised cardinal moral problems of the day by interpreting biblical subjects in a new way. In the 1870-80s historical painting for the first time seemed to reveal all the answers to the relevant questions addressed by the past. Popular revolts, acts of terrorism, execution, heroic deeds, sacrifice, suffering, betrayal, faithfulness to ideas and treachery are the concepts dominating the Society’s works of art. Some artists approached these problems via religious subjects, very familiar and clear to the Russian people. Nikolay Ghe, was one of them. Upon his return to Russia Ghe exhibited the painting “The Last Supper,” which shocked Russia just as “The Last Day of Pompeii” by Karl Bryullov had once shocked the nation. Ghe put aside the canons of classicism, but his success was so great (Emperor Alexander II bought the painting) that the Academy of Arts had to award the artist the title of professor.

The painting “The Last Supper” lacked mystery and sacred meaning. Like-minded people had become enemies. Judas, who thought of the salvation of his people, did not grasp the great idea of Christ providing salvation for the whole of mankind. The philosophic disagreement, but not the betrayal of a greedy man, became the subject of the painting. There are only 11 Apostles depicted in the painting, while Judas looks like a winged Angel of Death. In his later period, he embodied Ghe’s ideal of a hero, who was persecuted for the truth and stood up for the oppressed, in the image of Christ. Ghe dedicated his works “Calvary” and “Crucifixion” to humanity, at a time when spiritual strength and faithfulness to ideas overcome physical suffering. Ghe didn’t live to finish his last painting “Calvary” (1892), the expressiveness and tragic impact of which are truly staggering.

Ghe tried his hand at different genres, including portraits, historical scenes and religious paintings but none of these satisfied him. So he turned to Russian history. The canvas “Peter the Great Interrogates Tsarevich Aleksey at Peterhof” (1871) again brought him success. Once more the subject of the picture is the real historical conflict of a father and son, each of whom had his own truth. His other historical paintings were not as successful with spectators and critics. Ghe took this rejection very hard, failing to believe in his own talent. His lack of creative satisfaction and financial woes caused him to abandon city life. In 1876, Ghe bought an estate in the city of Chernigov in southeastern Ukraine and moved there. He stopped painting and went into farming and agriculture. Some time later he got acquainted with Leo Tolstoy and became an apologist of his philosophy, later painting the portrait of the famous writer.

In early 1880, Ghe returned to painting, with biblical themes prevailing. He made exceptions only for portraits. He painted many of them even for very low commissions, believing that portraits must be available to everyone. Among his portraits the most famous are those of the writer Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin, the poet Nikolay Nekrasov (both 1872), Leo Tolstoy and members of his family.

Ghe’s later biblical painting “Quod Est Veritas? Christ and Pilate” (1890) was expelled from an exhibition for blasphemy. “The Judgment of the Sanhedrin: Guilty!” (1892) was also not admitted to the annual Academy of Arts exhibition. “The Calvary” (Golgotha), as mentioned above, remained unfinished. “The Crucifixion” (1894) was banned by Emperor Alexander III.

Ghe died abruptly in March 1894 on his estate.

Nikolay Ghe was a profound philosopher and great, unforgettable master, who never ceased learning and examining the world closely. His paintings remarkably reflect the era in which he lived."

Written by Tatyana Klevantseva -

Портрет художника И. Н. Крамского (1882) / Portrait of the Artist Ivan Kramskoy (1882)

"Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy was a Russian painter and graphic artist, a master of genre, historic and portrait painting and an art critic.

He was born in the town of Ostrogozhsk in the Voronezh Region in southwestern Russia into a commoner’s family. He received a basic education in a district school. During his childhood Kramskoy independently studied drawing and later began working with aquarelles. When he was 16, he worked as a color correction artist for a Kharkov (Ukraine) photographer. In 1856 he moved to St. Petersburg and continued to work with the best of the capital’s photographers. The following year he entered the Arts Academy, where he soon showed great talent in drawing and painting. During his academy years, he gathered the progressive youth around him. He was the head of the protest against painting the far-fetched pieces ordered by the council (the so-called “programs”). The artists graduating from the Academy created the St. Petersburg Team, which owed its atmosphere of mutual help, co-operation and strong spirituality to Kramskoy.

Kramskoy began to mature as a portraitist. He often employed his favorite graphic technique, using sauce, bleach and Italian pencil. With this method, he drew portraits of the artists Morozov (1868), Shishkin (1869), Myasoedov (1861), Chistyakov (1861) and Koshelev (1866). His portraits were very accurate and without obliquities, but with reserved colors. His art technique corresponded well with the image of the intellectual democrat, a common character of his paintings such as “Self Portrait” (1867) and “The Portrait of the Agronome Vyunnikov” (1868). In 1863-1868 Kramskoy taught at the Drawing School of the Artist Encouraging Society. By the end of the decade, the St. Petersburg Team lost its unity and social status. Kramskoy quit it and became one of the founders of the Peredvizhniki Society (The Comradeship of Moving Arts Exhibitions). The first exhibition displayed his “Portrait of F. A. Vasilyev” and “Portrait of M. M. Antokolskiy.”

A year later he displayed the painting “Christ in the Desert” (“Khristos v pustyne”), which he had been working on for several years. According to Kramskoy, “the artists of the past had used the Bible and mythology as a means to convey their contemporary thoughts and feelings.” He himself, in the image of Christ, portrayed an ideal man full of high spiritual thoughts, preparing himself for self-sacrifice.

Kramskoy often returned to Christ as a theme for his art. His large painting “Laughter” (“Khokhot”), which followed the theme, was never finished, though. While gathering materials for it, he went to Italy. He also traveled extensively throughout Europe.

His prevailing success remained in portrait art. In the 1870-1880s, he created some of his best works, including a series of portraits of prominent people of the time: Leo Tolstoy (1873), Nikolay Nekrasov (1877 and 1877-1878), Petr Tretyakov (1876) and Ivan Shishkin (1880), among others. He also painted collective images of peasants such as “The Forest Ranger” (1874), “Mina Moiseev” (1882), and “A Peasant with a Bridle” (1883). At times he turned to a way of painting that comprised portrait and life painting: as in “The Stranger” (1883) and “Desolate Grief” (1884). During his lifetime, Kramskoy also executed many orders for church paintings and portraits to earn his living.

Ivan Kramskoy died at work, while standing at his easel. He was elaborating the portrait of Doctor Rauchfus, which remained unfinished."

Портрет художника А. И. Куинджи (1877) / Portrait of the Artist Arkhip Kuindzhi (1877)

"Arkhip Kuindzhi was a Russian landscape painter with a talent for depicting light and its effects.

Kuindzhi’s exact date of birth is unknown: different sources name different years. He was born in the southern Ukrainian town of Mariupol, into a shoemaker's family, and spent his childhood beside the Black Sea.

When Kuindzhi was six, both of his parents died. The boy had to live at his brother’s (or possibly at his grandfather’s), and to make a living by herding geese. The only education he received was reading lessons taken from some barely literate Greek and about three years at the local public school. According to his former classmate’s memories, Kuindzhi was not good with math or grammar, but he liked to draw and spent the whole time in class doodling in his copybook.

At the age of 10, Kuindzhi gave up school and got a job at the construction site of a nearby church. When the works were over, Kuindzhi was hired by a merchant as a domestic servant. Between running errands, cleaning shoes and serving at the table, Kuindzhi found time to draw. His pictures impressed one of his employer’s friends, who advised the boy to become an apprentice to the famous seascape painter Ivan Aivazovsky. Kuindzhi followed the advice, and in 1855 arrived in the town of Feodosia, where Aivazovsky lived.

Kuindzhi lived for about four months at the Aivazovsky’s house, but the maestro paid no attention to him and his ambitions. Kuindzhi only mixed up paints for his tutor and once was ordered to paint the fence. It was Aivazovsky's relative named Adolf Fessler who in his spare time showed Kuindzhi some artistic skills. However, watching a professional artist at work affected Kuindzhi and helped him to choose his way in life.

Another version claims Kuindzhi spent these months copying Aivazovsky’s works with Fessler’s help.

At the beginning of the1860s, after several years of working as a retouch artist in photographers' parlors, Kuindzhi left for St. Petersburg to pursue his dream: to attend The Academy of Fine Arts. He failed the entrance exams twice in a row, but did not give up.

His third attempt was also unsuccessful, but thanks to his talent Kuindzhi received the right to attend the Academy lectures as an irregular student. His picture A Tatar Hut in Crimea, which he had painted to show the examiners, impressed the commission. Unfortunately, it is lost, as are the majority of his early works.

Kuindzhi made many friends among the Academy students. He kept working as a retouch artist, but did not make much money and lived very close to poverty. Kuindzhi’s works became part of the Academy’s exhibitions. In 1869, the press paid attention to Kuindzhi’s art for the first time.

In 1872, the work named Autumn Impassability of Roads brought Kuindzhi an Academy title of a "class artist of the third grade", given to Academy graduates. While his early paintings, according to critics, noticeably resembled Aivazovsky’s, this one was considered original.

The work depicts a woman and a child walking along a path across a withered field. Their cart is stuck in the mud on the road, and the horse stands still, waiting for them to return. The sky is low and gloomy over their heads, and it looks like it is going to snow. The main color of the picture is yellowish brown, the color of the late Russian autumn. Though Kuindzhi was born in the south, this painting proves that he had a deep feeling for northern nature.

In 1874, his work “Snow” was exhibited at the London International Exhibition, and was awarded with the bronze medal. The same year, Kuindzhi began to participate in mobile exhibitions organized by The Wanderers (Peredvizhniki) rebel artist group, which included some of his friends. Unlike the Academy professors, The Wanderers preached realism and were sure that art should reflect social problems.

His first picture displayed at such an exhibition was "The Forgotten Village". It is painted with the same palette as the Autumn Impassability... and depicts a small village underneath the pale sky. The low huts seem to merge with the brownish grass. Unlike this one, his next picture, The Steppe is full of light and depicts a bright summer’s day.

In 1875, Kuindzhi married a woman he had known and loved since childhood: Vera Ketcherdzhi. Her memoirs are one of the most reliable sources of information about the artist's life. Kuindzhi did not keep a diary or any records of this kind.

In 1876, Kuindzhi exhibited his true masterpiece: The Ukrainian Night. The colors of the painting are the deep colors of the southern landscape. The clay whitewashed houses dream calmly under their straw roofs, lit by moonbeam, against the background of the dark blue sky. The light is painted so realistically, that the canvas seems to glow. Later paintings The Forest and The Evening are also remarkable for the light effects and show the development of the artist's skills.

In 1879, Kuindzhi left The Wanderers to seek his own style and mood, and a year later impressed the public and critics with the famous The Moon Night on the Dniepr River.

Admirers of Kuindzhi’s art were so interested in this picture that his friends kept visiting his workshop to watch the birth of the masterpiece. On weekends, the unfinished work was exhibited for every citizen to see. The famous art patron Prince Konstantin had bought the painting long before it was finished.

In the picture one sees the Dniepr, which rolls its greenish waters across the wide plain. A village stands on its bank, and the full moon looks at it from the dark sky. Moonlight is the main part of the composition: it flickers in the waves, enlightens the white walls of the houses, colors the clouds silver. The shining unites the sky and the earth in a peaceful and solemn harmony.

When the painting was exhibited, the illusion of light appeared to be so realistic that many people furtively attempted to look behind the canvas, certain there must have been a lamp there. To intensify the effect, the picture was placed in a dark hall and enlightened by one electric beam aimed directly at it.

In 1882, Kuindzhi made an exhibition of three of his paintings: The Moon Night on the Dniepr River, The Birch Grove and The Morning Dniepr. After that, he neither participated in any exhibitions nor showed his works to anyone until the 1900s, though he did not give up painting. It is not known what made him make such a move: he was possibly going through some personal drama.

Among Kuindzhi's apprentices was world famous painter Nicholas Roerich. He called Kuindzhi "strong and honest". In his articles and memoirs, Kuindzhi appears as a great teacher, loved and respected by his pupils.

The contemporaries remember Kuindzhi as a short-tempered, but kind man. He was kind of greedy for fame, but often donated anonymously to charity. He and his wife lived in a house in the center of the city, and did all the household duties by themselves, without hiring any servants. Kuindzhi, especially in his later years, liked birds - tamed them and nursed them in ill health.

Kuindzhi died of old age and is buried in the Tikhvinskoye Cemetery in St. Petersburg."

Written by Olga Pigareva -

Портрет художника В. Д. Поленова (1877) / Portrait of the Artist Vasily Polenov (1877)

"Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov (1844-1927) - (Russian: Васи́лий Дми́триевич Поле́нов) was a Russian landscape painter associated with the Peredvizhniki movement of realist artists.

Polenov was a pensioner of the academies of arts in Italy and France, where he painted a number of pictures in the spirit of Academism on subjects taken from European history, such as "Droit du Seigneur" (1874) Tretyakov gallery; at the same time he worked a lot in the open air.

Polenov took part in the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878) as a war artist. Returning from the war, he joined the Peredvizhniki, taking part in their mobile exhibitions. His works won the admiration of Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov, who acquired many of them for his gallery.

In the late 1870s, Polenov concentrated on painting landscapes in the realist tradition of Aleksey Savrasov and Fyodor Vasilyev. He attempted to impart the silent poetry of Russian nature, related to daily human life.

Polenov's sketches of the Middle East and Greece (1881–1882) paved the way for his masterpiece, "Christ and the Sinner" (1886–87), an interesting attempt to update the academic style of painting. In his works of the 1880s, Polenov tended to combine New Testament subjects with his penchant for landscape."

Text by Wikipedia.

Портрет художника Г. Г. Мясоедова (1886) / Portrait of the Artist Grigory Myasoedov (1886)

"Grigoriy Grigorievich Myasoyedov (1834-1911) - (Russian: Григорий Григорьевич Мясоедов) was a Russian Realist painter associated with the Peredvizhniki movement.

In 1862, he received gold medal for his painting "The Flight of Grigory Otrepyev from the Inn" (a scene from Boris Godunov by Pushkin)."

Text by Wikipedia.

Портрет художника П. П. Чистякова (1878) / Portrait of the Artist P.P. Chistyakov (1878)

"Pavel Petrovich Chistyakov (1832-1919) - (Russian: Па́вел Петро́вич Чистяко́в) was a Russian painter and teacher of art.

The art-pedagogical system of Chistyakov, whose students included Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Vrubel, Vasily Polenov, Ilya Repin, Valentin Serov, and Vasily Surikov, developed in constant struggle against the inert system of academism and played a huge role in the development of realism in Russian art of the second half of the 19th century.

The main goal of Chistyakov was the preparation of the artist-citizen possessing high professional skill. His pedagogical method assumed the merger of the direct perception of nature by the artist with its scientific study."

Text by Wikipedia.

Портрет художника И. П. Похитонова (1882) / Portrait of the Artist Ivan P. Pohitonov (1882)

"Ivan Pavlovitch Pokhitonov (1850-1923) - (Russian: Иван Павлович Похитонов) was a Ukrainian landscape painter and graphic artist, who spent much of his working life in France and Belgium."

Text by Wikipedia.

Портрет художника И. И. Бродского (1913) / Portrait of the Artist Isaak Izrailevich Brodsky (1913)

"Isaak Izrailevich Brodsky (1884-1939) - (Russian: Исаак Израилевич Бродский) was a Soviet painter whose work provided a blueprint for the art movement of socialist realism. He is known for his iconic portrayals of Lenin and idealized, carefully crafted paintings dedicated to the events of the Russian Civil War and Bolshevik Revolution."

Text by Wikipedia.

Портрет художника Ивана Степановича Панова (1867) / Portrait of the Artist Ivan Stepanovich Panov (1867)

Ivan Stepanovich Panov (1844-1885) - one of the best Russian artists of the illustrations.

Old March 19th, 2016 #25
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Портрет отца художника Е. В. Репина (1879) / Portrait of Efim Repin, the Artist's Father (1879)

Портрет матери художника Т. С. Репиной (1867) / Portrait of Tatyana Repina, the Artist's Mother (1867)

Портрет В. Е. Репина, брата художника (1867) / Portrait of V. E. Repin, the Artist's brother (1867)

Портрет В. А. Шевцовой, впоследствии жены художника (1869) / Portrait of Vera Shevtsova, then the artist's wife (1869)

Отдых (1882) / Rest (1882)

Portrait of Vera Repina, the Artist's Wife.

Портрет В. А. Репиной, жены художника (1876) / Portrait of Vera Repina, the Artist's Wife (1876)

Портрет В. И. Репиной, дочери художника в детстве (1874) / Portrait of Vera Repina, the artist's daughter in childhood (1874)

Стрекоза (1884) / Dragon Fly (1884)

Portrait of Vera Repina, the first Artist's Daughter.

Портрет Нади Репиной (1881) / Portrait of Nadya Repina (1881)

She was the second artist's daughter.

Осенний букет (1892) / Autumn Bouquet (1892)

Portrait of Vera Repina, the Artist's Daughter.

Old March 19th, 2016 #26
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Император Александр I и император Наполеон на охоте (1907-1908) / Emperor Alexander I and Emperor Napoleon in the hunt (1907-1908)

Прием волостных старшин императором Александром III во дворе Петровского дворца в Москве (1885-1886) / Aleksander III receiving rural district elders in the yard of Petrovsky Palace in Moscow (1885-1886)

Портрет Николая II (1895) / Portrait of Nicholas II (1895)

Портрет императора Николая II на крыльце (1896) / Portrait of Emperor Nicholas II on the porch (1896)

Бельгийский король Альберт в момент взрыва плотины в 1914 году (1914) / Belgian King Albert at the time of the explosion of the dam in 1914 (1914)

Портрет П. А. Столыпина (1910) / Portrait of P. A. Stolypin (1910)

"Throughout the history of modern Russia, Pyotr Stolypin has remained a controversial figure. He is famous chiefly for his agricultural reforms and the draconian methods he used to deal with his opponents. However, during his time in office both as Minister of the Interior and Prime Minister, he was the author of many progressive policies in finance, military and education. In difficult times of social and political change, he walked a thin line between what he believed to be for the good of the country and the social welfare of its people. Some consider him to be the demon of Imperial Russia, others – the driving force of history.

Stolypin's family was prominent in the Russian aristocracy. His father was a famous general in the Russian army while his mother was the daughter of the Russian foreign minister at the time. Stolypin was related to generals, senators and the famous Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov. The future reformer was born in Dresden, Germany. He was brought up and educated in Lithuania, spending his childhood summers in the Swiss Alps. On his graduation from the gymnasium in 1881, he entered St. Petersburg University to study at the faculty of physics and mathematics. Afterwards, he entered the Russian Imperial Ministry of the Interior – the traditional path for members of his family – abandoning his dream of becoming a chemist.

Up to the age of forty, Stolypin spent his life in rather remote, yet historical places around Russia. He served as the Governor of Grodno (now located in western Belarus) from 1902, becoming the youngest person ever to be appointed to the post in the area. In 1905 he was transferred to Saratov province in southern Russia. Stolypin took office at what was a difficult time for Russia in general and for this agriculturally-driven province specifically. Civil unrest spread through peasant communities and Stolypin had very distinctive views on how to resolve the issue. He dealt with the revolts using an unlikely combination of firmness and understanding, which attracted the attention of Nicholas II, the Tsar at the time.

As a result of his decisive actions in Saratov, Stolypin was made Interior Minister in May 1906 and quickly secured the position of Prime Minister for himself as well. The politician pleased the Tsar and the moderate conservatives in his entourage with his energetic disposition and excellent oratory skills. In the light of growing civil unrest and Bolshevik attacks, Stolypin instituted a series of fast-paced trials of terrorists. The verdicts were reached quickly and were often harsh. It was during this time that the term “Stolypin's tie” came in to use – meaning the hangman’s noose and the expression “Stolypin's wagon” was used to describe the trains which took prisoners to hard labour camps. During the years of Stolypin's prime ministership (1906-1911) nearly 3,000 people were executed after summary verdicts in public trials.

Stolypin's key reform, the one for which he is remembered in high school history books, is the agrarian one. He aimed at a “wager on the strong”, i.e. the creation of an independent peasantry which would become a bulwark for the reformed autocracy. He made it possible for ex-serfs to buy themselves out of the peasant commune and for small strips to be consolidated into capitalist farms, aided by loans from the Peasant Land Bank. About two million households (about one-eighth of the total) took advantage of these arrangements before 1916, many moving into the less populated Siberia and Central Asia.

Nevertheless, Stolypin instituted other important changes into the running of pre-revolutionary Imperial Russia. He extended religious freedoms to Jews and other political groups. Old Believers, a breakaway group of the Russian Orthodox Church since 1666, gained political freedoms for the first time. He instituted changes to the welfare state, insuring workers in case of illness, accidents, death of family members and other events. He decentralised the government, giving more autonomy to local politicians and made education more widely accessible.

He is often cited as one of the last major statesmen in Imperial Russia with a clearly defined political programme and a determination to undertake major reforms. Therefore, he is currently a historical figure who creates a wide field for debate. On one side, Stolypin's supporters consider him to have been Russia's last potential saviour from Bolshevism. They say that his patriotism caused him to have a harsh, but realistic stance on contemporary realities. Some even go as far as comparing Stolypin with Russia's ex-president and current Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin. Others see him as a tyrant, driven by arrogance and indifference, who didn't see the reality behind his own idealised vision of Russia.

Some of Stolypin's measures were opposed by the socialists and liberals. This didn't displease him much as he saw them as a nuisance, rather than a real threat. The opposition caused Stolypin to dissolve the Duma (Parliament) in 1907. In 1911 when the Duma opposed parts of his agrarian reform, he threatened to resign, aiming to make the Tsar pressurise the parliamentarians into accepting the proposal. His plan worked, but it made him seriously unpopular with the Tsar and the whole cabinet. When he arrived in Kiev on an official visit with the Tsar in 1911, a carriage in the royal procession wasn't provided for him – a clear indication of the fact that he would probably be dismissed. Before this could happen, however, Stolypin was mortally wounded by a Socialist-Revolutionary terrorist at a theatre in Kiev on September 1, 1911."

Портрет военного (1866) / Portrait of the military (1866)

Портрет военного инженера А. И. Дельвига (1882) / Portrait of the Military Engineer Andrey Delvig (1882)

"Baron Andrey Ivanovich Delvig (1813-1887) - engineer-general of the genus Delvig, technical director and organizer of the construction of many large engineering structures on the territory of the Russian Empire: running water in Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod, multiple railways and roads, river crossings in the Caucasus mountains, and others. Senator. He left valuable memoirs."

Text by Wikipedia.

Портрет М. И. Драгомирова (1889) / Portrait of Mikhail Ivanovich Dragomirov (1889)

"Mikhail Ivanovich Dragomirov (1830-1905) - (Russian: Михаил Иванович Драгомиров) was a Russian general and military writer.

Dragomirov entered the Guard infantry in 1849, becoming second lieutenant in 1852 and lieutenant in 1854. In the latter year he was selected to study at the Nicholas Academy (a staff college), and here he distinguished himself so much that he received a gold medal, an honor which, it is stated, was paid to a student of the academy only twice in the 19th century. In 1856, Dragomirov was promoted to staff-captain and in 1858 to full captain, being sent in the latter year to study the military methods in vogue in other countries. He visited France, England, and Belgium, and wrote voluminous reports on the instructional and maneuvre camps of these countries at Châlons, Aldershot, and Beverloo. In 1859, he was attached to the headquarters of the King of Sardinia Victor Emmanuel II during the campaign of Magenta and Solferino, and immediately upon his return to Russia he was sent to the Nicholas Academy as professor of tactics. Dragomirov played a leading part in the reorganization of the educational system of the army, and acted also as instructor to several princes of the imperial family. This post he held until 1863, when, as a lieutenant colonel, he took part in the suppression of the Polish insurrection of 1863-1864, returning to St. Petersburg in the latter year as colonel and chief of staff to one of the Guard divisions. During the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Dragomirov was attached to the headquarters of the Second Prussian army. He was present at the battles on the upper Elbe and at Königgrätz, and his comments on the operations which he witnessed are of the greatest value to the student of tactics and of the war of 1866.

In 1868, he was made a major general, and in the following year became chief of staff in the Kiev military circumscription. In 1873, Dragomirov was appointed to command the 4th division, and in this command he distinguished himself very greatly in the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–1878. The 4th division led the way at the crossing of the Danube at Zimnitza; Dragomirov being in charge of the delicate and difficult operation of crossing and landing under fire, and fulfilling his mission with complete success. Later, after the reverses before Plevna, he, with the cesarevich and Generals Eduard Totleben and Dmitry Milyutin, strenuously opposed the suggestion of the Grand Duke Nicholas that the Russian army should retreat into Romania, and the demoralization of the greater part of the army was not permitted to spread to Dragomirov's division, which retained its discipline unimpaired and gave a splendid example to the rest.

He was wounded at the Shipka Pass, and, though promoted lieutenant general soon after this, was not able to see further active service. He was also made adjutant general to the tsar and chief of the 53rd Volhynia regiment of his old division. For eleven years thereafter General Dragomirov was chief of the Nicholas Academy, and it was during this period that he collated and introduced into the Russian army all the best military literature of Europe, and in many other ways was active in improving the moral and technical efficiency of the Russian officer-corps, especially of the staff officer. In 1889, Dragomirov became commander-in-chief of the Kiev military district, and governor general of Kiev, Podolsk, and Volhynia, retaining this post until 1903. He was promoted to the rank of general of infantry in 1891. His advanced age and failing health prevented his employment at the front during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, but his advice was continually solicited by the general headquarters at St. Petersburg, and while he disagreed with General Kuropatkin in many important questions of strategy and military policy, they both recommended a repetition of the strategy of 1812, even though the total abandonment of Port Arthur was involved therein. Dragomirov died at Konotop on the 28th of October, 1905. In addition to the orders which he already possessed, he received in 1901 the Order of St. Andrew."

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Тайный советник / Privy Councillor

Old March 19th, 2016 #27
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Портрет П. М. Третьякова (1883) / Portrait of Pavel Tretyakov (1883)

"Pavel Tretyakov was a famous Russian art collector. In 1856, Tretyakov, a Moscow merchant, acquired the first paintings in his collection. Today the collection numbers 140 000 works, making it Russia’s largest anthology of national art.

Pavel Tretyakov was born on 27 December 1832 in Moscow into a merchant’s family. His father Mikhail, an experienced businessman, succeeded in textile trade and owned a textile factory. Pavel’s mother Aleksandra Borisova was the daughter of a wealthy man. Pavel was home schooled, and together with his younger brother Sergey, was an “errand boy” in the shop for their family textile firm. Pavel and Sergey also had three sisters. The grown-up Tretyakov brothers expanded their father’s business by building new textile factories that employed more than 5000 people. After their father’s death, their mother was temporarily considered a second guild merchant woman. She passed the family business onto her sons in 1859. Pavel Tretyakov remained a merchant until the end of his life, since his business allowed him to do what he loved most - collecting art."

Актриса П. А. Стрепетова (1882) / Portrait of the Actress Pelagey Strepetova (1882)

"Strepetova, Polina (Pelageia) Antip’evna (1850-1903).

Strepetova made her debut in Rybinsk in 1865. She appeared in provincial theaters, performing in comedies, vaudevilles, dramas, and operettas. Her talent for tragedy was revealed in the roles of Lizaveta in Pisemskii’s A Bitter Fate and Katerina in Ostrovskii’s The Thunderstorm, which she performed in Kazan in 1871 and which became her greatest achievement as an actress. One of her best roles was Stepanida in Potekhin’s The Evil Influence of Money (early 1880’s).

Strepetova was the first Russian actress to reveal the spiritual strength of the Russian woman. In her roles she depicted the Russian woman’s lack of rights and at the same time expressed social protest. Strepetova’s sincerity, spirit, and emotional power compensated for a certain unevenness in her acting and for the lack of a strong physical presence. She was particularly successful in the roles of Mar’ia Andreevna in Ostrovskii’s The Poor Bride and Mar’itsa in Averkiev’s The Old Days in Kashira and in the title role in Ostrovskii and Gedeonov’s Vasilisa Melent’eva.

Many persons involved in the arts praised Strepetova’s outstanding gifts as a tragedienne. A. N. Ostrovskii wrote: “As a natural talent, she is a rare, outstanding phenomenon... Her milieu is that of women of the lower and middle classes of society; her inspiration comes from simple, strong passions”


Портрет архитектора Филиппа Дмитриевича Хлобощина (1868) / Portrait of the architect Philip Dmitrievich Hloboschin (1868)

Hloboschin - (1844-1870).

Портрет Д. И. Менделеева в мантии профессора Эдинбургского университета (1885) / Portrait of Dmitry Mendeleev in the mantle professor at Edinburgh University (1885)

"Mostly known in the West for creating the Periodic Table of Elements, Dmitry Mendeleev’s contribution to the development of Russia is huge. A real Renaissance man, his areas of study ranged from chemistry to aeronautics to Arctic exploration to demographics. An influential figure among contemporaries, he was advisor to famous Russian reformist Prime Minister Sergey Witte and penned more than 70 papers on economic and social development of the country.

One of the greatest teachers of his time, Mendeleev took credit for thousands of pupils taking his footsteps. He was in the focus of several big scandals both in his personal life and scientific works. A man of intensive energy and spectacular deeds, he is remembered in numerous anecdotes, jokes and legends.

Dmitry Mendeleev was born in the city of Tobolsk, the unofficial capital of Siberia at the time, to a family of a school director and a daughter of merchant. He was 17th and the last one of his siblings, although this number is disputed. Shortly after graduating from St. Petersburg Institute of Pedagogy, Mendeleev was diagnosed with tuberculosis and traveled Southern Russia with its favorable climate where he worked as a schoolteacher. After recovering, he returned to the capital and received a Master’s in chemistry for his study of silicates at the age of 22.

In 1859 Mendeleev took a two-year journey to Germany and other European countries to meet leading scientists and learn from them. In 1865 Mendeleev became a Doctor of Science for his dissertation “On the Combinations of Water with Alcohol”. This work contributed to the birth of a popular legend, which claims that Mendeleev invented the standard for Russian vodka, saying it should contain 40% of alcohol by volume.

This is not true. The only connection the scientist had to vodka production was his work in a state commission on taxation of strong alcohol, while the 40% standard was imposed in 1843, when Mendeleev was nine years old.

Mendeleev’s greatest contribution to science is certainly the Periodic Table of Elements, which says the properties of basic elements repeat periodically when they are arranged by their atomic number. He made the discovery in 1869 during his work on the award-winning textbook on chemistry basics. The first edition of the book published a year later had the periodic table in it. Mendeleev’s further study resulted in prediction of the properties of elements that had not yet discovered at the time, like gallium or germanium.

A popular legend says Mendeleev saw the periodic table in a dream, which is not true either. The origins of the myth are not known for sure, but it was probably due to the chemist’s impatient temper and his reluctance to explain for a hundredth time how he came up with the discovery. The actual work behind the breakthrough took years, if not decades.

A proponent of applied science, Mendeleev studied vigorously to improve production techniques in numerous areas. He helped build Russia’s first oil refinery, published theories on the origin of oil and predicted that it will become a key component of the world economy. He was the first one to suggest the idea of using pipelines for transportation of fuel in 1863.

A good example of Mendeleev’s lifestyle as a field researcher rather than a “bookworm professor” was his aerostat flight in 1887. The hydrogen aerostat was meant to lift the scientist high enough to have unobstructed view of a solar eclipse, a rare chance to study the solar corona. However the day of the event was rainy, the balloon got wet and too heavy to lift both the pilot and the scientist. A more vivid, albeit less accurate account says Mendeleev first threw out the pilot from the basket, then all the furniture, and went into the sky.

Scientifically the trip was in vain, the aerostat failing to rise over the clouds, but it was a success as a publicity stunt. The dramatic story of a famous scientist risking his life and forced to make repairs during his first ballooning experience was so daring that the French aerostat meteorology academy awarded him a medal for it. It is worth mentioning that meteorology was among the many areas of interest for Mendeleev.

He called for wider use of fertilizers in agriculture and tested various fertilizers on his own estate. Mendeleev’s collection of minerals was among the best in the country. He also invented several improvements to instruments and created a special instrument for measuring a liquid’s density. Serving as the head of Russia’s Bureau of Weights and Measures, he influenced the country’s transition to the metric system.

On a request of the Russian Navy, Mendeleev studied the European experience in production of smokeless gunpowder and developed his own compound he called “pyrocollodion” as well as helped develop the industry in Russia. It’s not clear why the formula was not adopted and French technology was imported instead. Some say it was due to competition among military officials, others cite rather strict requirements for the process proposed by Mendeleev. Nevertheless, a kind of gunpowder very much like his was mass produced in the United States during World War I and was even imported to Russia.

Mendeleev had a hand in the research of shipbuilding and Arctic maritime travel, thanks in large part due to his good relations with the famous explorer and the creator of the Russian semaphore code Admiral Stepan Makarov. Mendeleev helped create Russia’s first ship model basin for testing of ship designs. He also took part in designing world’s first Arctic icebreaker “Ermak”. The idea of making Russia’s northern territories accessible via sea was very appealing for Mendeleev, who strongly argued for more equal distribution of production facilities and population over the country.

Economy and social policy was one of Mendeleev’s favorite topics. He was a strong proponent of protectionism, promoted development of domestic industries, had ideas on how to relatively painlessly turn Russia’s traditional agricultural communities into a basis for a modern urbanized society. In early 1900s he made a study based on a recent nation-wide census with demographical estimates stretching forwards as far as 2050.

A devoted traveler, photographer and collector, Mendeleev was fond of crafting his own bags and suitcases. His serious approach to the hobby resulted in a legend, claiming that merchants in the market where he bought leather and fabric knew him as “Mendeleev, the famous suitcase master”.

Some of Mendeleev’s works were subject to controversy. His had skeptical attitude towards several scientific theories, like the studies of electrolytes, the discovery of the electron and radioactivity. Some biographers suggest that his criticism of “physical” ionic theory of conductive solutions conceived by Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius contributed to his never receiving the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, despite his name being on the short list three times. Meanwhile Arrhenius did receive the award for the very theory Mendeleev criticized. Mendeleev was also a proponent of the erroneous “aether” concept and believed it to be an element preceding hydrogen in the arrangement he discovered."

Портрет физиолога И. М. Сеченова (1889) / Portrait of the physiologist Ivan Mikhaylovich Sechenov (1889)

"Ivan Mikhaylovich Sechenov (1829-1905) - (Russian: Ива́н Миха́йлович Се́ченов) was a Russian physiologist, named by Ivan Pavlov as "The Father of Russian physiology". Sechenov authored the classic Reflexes of the Brain introducing electrophysiology and neurophysiology into laboratories and teaching of medicine.

Sechenov's major interest was neurophysiology (the structure of the brain). He showed that brain activity is linked to electric currents and was the first to introduce electrophysiology. Among his discoveries was the cerebral inhibition of spinal reflexes. He also maintained that chemical factors in the environment of the cell are of great importance."

Text by Wikipedia.

Портрет академика И. П. Павлова (1924) / Portrait of the academician Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1924)

"If given detailed accounts of this scientist’s experiments with dogs, today’s animal rights activists would likely cry out and picket in front of his lab with placards featuring pictures of heart-melting puppies. He surgically externalized parts of the gastrointestinal tract like the saliva gland, and made artificial openings in the stomach and intestines to take probes of different body fluids and measure their secretion. Nonetheless, this very research a century ago won Ivan Pavlov a Nobel Prize, the first one for a Russian scientist.

What is more interesting is that at the time he was famous for his compassion to animals and called for abandoning cruel experiments in science, like vivisection – the dissection of an animal to study its organs as it dies. Pavlov’s position was based on both ethical and scientific considerations. As a scientist, he said making animals suffer was contaminating the results, because the pain and upcoming death greatly alter processes in a living organism. As a compassionate man, he was doing his best not to cause unnecessary suffering. He insisted on using anesthesia during operations on his dogs and took much effort in making the life of his test subjects comfortable.

There is a monument to the unknown dog in St. Petersburg near the Institute of Experimental Medicine, where Pavlov headed the physiology laboratory for many years. It was commissioned and partially designed by the physiologist himself to honor the animals, which died for the sake of scientific progress.

Pavlov’s dogs are probably as famous as Pavlov himself. Interestingly, his Nobel Award had little to do with conditioning experiments. For about 20 years starting from 1879 he studied how digestion works, revolutionizing our understanding of the process and the role of nervous system in nutrition. He discovered how different ferments and acids act on various stages of digestion to transform food into simpler components absorbed by the organism. This work, rather than experiments with bells and feeding, won him the world’s most prestigious award in medicine in 1904.

In the 1900s, Pavlov’s research switched to the central nervous system and conditioning. While working with dogs, he noticed that they started to produce saliva when hearing the footsteps of the lab technician who usually fed them, even though no actual food was present. Pavlov reasoned that the two stimuli became associated and that a similar mechanism was behind the learning process in both animals and humans.

The numerous experiments on linking different stimuli together and their interaction contributed to the birth of modern behavioral science. The laboratory where Pavlov did them was dubbed the “Tower of silence” because its walls were soundproof so that no noise from the street could affect the dogs.

Pavlov’s other area of research at the time was reactions to overwhelmingly shocking experiences, which eventually cause the shutdown of an organism. Later he was involved in psychiatry and studied neuroses.

Apart from research Pavlov was famous as a lecturer and teacher. A plethora of his students became prominent doctors and scientists, and he is credited for creating a whole new Russian school of physiology. An international congress held in Moscow and Leningrad in 1935 titled him “princeps physiologorum mundi” – chief physiologist of the world.

In his life and work Pavlov was a meticulous man sticking to schedules and focused on his goals – a quality he explained with a deliberate effort on his part, since it helped achieve better results. He was a brilliant surgeon with a rare and special technique. A dexterous man from birth, Pavlov trained his right hand for years and became ambidextrous, so much so that his assistants complained that his actions during operations were very quick and difficult to predict."

Портрет хирурга Н. И. Пирогова (1881) / Portrait of the surgeon Nikolay Pirogov (1881)

"Nikolay Ivanovich Pirogov (1810-1881) - (Russian: Николай Иванович Пирогов) was a prominent Russian scientist, medical doctor, pedagogue, public figure, and corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (1847). He is considered to be the founder of field surgery, and was one of the first surgeons in Europe to use ether as an anaesthetic. He was the first surgeon to use anaesthesia in a field operation (1847), invented various kinds of surgical operations, and developed his own technique of using plaster casts to treat fractured bones. He is one of the most widely recognized Russian physicians."

Text by Wikipedia.

Портрет невропатолога и психиатра В. М. Бехтерева (1913) / Portrait of a neurologist and psychiatrist Vladimir Bekhterev (1913)

"Vladimir Bekhterev was an outstanding Russian medic, psychiatrist, neurologist, physiologist, psychologist and founder of reflexology in Russia. He created the Psychoneurological Institute in St. Petersburg, which now bears his name.

Vladimir Bekhterev was born in a village in Tatarstan, Russia. His father was a collegiate secretary, who died in 1865 of tuberculosis.

After graduating from a classical school, Vladimir entered the Medical Academy. He studied successfully and in the fourth year of education he chose his specialization – psychiatry. Bekhterev was one of the top graduates of the Academy. This gave him the opportunity to take exams at the Institute for Advanced Studies. But with the outbreak of the Russian-Turkish War (1877-1878), army doctors were needed. Bekhterev did not enroll in the Institute, becoming instead an intern doctor at a clinic for mental and neurological diseases. He worked enthusiastically, reading a lot and performing his own medical research.

In 1879 Vladimir Bekhterev was admitted to the Society of Psychiatrists in St. Petersburg. Soon he married and moved with his wife to St. Petersburg from the city of Vyatka, Tatarstan. In St. Petersburg he wrote a series of ethnological articles and became known as a publicist.

In 1881 Bekhterev earned a doctoral degree in medicine. He focused on the physical connection between the physical state of a man and his mental diseases. Bekhterev’s thesis was published and translated into German. At the same time Bekhterev began to read lectures to students on the diagnosis of nerve diseases and in 1884 he began working at the clinic for mental illness.

In 1883 Vladimir Mikhailovich began his research in the field of reflexology. He investigated the role of individual brain structures in charge of motor functions. For his work in this area Bekhterev was awarded a Silver Medal of the Society of Russian Physicians. That same year Vladimir Mikhailovich was elected a member of the Italian Society of Psychiatrists, an indication of his growing reputation outside Russia.

In 1884 Bekhterev went on an academic mission, first to Germany, then to France. In Paris Bekhterev especially wanted to work with Jean-Martin Charcot, the founder of the world's first department for neurological patients.

While in Germany, Bekhterev was asked to lead the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Kazan (Tatarstan). He accepted the offer and returned to Russia in 1885.

When Bekhterev arrived at the Department of Psychiatry in Kazan, his first task was to re-organize it. Then he began his fundamental study of the nervous system. He studied the nervous system under normal and pathological situations. During the first stage of his research Bekhterev concentrated on the structure of the brain. These physiological studies formed the basis of a large number of his publications.

Vladimir Mikhailovich was always convinced that there was no distinction between nervous and mental diseases. He claimed that nerve diseases were often accompanied by mental disorders. Bekhterev analyzed the disease in which spinal curvature is as a result of the defeat of the nervous system. The disease is now known as the Bekhterev's disease.

In 1891 Vladimir Mikhailovich organized and headed the Neurological Scientific Society in Kazan. In 1893 the Society began to publish the magazine “The Journal of Neurology,” which Bekhterev edited.

Later that year he headed the Department of Mental and Nervous Diseases at the Military Medical Academy in St. Petersburg. After moving to St. Petersburg, Bekhterev began the organization of the first neurosurgical operating room in Russia. He did not perform surgery, but he took an active part in the diagnostics of neurosurgical diseases.

In 1894, Bekhterev received a general's rank and was appointed a member of the Medical Board of the Ministry of Interior. Bekhterev’s efficiency was amazing. He wrote from fourteen to twenty scientific papers every year. His accumulated life and academic experience spurred Bekhterev to make philosophical interpretations and generalizations. In 1902 he published the book "Mind and Life" in which he gave his opinion about the nature of mental processes.

Bekhterev’s main work in neurophysiology became the book "The Fundamentals of the Theory of Functions of the Brain," which he wrote based on his own long-standing experimental and clinical studies. The edition includes seven volumes.

In 1907 - 1910 Bekhterev published "The Objective Psychology," in which he laid the foundations for a new trend in psychology. In his view, all mental processes were accompanied by reflexes, which could be observed and analyzed. In his work Bekhterev also distinguished individual, communal, national and comparative psychology. He also suggested that child psychology become a separate area of science.

Bekhterev was also renowned for his research in the field of hypnosis. He asserted the need for collective treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction with the help of hypnosis and suggestion. Bekhterev believed that collective treatment of patients was more efficient because patients influenced each other positively.

Vladimir Bekhterev died on 24 December 1927."

Written by Leonid Laparenok -

Портрет историка И. Е. Забелина (1877) / Portrait of the historian Ivan Egorovich Zabelin (1877)

"Ivan Yegorovich Zabelin (1820-1908) - (Иван Егорович Забелин) was a Russian historian and archaeologist with a Slavophile bent who helped establish the National History Museum on Red Square and presided over this institution until 1906. He was the foremost authority on the history of the city of Moscow and a key figure in the 19th-century Russian Romantic Nationalism.

Zabelin joined the Moscow Kremlin staff in 1837. Influenced by the early Muscovite "antiquaries" such as Ivan Snegirev and Pavel Stroyev, Zabelin was one of the first to investigate the history of Moscow's suburbs and monasteries. While working in the Armoury, Zabelin studied the history of metalworking and enamel work in medieval Russia. He was also considered an expert on icon-painting and Muscovite architecture.

In 1859 Count Sergei Stroganov invited Zabelin to excavate the Scythian tumulus graves in South Russia and the Crimea. He is credited with introducing stratigraphic methods in Russian field archaeology. It was he who excavated the Chertomlyk grave, one of the largest Scythian kurgans. His findings are now part of the Hermitage Museum collection. Zabelin joined forces with Count Aleksey Uvarov in establishing the Russian Archaeological Society (in 1864). He summed up his findings in The Antiquities of Herodotus's Scythia (1866, 1873).

In 1873 Zabelin quit archaeological pursuites and devoted himself to the study of Pre-Petrine, late medieval Muscovy. He headed the Moscow Society of History and Archaeology between 1872 and 1888 and was revered by the Romantic Nationalist artists such as Andrei Ryabushkin, Sergei Milyutin, and Viktor Vasnetsov. In 1894 Zabelin was elected into the Petersburg Academy of Sciences (honoris causa).

Zabelin believed that the "soul of the people" manifests itself not so much in the state institutions and political history (as his German colleagues held) but in the quotidian particulars of domestic life and family relations. He elaborated his views in the series of monographs detailing the "private life of Russian people" in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Zabelin's great trilogy "The Domestic Life of the Russian Tsars" (1862), "The Domestic Life of Russian Tsarinas" (1872) and "Great Boyars in Their Votchinas" (1871) is still consulted and quoted by modern historians. His magnum opus The History of the Russian Mode of Life from the Earliest Times was left unfinished."

Text by Wikipedia.

Портрет В. В. Стасова (1883) / Portrait of the Art Critic Vladimir Stasov (1883)

"Vladimir Vasilievich Stasov (1824-1906) - (sometimes transliterated as Stassov; Russian: Влади́мир Васи́льевич Ста́сов) was probably the most respected Russian critic during his lifetime. He graduated from the School of Jurisprudence in 1843, was admitted to the Imperial Academy of Arts in 1859, and was made honorary fellow of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1900, together with his friend Leo Tolstoy.

Stasov became a huge figure and, some critics argue, a tyrant—in mid-19th-century Russian culture. He discovered a large number of its greatest talents, inspired many of their works and fought their battles in numerous articles and letters to the press. As such, he carried on a lifelong debate with Russian novelist and playwright Ivan Turgenev, who considered Stasov "our great all-Russian critic". He wanted Russian art to liberate itself from what he saw as Europe's hold. By copying the west, he felt, Russian artists could be, at best, second-rate. However, by borrowing from their own native traditions, they might create a truly national art that could match Europe's with its high artistic standards and originality. By "national" Stasov meant an art that would not only portray people's lives but also be meaningful to them and show them how to live."

Text by Wikipedia.

Old April 2nd, 2016 #28
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Karl Bryullov

Карл Брюллов - (1799-1852).

Автопортрет (1823) / Self-portrait (1823)

Автопортрет (1833) / Self-portrait (1833)

Автопортрет (1848) / Self-portrait (1848)

"Karl Pavlovich Bryullov, known by his friends as “Karl the Great” or the “Tzar of Painting,” was the first Russian painter of international standing. He is often regarded as the founder of Russian Romanticism.

Born of French parents (descended from the Huguenots) in St. Petersburg, he was named Charles Bruleau until 1822. His great grandfather, grandfather, father and two elder brothers, Fyodor and Aleksandr, were all artists. Bryullov's first teacher of painting was his father who was a sculptor and ornamentalist and a member of the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg, where all his sons received their education. From 1809-1821 Bryullov studied at the Academy under the artists Andrey Ivanov, Aleksey Yegorov and Vasily Shebuev.

With his talent and heritage Karl advanced much faster than his fellow students. At the time, education at the Academy was based on the principles of Classicism, and Bryullov's early works reflect this clearly. In spite of stylistic constraints, art education in Russia was superb in quality. What mattered most was to teach the artist to think historically, philosophically, ethically and morally. Drawing - the main subject of the Academy's curriculum - was Bryullov's specialty. When he painted something requiring encyclopedic knowledge and compositional skill, he worked playfully and with ease. However, the political and social changes that the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars had perpetrated in Europe were beginning to manifest themselves in fashions and artistic tastes forming the Romantic trend in both fine arts and literature in Russia as well.

One of Bryullov's early paintings, Narcissus (1819), while composed in accordance with Classical principles in every regard, was unorthodox in its finishing because the painter sought inspiration for the work in nature - something that would become characteristic of the Romantics.
However, it would be some time before Bryullov would break from the constraints of Classicism completely. His graduation work Three Angels Appear to Abraham by the Oaks of Mamre, while completed with technical brilliance, is otherwise a model work of a model student. Bryullov received a gold medal for it and a scholarship from the newly created Society for the Promotion of Artists, which helped artist to travel abroad to Germany and Italy for three-year periods (for Bryullov it would be 15).

During the short period he worked in Russia independently (1821–1822), it is easy to observe his shift from Classicism to Romanticism. The artist focused primarily on the portrait genre, which was frowned upon in the Academy as it was considered low profile, but which was central to the Romantic idealization of the human figure. His works of this period include the Secretary of State Pyotr Kikin (Bryullov's patron at the time) with his wife and daughter and of the actor Aleksandr Ramazanov.

In 1822, Karl and his brother Aleksandr, an architect, left for Europe. True to his alma mater, young Bryullov frowned upon anything that went against academic ideals, expressing this disdain in letters that he wrote home. The two artists traveled through Germany, Austria, Venice and Florence, even-tually arriving in Rome. Like many of his contemporaries, Bryullov found the city irresistible; he was captivated by the way of life and customs of the Italians, their humor and lyricism.

Like many foreigners working in Italy, he made copies of Raphael's Vatican murals, painted portraits of distinguished visitors and idealized figures of young Italian women representing the times of day – cheerful, harmonious works that destroyed the strict academic canons of beauty. He also performed many watercolor and pencil studies including ruins or other picturesque landscape motifs. He created a series of genre scenes of everyday Roman life. The most important of these was Italian Midday (1827), in which the artist achieved naturalness in the image of a naked body and illumination effects.

The Society for the Promotion of Artists required that all its pensioners create at least one large historical painting. In 1827, Bryullov visited the excavation site of Pompeii, a town in southern Italy destroyed and buried under a layer of ash following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on 24 August 79 AD. Bryullov was greatly impressed when he saw the ancient town, perfectly preserved under the ash. The cataclysm had been so sudden that life had simply stopped, as if frozen in time. Six years passed between the conception of the idea and its materialization on a huge epic 24 square meter (456.5cm x 651cm) canvass known as The Last Day of Pompeii (1830 - 1833).

Bryullov obtained financial backing from the wealthy Russian art collector Count Anatoly Demidov and spent three years (1830 – 1833) on the actual painting while visitors flocked to his studio to see the work in progress. After the first sketches had been done, he began studying the artifacts found in excavations and historical documents, such as the letters of Pliny the Younger, who was an eyewitness to the event (it is believed that Pliny is portrayed as the young man persuading his mother to come with him in the right part of the picture). After much historical and archeological research, Bryullov chose an existing location in Pompeii as the setting for his painting.

The painting shows the ancient catastrophe, the eruption of Vesuvius, which involved the destruction of Herculaneum and Pompeii in 79 AD. After the buried cities were discovered, this event became a popular motif in the art and culture of the 18th and 19th centuries. In his work, Bryullov discerned a profound feature, consonant with romanticism - the idea of the global end of civilization. Rich and splendid, a civilization dies dramatically: palaces crumble, statutes fall, the sky with horrible black clouds catches fire, clods mix into total black rain. At the horrible moment of disaster, people with faces and postures, beautiful in their antique way, are full of goodness and selfsacrifice. On the other hand, Bryullov's painting can be interpreted as a moral and sublime allegory of Destruction of the Impure Town, which symbolically meant the punishment of sinful souls enmeshed in vile passions and a Divine warning for human civilization. Nearly all the figures and details depicted in Bryullov's painting can be read through esoteric metaphors familiar to pious Russian audiences of the time, especially the Freemasons (Bryullov belonged to this category).

Bryullov's creation caused quite a stir. According to his friend and apprentice Grigory Gagarin, the son of the Russian ambassador to Rome, “It can be said that the success of the painting The Last Days of Pompeii is unprecedented in the life of artists. The Italian cities, where the picture has been displayed, gave the artist redcarpet receptions. Everywhere he was received with honor as a triumphant genius, understood and appreciated by all.” Local critics compared Bryullov to the greatest artists of the past, such as Rubens, Rembrandt and Van Dyke. The work was also exhibited in the Louvre, Paris. Bryullov won awards at the Paris Salon of 1834 at the Louvre and he received honorary memberships in the Academies of Bologna, Florence, Milan, and Parma; in Russia, Bryullov was acclaimed the greatest master of his time. The canvas was admired by French writer Stendhal. Danish sculptor Bertel Torvaldsen claimed that none of the painters living in Rome were able to even arrange such a work. Edward George Bulwer Lytton (a British novelist, poet, playwright, and politician) was inspired by it to write his popular novel The Last Days of Pompeii (1834) and Sir Walter Scott stood in the studio for a whole hour, after which he said “rather than a picture, it's a whole epopee” and even reportedly knelt mesmerized in front of the canvas.

A monumental tour-de-force of drama, vivid color and twisting and tormented bodies, the enormous canvas captures the emotional intensity of the moment with such power that Bryullov has been known ever since as the first painter of Russian Romanticism, the Pushkin of the visual arts. The painting met all the demands of Romanticism. In fact, The Last Day of Pompeii exemplifies many features of romanticism in Russian art, including emotionality, realism tempered with idealism, in-creased interest in nature and a zealous fondness of historical subjects. Dramatic to an extreme - in its catastrophic subject, sweeping, diagonal composition, the shock of brilliant flashes of lightning and volcanic explosion on the right against the black deluge of ash at the left and the pathetic contrast of physically ideal human bodies undergoing painful contortions - it was also thoroughly researched with a wealth of archaeological detail and references to ancient texts and quotations of visual motifs from Michelangelo's Deluge and Raphael's Fire in the Borgo. It is also speculated that Delfine Gay's poem The Last Day of Pompeii (published in Russia in 1831) and Giovanni Pacini's opera “L'Ultimo Giorno di Pompei” (premiered in Naples in 1825) had an impact on the painting.

In Italy Bryullov also created over 120 portraits in various techniques. Among them are portraits of the Russian aristocracy residing in Italy, as well as painters, sculptors and writers and Italian statesmen and artists. Among the most notable are portraits of Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna, Prince Gavriil Gagarin, Princess Zinaida Volkonskaya, Bryulov's brother Aleksandr, the Italian singers Juditta Pasta and Fanny Persiani-Tacinardi and many others.

But his richest and definitely most beloved portrait of the Italian period is of Countess Julia Samoilova (1803 - 1875), the beautiful, charming and scandalous “Russian Lady of Milan” with her foster-daughter and a black servant (painted in 1832-1834). Over life-size (2.7m x 1.8m), it is simply composed: the young Samoilova dressed in the height of Parisian fashion strides towards the viewer accompanied by her Italian foster-daughter Giovanina, a family servant and a pet dog. Painted in 1832 - 1834, it is generally perceived as a traditional early 19th century parade portrait, an image of domestic bliss, and typical of the artist’s many decorative society portraits. However, the painting lends itself to another reading as a sophisticated depiction of a passionate but illicit romance between the artist and his sitter, a sort of a lasting love letter from the artist to his “goddess” and a personal remembrance of an intimate relationship between the two Russian expatriates and of their time together in Italy.

In 1834 The Last Day of Pompeii was displayed in the hall of the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg and became a notable social event. Upon his return to Russia in 1835, Bryullov was welcomed back as a hero and even granted an audience with Emperor Nicholas I. In the Academy, there was a re-splendent fiesta by the picture. The crowd was jubilant, all eager to become Bryullov’s pupils. They put a wreath of laurels on Bryullov's head, but he took it off and crowned his teacher Andrei Ivanov with it. Russian critics lavished the Last Day of Pompeii with praise and Aleksandr Pushkin was inspired to write a poem on the subject.

In 1836, Bryullov was appointed professor at the Academy of Arts. His fame made him very much in demand, and it turned out that he was also an excellent teacher, interested in the success of each of his students. Leo Tolstoy retells the story of Bryullov, who corrected a student’s sketch: “Why, you only touched it a tiny bit,” the student exclaims. “But it is quite a different thing.” Bryullov replies, “Art begins where the tiny begins.”

While teaching at the Academy (1836 -1848) Bryullov continued his own artistic efforts, but was unable to produce a work comparable to his opus magnum. He was expected to create more monumental, large historical paintings, but none of such works went beyond the sketching stage. None of the subjects he tried to paint - the Siege of Pskov by the Polish King Stefan Batory, the Invasion of Rome by Henserix and the Napoleonic War of 1812 - inspired him as Pompeii had. The only large-scale paintings that he completed were altarpieces for the Kazan Cathedral and the Lutheran Church of SS Peter and Paul in St. Petersburg.

He painted mostly portraits, which he produced in great quantity and to a consistently high standard. Among the best psychological portraits of this period are those of dramatist Nestor Kukolnic, Count Perovsky and his nephew, the future poet and playwright Aleksey K. Tolstoy, writer Aleksandr Strugovshchikov and Princess Elizaveta Saltykova. Unrivalled in his portrayal of large parade portraits, he painted the social and political elite of the Russian aristocracy, including Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna and even Emperor Nicholas I and Empress Alexandra. His portrait style of the period combined a classical simplicity with a romantic trend and his penchant for realism was satisfied with an intriguing level of psychological penetration providing an insight into the very epoch and its people.

By the late 1840s, Bryullov's health deteriorated due to his unrestrained lifestyle, unhappy marriage and his hard work on frescoes in St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg, which he was unable to finish. Following his doctors’ advice, in 1849 Bryullov left Russia for Madeira in the hopes that a warmer climate would help his recovery. He visited Germany and England and then spent a year in Madeira and his health seemed to genuinely improve. His last two years were spent in Rome with the family of Garibaldi's partisan Angelo Tittoni, with whom he was very close and whose successors have been treasuring the master's portraits and still-lives, inherited from generation to generation. He created several excellent pieces during those years, including portraits of the Tittonis. He died of a stroke in Marsciano, near Rome on 23 June 1852 and was buried at the Cemeterio Degli Inglesi in Rome. The artist's gravestone is adorned with an imprint of the Neva and Tiber rivers as symbols of Russia and Italy with Bryullov's profile in between them."

Нарцисс (1819) / The Narcissus (1819)

Явление Аврааму трех ангелов у дуба Мамврийского (1821) / Three Angels Appear to Abraham by the Oaks of Mamre (1821)

Портрет статс-секретаря П. А. Кикина (1821-1822) / Portrait of the Secretary of State Piotr Kikin (1821-1822)

"Pyotr Andreyevich Kikin (1775-1834) - (Russian: Пётр Андреевич Кикин) was a Russian general and a Secretary of State under Tsar Alexander I.

From 1806 to 1812, he fought in the Russo-Turkish War, serving as an adjutant under General Michelson.

He was promoted to colonel and almost immediately became involved in the French invasion of Russia, serving in the First Western Army. He was wounded in the eye at the Battle of Valutino and was injured in a counter-attack at the Battle of Borodino, but was still able to fight at the Battle of Krasnoi. In 1813, he was awarded the Order of St. George and the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky. From 1813 to 1814, he commanded a brigade under Field Marshal Wittgenstein and distinguished himself at the Battle of Lützen.

After completing that campaign, he retired from military service.

In 1816, at the request of Tsar Alexander, Count Aleksey Arakcheyev convinced Kikin to reenter government service and he was appointed Secretary of State in charge of reviewing petitions to the Tsar. In this post, he was distinguished by his candor and firmness and was not afraid to disagree with the Tsar when he thought his decisions were unfair."

Text by Wikipedia.

Портрет М. А. Кикиной (1821-1822) / Portrait of M. A. Kikina (1821-1822)

Портрет М. П. Кикиной в детстве (1817-1820) / Portrait of Maria Kikina as a Child (1817-1820)

Мария Кикина в детстве (1821) / Portrait of Maria Kikina as a Child (1821)

Портрет актера А. Н. Рамазанова (1821-1822) / Portrait of the Actor A. N. Ramazanov (1821)

Alexander Ramazanov (1792-1828) - Actor of the St. Petersburg Imperial Theatres.

Old April 2nd, 2016 #29
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Karl Bryullov (II)

Итальянский полдень (Итальянка, снимающая виноград) (1827) / Italian Midday (1827)

Итальянский полдень (1831) / Italian Midday (1831)

Последний день Помпеи (1830-1833) / The Last Day of Pompeii (1830-1833)

Портрет великой княгини Елены Павловны с дочерью Марией (1830) / Portrait of Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna and her daughter Maria (1830)

"Princess Charlotte of Württemberg (1807-1873) - was, as Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna of Russia, the wife of Grand Duke Michael Pavlovich of Russia. He was the youngest son of Tsar Paul I of Russia and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg.

She was born in Stuttgart, as Princess Charlotte of Württemberg, eldest daughter of Prince Paul of Württemberg and Princess Charlotte of Saxe-Hildburghausen.

Mikhail Pavlovich and Elena had five daughters:

Grand Duchess Maria Mikhailovna of Russia (1825–1846); died unmarried

Grand Duchess Elizabeth Mikhailovna of Russia (1826–1845); married Adolphe, Grand Duke of Luxembourg and died in childbirth

Grand Duchess Ekaterina Mikhailovna of Russia (1827–1894), married Duke Georg August of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Grand Duchess Aleksandra Mikhailovna of Russia (1831–1832)

Grand Duchess Anna Mikhailovna of Russia (1834–1836)"

Text by Wikipedia.

Портрет князя Г. Г. Гагарина (1829) / Portrait of the Prince G. G. Gagarin

"Prince Grigory Grigorievich Gagarin (1810-1893) - (Russian: Григорий Григорьевич Гагарин) was a Russian painter, Major General and administrator.

Grigory did not receive a formal artistic education, but took private lessons from the famous Russian painter Karl Briullov who at that time lived in Italy.

He worked as a Russian diplomat in Paris, Rome and Constantinople; stayed two years in Munich. In 1839, after his return to Russia, he – together with Russian writer Vladimir Sollogub – travelled from Saint Petersburg to Kazan. Sollogub wrote the novel Tarantas about this journey, and Gagarin illustrated it.

In 1842 he took part in the General Chernyshyov expedition in Daghestan and served with the dragoons until 1848. He received a few orders for bravery and the military ranges of Rittmeister and Colonel.

In 1848-1855 he lived in Tiflis serving under Mikhail Semyonovich Vorontsov. Among the military and administrative duties, Gagarin did a lot of works for the city. He built a theater there, frescoed the Tbilisi Sioni Cathedral, and restored frescoes of the old Georgian cathedrals, including the Betania monastery.

In 1855 Grigory moved to Saint Petersburg to work under Grand Duchess Maria Nikolayevna, Duchess of Leuchtenberg, who was the president of the Imperial Academy of Arts.

In 1858 Gagarin received the military rank of Major General. In 1859 he became the Vice President of the Imperial Academy of Arts, and he remained there until 1872."

Text by Wikipedia.

Портрет княгини З. А. Волконской (1842) / Portrait of Princess Z. A. Volkonskaya (1842)

"Princess Zinaida Aleksandrovna Volkonskaya (1792-1862) - (Зинаида Александровна Волконская), was a Russian writer, poet, singer, composer, salonist and lady in waiting.

She was an important figure in 19th-century Russian cultural life. As an amateur opera singer, she performed in Paris and London.

Zinaida was lady-in-waiting to Queen Louise of Prussia in 1808 and was close to Emperor Alexander I of Russia, who became her lifelong correspondent and, possibly, lover. To stem gossip, Zinaida married Alexander's aide-de-camp, Prince Nikita Volkonsky, in 1810. They were prominent during the Congresses of Vienna and Verona.

In the 1820s the "Corinna of the North" hosted a literary and musical salon on Tverskaya Street in Moscow. Adam Mickiewicz, Yevgeny Baratynsky, Dmitry Venevitinov, and Alexander Pushkin frequented her house. Pushkin's verse epistle to her, "The queen of music and beauty", is well known.

After Alexander I's death her brother-in-law Sergey Volkonsky led the Decembrist Revolt against his successor Nicholas. The Decembrists were exiled to Siberia, and their wives decided to follow them. Zinaida threw a farewell party for these women, incurring the displeasure of Nicholas I. She also came under suspicion as a secret convert to Catholicism and possible Jesuit agent.

These pressures led to Zinaida's moving to Rome in 1829. Her salon was frequented by Karl Brullov, Alexander Ivanov, Bertel Thorvaldsen, Vincenzo Camuccini, Stendhal, and Sir Walter Scott. Nikolai Gogol wrote much of Dead Souls at her villa."

Text by Wikipedia.

Портрет архитектора А. П. Брюллова, брата художника (1823-1827) / Portrait of artist's brother Alexander Brullov (1823-1827)

"Alexander Pavlovich Brullov (1798-1877) - (Russian: Александр Павлович Брюллов) was a Russian artist associated with Russian Neoclassicism.

Alexander Brullov spent eight years abroad, from 1822 to 1830, in Italy, Germany and France, studying architecture and art. He painted many watercolor portraits at that time. Among the best were those of Yekaterina Pavlovna Bakunina, John Capodistria, Natalya Goncharova-Pushkina, wife of the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and Yekaterina Ivanovna Zagryazhskaya, her aunt. He also did illustrations for books and magazines.

In 1831, after his return to Russia, he was appointed professor at the Imperial Academy of Arts and these were the years when he created his best architectural projects. Among others, he designed and supervised the construction of the following buildings in Saint Petersburg:

Mikhailovsky Theatre (now Maliy Theater, 1831–1833)

Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul on Nevsky Prospekt (1833–1838)

Pulkovo Observatory (1834–1839)

The Guard Corps Headquarters on Palace Square (1837–1843).

He was one of the principal architects for the reconstruction of the Winter Palace after the fire of 1837. He designed many striking interiors there, including the Pompei Hall, the Malachite Room, and the White Hall.

In 1844 he designed and built Orenburg Caravanserai in Orenburg."

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Портрет актрисы Джудитты Пасты в роли Анны Болейн (1834) / Portrait of the Actress Juditta Pasta as Anne Boleyn (1834)

"Giuditta Angiola Maria Costanza Pasta (née Negri) - (1797-1865), was an Italian soprano considered among the greatest of opera singers.

Pasta studied in Milan with Giuseppe Scappa and Davide Banderali and later with Girolamo Crescentini and Ferdinando Paer among others. In 1816 she made her professional opera début in the world première of Scappa's Le tre Eleonore at the Teatro degli Accademici Filodrammatici in Milan. Later that year she performed at the Théâtre Italien in Paris as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, Giulietta in Niccolò Antonio Zingarelli’s Giulietta e Romeo, and in two operas by Paer.

Pasta's first appearance in London in 1817 was a failure. Further studies with Scappa were followed by a successful debut in Venice in 1819. She caused a sensation in Paris in 1821–22, where the immense range of her voice and her dramatic gifts were matched by poignancy of expression.

Roles written specifically for Pasta

Giuditta Pasta as Amina, May 1831 premiere
She sang regularly in London, Paris, Milan and Naples between 1824 and 1837. In Milan she created three roles which were written for her voice. They were Donizetti's Anna Bolena given at the Teatro Carcano in 1830 (and which was that composer's greatest success to date) and both Amina in Bellini's La sonnambula and Norma in 1831, which became three of her major successes."

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Портрет Фанни Персиани-Такинарди в роли Амины в опере Беллини Сомнамбула (1834) / Portrait of Fanny Persiani-Taсinardi as Amina in Bellini's opera - La Sonnambula (1834)

"Fanny Tacchinardi Persiani (1812-1867) was an Italian soprano particularly associated with bel canto composers, such as Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini, and early Verdi. Her 'golden' period in Paris and London was between 1837 and 1848.

She made her stage début at Livorno in Giuseppe Fournier-Gorre's Francesca da Rimini in 1832. She soon appeared in Venice, Florence, Milan, Naples, and other Italian cities, in Tancredi, La gazza ladra, Il pirata, L'elisir d'amore and other operas.

Donizetti heard her in 1833, and described her voice as "rather cold, but quite accurate and perfectly in tune." He chose her to create title roles in three of his operas, Rosmonda d'Inghilterra with Gilbert Duprez as Enrico II (at Florence in February 1834), Pia de' Tolomei (Venice, 1837, a work conceived expressly for her from the beginning), but most notably that of Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor in Naples in 1835, one of the immortal roles of Romantic opera. Duprez was her Edgardo.

She also sang Lucia in the first Paris performance, in December 1837, opposite Rubini (for whom Edgardo became one of his most celebrated roles), a performance received with acclaim bordering on hysteria. She was furthermore in the London premiere in April 1838.

She made her Paris début at the Théâtre-Italien in 1837 as Amina in La Sonnambula. She sang in the first Paris performance of L'elisir d'amore there in January 1839, with Nicolai Ivanoff, Tamburini and Lablache, for which (as was his custom) Donizetti added an aria for Tacchinardi-Persiani and a duet for her with Tamburini. In 1841 she made a tour with Rubini through various European cities including Brussels, Wiesbaden, The Hague, Bayonne, Madrid and Bayeux. She sang at the (revised) première of Linda di Chamounix in Paris in November 1842, with Mario, Tamburini and Lablache, and for that occasion the composer added for her 'O luce di quest'anima', perhaps the most successful item in the work.

The heyday of Mme Persiani's career spanned from the 1830s to the 1850s, and was primarily in Paris and London, but with significant appearances in Vienna and St Petersburg. In 1851 she appeared in Moscow, where Anton Rubinstein considered her 'one of the very greatest of artists.' Other notable roles were the soprano leads in Torquato Tasso, Lucrezia Borgia, Ernani and I due Foscari. She was also successful in Mozart operas."

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Портрет графини Юлии Павловны Самойловой, удаляющейся с бала с приёмной дочерью Амацилией Паччини (1842) / Portrait of Countess Yu. P. Samoilova and her ward Amacilia Pacini Leaving a Ball (1842)

"Countess Yuliya Pavlovna Samoylova (1803-1875) - (Russian: Графиня Юлия Павловна Самойлова, née Yuliya von der Pahlen) was a granddaughter of Count Martyn Skavronskiy and the last scion of Skavronskiy family. She was born to Pavel von der Pahlen and Mariya Skavronskaya, but grew up in the house of Count Yuliy Litta due to early death of her mother. Samoylova became an owner of Grafskaya Slavyanka manor (now Antropshino), near Tsarskoye Selo and a holder of several masterpieces. On January 25, 1825 she married Count Nikolai Samoylov, but later divorced him as well as several other persons. Samoylova had strong affiliations with Karl Briullov. In 1840 Samoylova sold Grafskaya Slavyanka and left Russia for Italy. She was buried at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris."

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Портрет Ю. П. Самойловой с Джованиной Пачини и арапчонком (1832-1834) /
Portrait of Countess Julia Samoilova with Giovannina Pacini and black boy (1832-1834)

Осада Пскова польским королём Стефаном Баторием в 1581 году (1839-1843) / Siege of Pskov by Polish King Stefan Batory in 1581 (1839-1843)

"Stephen Báthory (1533-1586) - (Polish: Stefan Batory) was Voivode of Transylvania (1571–76), Prince of Transylvania (1576–86), from 1576 Queen Anna Jagiellon's husband and jure uxoris King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania (1576-1586).

The son of Stephen VIII Báthory and a member of the Hungarian Báthory noble family, Báthory was a ruler of Transylvania in the 1570s, defeating another challenger for that title, Gáspár Bekes. In 1576 Báthory became the third elected king of Poland. He worked closely with chancellor Jan Zamoyski. The first years of his reign were focused on establishing power, defeating a fellow claimant to the throne, Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor, and quelling rebellions, most notably, the Danzig rebellion. He reigned only a decade, but is considered one of the most successful kings in Polish history, particularly in the realm of military history. His signal achievement was his victorious campaign in Livonia against Russia in the middle part of his reign, in which he repulsed a Russian invasion of Commonwealth borderlands and secured a highly favorable treaty of peace (the Peace of Jam Zapolski)."

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Нашествие Гензериха на Рим (1833-1835) / Genserich's Invasion of Rome (1833-1835)

"Genseric or more often Gaiseric or sometimes Geiseric (c. 389–477), was King of the Vandals and Alans (428–477) who established the Vandal Kingdom was one of the key players in the troubles of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century. During his nearly 50 years of rule, he raised a relatively insignificant Germanic tribe to the status of a major Mediterranean power - which, after he died, entered a swift decline and eventual collapse.

Succeeding his brother Gunderic at a time when the Vandals were settled in Baetica (modern Andalusia, Spain), Gaiseric successfully defended himself against a Suebian attack and transported all his people, around 80,000, to Northern Africa in 428. He might have been invited by the Roman governor Bonifacius, who wished to use the military strength of the Vandals in his struggle against the imperial government.

Gaiseric caused great devastation as he moved eastward from the Strait of Gibraltar across Africa. He turned on Bonifacius, defeated his army in 430, and then crushed the joint forces of the Eastern and Western empires that had been sent against him. In 435 Gaiseric concluded a treaty with the Romans under which the Vandals retained Mauretania and part of Numidia as federates (allies under special treaty) of Rome. In a surprise move on October 19, 439, Gaiseric captured Carthage, striking a devastating blow at imperial power. In a 442 treaty with Rome the Vandals were recognized as the independent rulers of Byzacena, and part of Numidia. Gaiseric’s fleet soon came to control much of the western Mediterranean, and he annexed the Balearic Islands, Sardinia, Corsica, Malta and Sicily.

His most famous exploit, however, was the capture and plundering of Rome in June 455. Subsequently the King defeated two major efforts of the Romans to overthrow him, that of the emperor Majorian in 460, and that led by Basiliscus at the Battle of Cape Bon in 468. After dying in Carthage at the great age of 88, Gaiseric was succeeded by his son Huneric."

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Портрет писателя Н. В. Кукольника (1836) / Portrait of the Poet and Playwright Nestor Kukolnik (1836)

"Nestor Vasilievich Kukolnik (1809–1868) - (Russian: Нестор Васильевич Кукольник) was a Russian playwright and prose writer of Carpatho-Rusyn origin. Immensely popular during the early part of his career, his works were subsequently dismissed as sententious and sentimental. Today, he is best remembered for having contributed to the libretto of the first Russian opera, A Life for the Tsar by Mikhail Glinka. Glinka also set many of his lyrics to music."

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Портрет генерал-адьютанта графа Василия Алексеевича Перовского (1837) / Portrait of adjutant-general Count V. A. Perovsky (1837)

"Count Vasily Alekseevich Perovsky (1794–1857) was an imperial Russian general and statesman.

After studying in Moscow University, he joined the emperor's retinue in 1811. When retreating toward Moscow after the Battle of Borodino, he was taken prisoner by the French, and remained in captivity until the fall of Paris in 1814.

He was seriously wounded in the 1828 war with Turkey.

In 1833 Perovsky was appointed the military governor of Orenburg. In 1839, he led an invasion of the Khanate of Khiva, in name to free the slaves captured and sold by Turkmen raiders from the Russian frontiers on the Caspian Sea, but also as an attempt to extend the Russian borders while the British Empire entangled itself in the First Anglo-Afghan War in 1839. Perovsky's expeditionary force consisted of 5,200 infantry, and 10,000 camels. Due to poor planning and a bit of bad luck, they set off, in November 1839, into one of the worst winters in memory, and were forced to turn back on 1 February 1840. The expeditionary force arrived back into Orenburg in May, having suffered over 1,000 casualties without firing a single shot.

In 1842, Perovsky left the Orenburg governor's position, but was brought back to that office in 1851. This time, his campaigning in the central Asia (today's central Kazakhstan) against the Khanates of Khiva and Kokand was much more successful. After the successful taking of the Kokand fortress of Ak-Mechet by his troops in 1853, the fort was renamed Fort-Perovsky after him. His military successes forced the Khanate of Khiva to sign the 1854 treaty with the Russia Empire beneficial for the latter.

For his achievements, he was made a count in 1855."

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Портрет графа Алексея Алексеевича Перовского (писателя Антона Погорельского) - (1836) / Portrait of Count A. A. Perovsky (the Writer Anton Pogorelsky) - (1836)

"Antony Pogorelsky (Russian: Анто́ний Погоре́льский) is a penname of Alexey Alexeyevich Perovsky (1787-1836) (Russian Алексе́й Алексе́евич Перо́вский), a Russian prose writer.

He was a natural son of A.K. Razumovsky and an uncle of Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy, also a well-known man of letters.

During the Patriotic War of 1812 (invasion of Napoleon Bonaparte) he served in the acting army as a volunteer. When living in Germany during his military service Perovsky took a great interest in German romanticism, and Hoffman, in particular, and it had a great impact on his own creativity. After retirement he settled in Petersburg and took care of upbringing and education of his nephew Aleksey. During that period Perovsky came to be one of the most active defenders of Alexander Pushkin, then a beginning poet.

After the death of his father in 1822 Aleksey Perovsky settled in Pogoreltsy Estate in Ukraine, together with his sister and nephew and took the penname of Antony Pogorelsky, based on the estate name.

Antony Pogorelsky’s remarkable set of stories Dvoinik (The Double, or My Evenings in Little Russia) (1828) was closely related to the German fantastic tradition (Serapion Brothers by Hoffman) and anticipated the famous Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka by Nikolai Gogol and Russian Nights by Vladimir Odoevsky. In 1829 Pogorelsky published the book that brought him real fame: it was the fairy tale Black Hen, or Living Underground written for his nephew, the first book about childhood in Russian literature. His novel Monastyrka, a “moral-descriptive novel” combining both sentimental and romantic elements was very well accepted by public and critics."

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Портрет поэта и драматурга графа Алексея Константиновича Толстого в юности (1836) / Portrait of the Poet and Playwright Alexey Tolstoy as a Youth (1836)

Портрет писателя А. Н. Струговщикова (1840) / Portrait of the writer A. N. Strugovshchikov (1840)

Alexander Strugovschikov (1808-1878) - Russian poet and translator.

Strugovshchikov's main works are translations of Schiller and Goethe (including "Faust" and "The Sorrows of Young Werther"). In 1845 he was elevated to the noble rank.

Портрет княгини Е. П. Салтыковой (1833-1835) / Portrait of Princess Ye. P. Saltykova (1833-1835)

Princess Elizabeth Saltykova - (1802-1865).

Портрет светлейшей княгини Елизаветы Павловны Салтыковой, урожденной графини Строгоновой, жены светлейшего князя И.Д. Салтыкова. (1841) / Portrait of Princess Elizabeth Saltykova, nee Countess Strogonova, wife of Grand Duke I. D. Saltykov (1841)

Old April 3rd, 2016 #31
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Гений искусства (1817-1820) / Genius of Art (1817-1820)

Надежда, питающая Любовь (1824) / Hope feeding Love (1824)

Храм Аполлона Эпикурейского в Фигалии (1835) / Temple of Apollo in Phigalia (1835)

Диана, Эндимион и Сатир (1849) / Diana, Endymion and Satyr (1849)

"In Greek mythology, Endymion, was variously a handsome Aeolian shepherd, hunter, or king who was said to rule and live at Olympia in Elis, and he was also venerated and said to reside on Mount Latmus in Caria, on the west coast of Asia Minor.

Apollonius of Rhodes is one of the many poets who tell how Selene, the Titan goddess of the moon, loved the mortal. She believed him to be so beautiful that she asked Endymion's father, Zeus, to grant him eternal youth so that he would never leave her. Alternatively, Selene so loved how Endymion looked when he was asleep in the cave on Mount Latmus, near Miletus in Caria, that she entreated Zeus that he might remain that way. In either case, Zeus granted her wish and put him into an eternal sleep. Every night, Selene visited him where he slept. Selene and Endymion had fifty daughters.

In the Renaissance, the revived moon goddess Diana had the Endymion myth attached to her."

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Долина Дельфийская (1835) / Delphi Valley (1835)

Вирсавия (1832) / Bathsheba (1832)

"According to the Hebrew Bible, "Bat Sheva," more commonly known by the anglicized name Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah the Hittite and later of David, king of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah. She is most known for the Bible story in which she was summoned by King David who had seen her bathing and lusted after her.

She was the mother of Solomon, who succeeded David as king, making her the Queen Mother."

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Плафон (1843-1847) / Plafond (1843-1847)

Сцена на пороге храма (1827) / Scene at the Entrance of a Cathedral (1827)

Эрминия у пастухов (1824) / Erminia and the Shepherds (1824)

Erminia is a character in "Gerusalemme liberata" by Torquato Tasso.

Монахини монастыря Святого Сердца в Риме, поющие у органа (1849) / Nuns Convent of the Sacred Heart in Rome (1849)

Old April 3rd, 2016 #32
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Всадница (1832) / Rider (1832)

Турчанка (1837-1839) / A Turkish Girl (1837-1839)

Итальянское утро (1823) / Italian Morning (1823)

Итальянка, зажигающая лампаду перед образом Мадонны (1835) / Italian Woman Lightning a Lamp in front of the Image of Madonna (1835)

Итальянка, ожидающая ребенка, разглядывает рубашку, муж сколачивает колыбель (1831) / Italian, Expecting a Child, Looking at His Shirt, Her Husband Cobble Together a Cradle (1831)

Мать, просыпающаяся от плача ребенка (1831) / Mother Awoken by Her Crying Child (1831)

Девушка, собирающая виноград в окрестностях Неаполя (1827) / Girl Gathering Grapes in a Suburb of Naples (1827)

Девушка в лесу (1851-1852) / Girl in a Forest (1851-1852)

Женщина, посылающая поцелуй из окна (1826) / Woman Blowing a Kiss (1826)

Исповедь итальянки (1827-1830) / Confession of an Italian Woman (1827-1830)

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Портрет Софьи Андреевны Шуваловой (1849) / Portrait of S. A. Shuvalova (1849)

Sophia Shuvalova (1829-1912).

Портрет члена Государственного совета князя А. Н. Голицына (1840) /
Portrait of a member of the State Council of Prince A. N. Golitsyn (1840)

"Prince Alexander Nikolaevich Golitsyn was a Russian statesman and Ober-Procurator from 1803 to 1817 of the Apostolic Governing Synod, the government governing agency overseeing the Church of Russia.

Prince Alexander Nikolaevich Golitsyn was born in 1773 and upon obtaining adulthood became active in the state affairs of Imperial Russia. In 1803, he was appointed Ober Procurator and remained in that office until 1817. In 1817, he was appointed Minister of Religious Affairs and People's Education in the government of Tsar Alexander I, serving until 1824. In the ministry of education, Prince Alexander Nikolaevich followed a conservative, if not a reactionary, agenda. He served as Chairman of the State Council from 1838 to 1841.

In 1806, Prince Alexander Nikolaevich became an active member of the Russian Academy. In 1813, he was named President of the Biblical Society, holding that position until 1824. In 1826, he became an honorary member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Science.

From 1812, Prince Alexander Nikolaevich maintained his residence in St.Petersburg at 20 Fontanka River Embankment. He reposed in 1844."

Портрет У. М. Смирновой (1837-1840) / Portrait of U. M. Smirnova (1837-1840)

Портрет профессора Медико-хирургической академии в Москве К. А. Яниша (1841) / Portrait of the Professor of the Moscow Medical Academy K. A. Janish (1841)

"Karl Ivanovich Janisch (1774-1833) - physician, professor.

Born in 1776 in the Lutheran noble family. In 1801, he passed the doctoral examination, after which the state medical board determined office intern in the chambers of the Chief of the Moscow military hospital. In 1803 by imperial decree was "doctoral dignity and permission to send arbitrary practices in Russia."

In January 1804 he was appointed assistant professor at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Moscow, but in March the same year defined a professor of chemistry, natural history and technology, preparing for the opening of the Yaroslavl Demidov School of Higher Sciences, where he was elected vice-rector; April 7, 1804, before the opening of school, began to read the weekly public lectures.

Since August 1809 he is - an ordinary professor of the Moscow branch of Medico-Surgical Academy. Since 1819 - Professor of Physics and Mathematics at Moscow University.

In 1814 he was awarded a bronze medal "In memory of the war of 1812". The State Counsellor (1822). In 1828 he granted the Order of St. Anne 2nd degree.

In June 1833, he received the title of Distinguished Professor, retired."

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Портрет С. Ф. Щедрина (1824) / Portrait of the Artist Sylvester Shchedrin (1824)

"Sylvester Feodosiyevich Shchedrin (1791-1830) - (Сильвестр Феодосиевич Щедрин) was a Russian landscape painter.

Sylvester Shchedrin was born in St. Petersburg into the family of the famous sculptor Feodosiy Shchedrin, rector of the Imperial Academy of Arts. The landscape painter Semion Shchedrin was his uncle. In 1800, Sylvester Shchedrin entered the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg, where he studied landscape paintings. Among his teachers were his uncle, Semion Shchedrin, Fedor Alekseev, M.M. Ivanov and Thomas de Thomon. In 1811 he graduated with several awards including the Large Gold Medal for his painting View from Petrovsky Island that gave him a scholarship to study abroad.

Sylvester left for Italy in 1818, delayed due to the Napoleonic Wars. In Italy, he studied the old masters in Rome; went to Naples to paint watercolors ordered by Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich of Russia; then returned to Rome. The biggest achievement of that period was New Rome. Castel Sant'Angelo (1823). It was such a great success that he painted 8-10 variations of the painting, each from a slightly different angle and with different details. His pension ended in 1823, but he decided to stay abroad as a freelance painter. In 1825 he finished his work Lake of Albano that was a new step in his movement to natural composition. In this painting he relaxed the boundary between subject and background, and moved from using formal colors.

Shchedrin had many commissions and grew to become a well-known artist in Italy. He lived in Rome and Naples, working en plein air, drawing bays and cliffs and views of small towns and fishermen villages. One of his favorite motifs were terraces in vines with a view of the sea. Referred as the images of the "Midday Paradis". At the end of the 1820s, Shchedrin began to draw uneasy, almost nightmarish nocturnal landscapes, which may have been inspired by his gradually declining health. He died in Sorrento in 1830. In a sense, the works of Shchedrin concluded a period of development of Russian art and started a new period.

Shchedrin influenced not only Russian art but Italian art as well. He was one of the founders of the so-called Posillipo school. Many of his works are in Italian museums while some were returned to Russia. Shchedrin's letters full of important artistic observations were published as a book (Shchedrin Letters from Italy) in 1932 and reprinted in 1978."

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Портрет певицы А. Я. Петровой (1841) / Portrait of Singer A. Ya. Petrova (1841)

"PETROVA-VOROBYEVA (nee Vorobyeva) Anna Yakovlevna (1817-1901, St. Petersburg), opera singer (contralto), actress, chamber singer. Wife of O.A. Petrov. Graduated from the Theatre School, studying ballet with Ch. Didelot, and singing with A. Sapienza and G.Y. Lomakin, and improved her vocals under the guidance of K.A. Cavos and M.I. Glinka. In 1833 she made her opera debut with the role of Pippo (The Thieving Magpie by G. Rossini). In 1835, after having played role of Arsace (Semiramide by G. Rossini), she became a soloist at the Petersburg Imperial Opera, working until that time in the choir. Her last role as an actress came in 1846, and as an opera singer in 1850). Her most recognized roles were: Vanya (A Life for the Tsar) and Ratmir (Ruslan and Lyudmila; both operas by Glinka); Tancredi (Tancredi by G. Rossini); Romeo (The Capulets and the Montagues) and Adalgisa (Norma; both by V. Bellini). Petrova-Vorobyeva had a wide-ranging voice with rare colours of tone, as well as a great dramatic talent and stage presence. Starting in 1832 she participated in concerts together with her husband: singing arias and duets from operas and romances by Glinka, A.S. Dargomizhsky, and M.P. Mussorgsky. She wrote Memoirs on the Occasion of the 500th Performance for the Tsar on 27 November, 1879 (Russkaya Starina. 1880. vol. 27. March. Reprinted as Glinka in Recollections of his Contemporaries. Moscow, 1955)."

Портрет И. А. Бека (1839) / Portrait of I. A. Beck (1839)

"Ivan Beck (1807-1842) - Russian poet and diplomat, the first husband of Mary Arkadyevna Stolypina.

A rich landowner, served by the diplomatic agencies of cameras - cadet and court counselor."

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Портрет М. А. Бек (1840) / Portrait of M. A. Beck (1840)

"Duchess Maria Arkadevna Vyazemskaya (Вяземская), nee Stolypina (Столыпина) - (1819-1889), the first marriage Beck - gofmeysterina, State lady; granddaughter of Count Admiral N. S. Mordvinov; great-aunt of the poet Mikhail Lermontov, the wife of a prominent figure in Russian culture Prince Paul Vyazemsky."

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Портрет М. А. Бек с дочерью М. И. Бек (1840) / Portrait of M. A. Beck with her daughter M. I. Beck (1840)

Портрет графини Ольги Ивановны Орловой-Давыдовой с дочерью Наталией Владимировной Орловой-Давыдовой / Portrait of Countess O. I. Orlova-Davydova and her daughter N. V. Orlova-Davydova (1834)

Olga Ivanovna Orlova-Davydova (nee Baryatinskaya) - (1814-1876).

Old April 4th, 2016 #34
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Портрет Антонио Титтони (1850-1852) / Portrait of Antonio Tittoni (1850-1852)

Портрет Анджело Титтони (1850-1852) / Portrait of Angelo Tittoni (1850-1852)

Портрет Винченцо Титтони (1850-1852) / Portrait of Vincenzo Tittoni (1850-1852)

Портрет Джульетты Титтони в виде Жанны д'Арк (1850-1852) / Portrait of Juliet Tittoni as Jeanna D'Ark (1850-1852)

Портрет Екатерины Титтони (1850-1852) / Portrait of Catherine Tittoni (1850-1852)

Портрет Мариано Титтони (1850-1852) / Portrait of Mariano Tittoni (1850-1852)

Портрет Терезы Микеле Титтони с сыновьями (1850-1852) / Portrait of Teresa Michele Tittoni with her sons (1850-1852)

Портрет архитектора И. А. Монигетти (1840) / Portrait of an Architect I. A. Monighetti (1840)

"Ippolit Antonovich Monighetti (1819–1878) was a Russian architect of Swiss descent who worked for the Romanov family.

Monighetti attended the Stroganov Art School and then studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts under Alexander Brullov, matriculating in 1839 with a gold medal. His extensive journeys in Egypt and Italy in the 1840s predetermined his interest in revivalist architecture.

Monighetti started his career as a fashionable architect by designing a cluster of villas in Tsarskoe Selo, notable those for Princess Yusupov and Prince Bagration. In 1850, he was commissioned by Nicholas I of Russia to stylise a Turkish bath in the Catherine Park as a little mosque. In the 1860s, Monighetti was responsible for refurbishing several rooms of the Catherine Palace.

On the strength of his success in Tsarskoe Selo, Monighetti was asked by Alexander II to design his summer residence in Livadiya, Crimea. Of his Crimean structures, only the neo-Byzantine church of the Livadia Palace still stands. He also refurbished the imperial yachts Livadia and Derzhava.

Monighetti's plan for the Yusupov Villa, 1856
In the 1870s, Monighetti designed new interiors for the Skierniewice Palace (near Warsaw), Anichkov Palace and the Yusupov Palace (both in Saint Petersburg). At the end of his life, Monighetti became interested in the Russian Revival. He applied the newly fashionable style to the Polytechnical Museum in Moscow, the Russian church in Vevey, Switzerland, and the sepulchre for Alexander II's illegitimate children in Tsarskoe Selo."

Text by Wikipedia.

Портрет археолога Микеланджело Ланчи (1851) / Portrait of the Archeologist Michelangelo Lanci (1851)

Портрет графа К. А. Поццо ди Борго (1833-1835) / Portrait of Count C. A. Pozzo di Borgo (1833-1835)

"Carlo Andrea, count Pozzo di Borgo (1764–1842), was a Corsican politician who became a Russian diplomat."

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Old April 4th, 2016 #35
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Karl Bryullov (VIII)

Прогулка (1849) / Promenade (1849)

Смерть Инессы де Кастро (1834) / Death of Inessa de Castro (1834)

"Inês de Castro (1325–1355) was a Galician noblewoman born of a Portuguese mother. She is best known as lover and posthumously-recognized wife of King Peter I of Portugal. The dramatic circumstances of her relationship with Peter I, which was forbidden by his father King Afonso IV, her murder at the orders of Afonso, Peter's bloody revenge on her killers, and the legend of the coronation of her exhumed corpse by Peter, have made Inês de Castro a frequent subject of art, music, and drama through the ages."

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Сладкие воды близ Константинополя (1849) / Sweet Waters Near Constantinople (1849)

Прерванное свидание (1823-1827) / Interrupted rendez-vous (1823-1827)

Праздник сбора винограда (1827) / Grape Harvest Celebration (1827)

Политическая демонстрация в Риме в 1846 году (1850) / Political Demonstration in Rome in 1846 (1850)

Деревня св. Рокка близ города Корфу (1835) / Village of San Rocco near the Town of Corfu (1835)

В гареме. "По установлению Аллаха раз а год меняется рубаха" (1823-1835) / In a Harem. "By Allah's Order Underwear Should Be Changed Once a Year" (1823-1835)

Сон молодой девушки перед рассветом (1830-1833) / A Dream of a Girl Before a Sunrise (1830-1833)

Вечерня (1825) / Vespers (1825)

Old April 5th, 2016 #36
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Karl Bryullov (IX)

Портрет поэта В. А. Жуковского (1837) / Portrait of V. A. Zhukovsky (1837)

"February 9, 1783-April 24, 1852

Vasily Zhukovsky was an outstanding 19th century Russian poet. Aleksandr Pushkin, arguably the country’s greatest poet, wrote of Zhukovsky: “I am not his successor, but rather his pupil... Nobody has had or will have as powerful and varied a poetic voice as his.”

A translator of poetry from a variety of European languages, Zhukovsky brought the spirit of European Romanticism to Russia. Among others, he translated Byron, Schiller, Goethe and Walter Scott into Russian. His impact on Russian literature was that much greater by dint of his sheer talent: His poetry ranges from the short lyric to the epic, and his writing includes prose, drama and critical essays. His poems ‘Ludmila’ and ‘Svetlana’ were based on German medieval folklore, and popularized the ballad in Russia. His elegies and ballads were also a source of inspiration for many Russian poets. Zhukovsky wrote notable lyrics and odes, including the patriotic poem ‘The Bard in the Camp of the Russian Warriors’ (1812) that saw Russian verse attaining a new sense of flexibility and grace.

An outsider childhood

Vasily Zhukovsky was the son of Afanasy Bunin, a landowner of property in the town of Mishenskoe in the Tula province. Bunin's wife Maria was not Zhukovsky’s mother, however. A serf on the Bunin estate had gone to fight in one of Russia’s many campaigns against the Turks. As he departed, Bunin jokingly asked him to bring him back a good-looking Turkish girl, since his wife was getting old. The servant obliged, and in 1770 Bunin found himself in the company of 16-year-old Salkha, already a widow as her husband had been killed in a battle with the Russians for the fort at Bendery. She was christened Elizaveta, and installed in an outlying part of the manor.

Bunin had three daughters by Elizaveta, all of whom died in infancy, and a son: The future poet Zhukovsky. Bunin's wife, all but one of whose children had died, raised the boy as her own. He was given the family name of his godfather Andrey Zhukovsky, a relative who survived on the charity of the Bunins. Young Vasily’s somewhat bizarre situation was complicated by the fact that his mother was also employed as a housekeeper on the estate, while his considerably older half-sister, the Bunins' daughter, behaved more like a second mother than a sibling towards him. When Bunin died in 1791, the boy received nothing in his will, but Maria Bunina still treated him as a member of the family. Though Zhukovsky's childhood was mostly a happy one, his confused familial situation left him a wistful outsider in a tribe of more than a dozen female cousins and nieces.

Zhukovsky grew up in a pious home atmosphere full of poetry, amateur theatrics and music-making, which clearly fostered both his literary calling and his philosophical disposition and character.

A future poet takes shape

Zhukovsky’s earliest poetic efforts, which have been lost, were likely written before he was ten. By the age of 12, he had composed a classical drama inspired by Roman history that was enthusiastically performed and warmly received in the family. He was also very fond of drawing, which he practiced since the age of four when he made a chalk drawing of Jesus Christ on the floor of the manor, copying it from an icon.

A maid discovered the drawing and fell on her knees, incessantly bowing in prayer. She insisted that the room had suddenly been lit with divine light, and claimed she heard sounds of music; the doors opened, and she said she saw the drawing appear by itself. The young artist spoiled the fantasy, revealing that he had created the calk artwork. Later on, Zhukovsky became famous in the annals of Russian art as a master of landscape painting and travel sketches.

Zhukovsky's education began in 1789 at a private school in Tula, the provincial capital, and continued at the city’s main public school.

Though clearly a bright child, he had difficulties paying attention in the strict classroom atmosphere of the public school, from which he was expelled in 1794 for lack of progress. For the next three years he was tutored at home with the girls of the family, and in 1797 he was sent to the Moscow University Preparatory School for Nobles. The school was a prestigious institution where many lessons were taught by Moscow University professors, and matriculated many notable Russians. The head of the school and the director of Moscow University, Ivan Turgenev, was a Freemason like his friend Afanasy Bunin. The school imparted on its students the Masonic ideals of moral self-improvement, charity and civic duty.

Zhukovsky formed the first deep friendships of his life there, particularly with the Turgenev brothers, the sons of the university’s director. He began to write while still attending preparatory school; by the time he graduated, he had already published several poems and articles in literary periodicals. He also began what became one of his principal forms of literary activity: Unable to afford books for class, he earned money by translating the works of the popular German writer and state official August von Kotzebue.

Early dedication to poetry and prose

One noteworthy stage of Zhukovsky's literary career was his participation in Journal of Europe, the leading Russian journal of the first decade of the 19th century. In 1802, Zhukovsky published in the journal a free translation of Thomas Gray's ‘Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard.’ The translation introduced Russian readers to Zhukovsky’s sentimental-melancholy style, and earned him immediate fame. Today, this elegy is cited as the origin point of Russian Romanticism.

In 1808, famous Russian writer Nikolay Karamzin asked Zhukovsky to take over the editorship of his journal, the European Messenger. The young poet used his new post to explore Romantic themes, motifs and genres. Zhukovsky dedicated much of his best poetic work to his half-niece Masha Protasova. He held an unrequited love for her since she was 12, which clouded his personal life for years. His passionate, but futile, affair with Masha became an indelible part of his poetic personality.

Napoleon invades in 1812, a patriot is born

When French Emperor Napoleon I invaded Russia in 1812, Zhukovsky joined the Russian army with the general staff under Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov. While in the military service, he wrote many patriotic verses; the poem ‘A Bard in the Camp of the Russian Warriors’ helped Zhukovsky establish his reputation at the imperial court. He later composed the lyrics for the national anthem of Imperial Russia, ‘God Save the Tsar!’

After the war, he became a courtier in St. Petersburg, where he founded the Arzamas literary society to promote European-oriented, anti-classicist aesthetics. Members of Arzamas included a teenaged Aleksandr Pushkin. The two became lifelong friends, and Pushkin was greatly influenced by his older friend as he increasingly relied on Zhukovsky’s protection and patronage.

Unsuited for life in court

In 1816, Zhukovsky was offered a prestigious position teaching Russian to a young princess, which included a high salary and an apartment on the palace’s premises. His friends teased that he would become famous as a court poet, with his talent wasted on madrigals and lyrics. But they were mistaken: Honest and unable to play the hypocrite, Zhukovsky was not fit for the idiosyncrasies of court etiquette. His open demeanor played a key role in his relationship with the royal family, however – in 1826, the poet was appointed the tutor of the future Emperor Alexander II. His progressive curriculum had a powerful influence on the young Alexander.

His high position at court also offered Zhukovsky a chance to express public support for free-thinking writers as Mikhail Lermontov, Aleksandr Herzen, Taras Shevchenko. When Zhukovsky learned that Pushkin had been mortally wounded in a duel, he rushed to see the dying poet. After Pushkin's untimely death in 1837, Zhukovsky not only rescued his papers and archives – including several unpublished masterpieces – from censorship, he also collected and prepared them for publication. In doing so, he perhaps ensured Pushkin’s now-famous legacy. It was Zhukovsky who secured permission to publish Pushkin’s complete works, which began appearing a year after the poet’s death.

Throughout the 1830s and 1840s, Zhukovsky promoted the career of another close friend, the great satirist Nikolay Gogol. Following the example of his mentor Nikolay Karamzin, Zhukovsky traveled across Europe throughout his life, meeting and corresponding with cultural icons like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, or landscape painter Caspar David Friedrich. One of his early acquaintances was the popular German writer Friedrich de LaMotte-Fouquet, whose prose novella ‘Undine’ was a bestseller in Europe. In the late 1830s, Zhukovsky published an original translation of the novella that reestablished his position among the poetic avant-garde.

In 1841, Zhukovsky retired from court and settled in Germany, where he married the 18-year-old Elizabeth Reitern, the daughter of an artist friend. The couple later had two children. He devoted much of his life to a hexameter translation of Homer's ‘Odyssey,’ which he finally published in 1849. Although the translation was far from accurate, it became a classic in its own right and occupies a prominent perch in the history of Russian poetry. Some scholars argue that both his Odyssey and Undina are long narrative works that made important, though oblique, contributions to the development of the Russian novel.

Zhukovsky died in Germany in 1852, and is buried in the Aleksandr Nevsky Lavra in St. Petersburg."

Written by Tatyana Klevantseva -

Портрет баснописца И. А. Крылова (1839) / Portrait of I. A. Krylov (1839)

"February 2, 1769 – November 21, 1844

Ivan Andreevich Krylov was a Russian poet, fabulist, translator and writer. He is the author of more than 200 fables.

Krylov was born in Moscow into the family of a poor army captain. He did not receive an exceptional education, but his parents paid great attention to his upbringing, and with time, he became one of the most learned people of his era. When he was six, his father resigned from the army and the family moved to Tver. There, the young fabulist impressed the local landlord Nikolay Lvov with his poetry and the landlord allowed him to study together with his children.

Krylov’s father was assigned to work for a local county court, although it was just a formality, as he almost never appeared in the office and didn’t receive any salary. In 1778 his father died, leaving a chest filled with books as Ivan’s inheritance. Krylov’s mother tried to get a pension, but was turned down and the family ended up in poverty.

Five years later Krylov moved to St. Petersburg to work as a regional secretary, and soon brought his mother and younger brother Lev to the capital. Despite his work, literature was his main occupation at the time. This did not change when his mother died and he was left to take care for his brother alone. At the time, Krylov wrote mainly for the theater. He created the librettos for the comic operas “The Coffee Box” (“Kofeynitsa”) and “The Rabid Family” (“Beshenaya semya”), the tragedies “Cleopatra” and “Philomela” and the comedy “The Composer at the Entrance” (“Sochinitel v prikhozhey”). These works brought neither money nor fame to the young author, but they helped him make a place for himself in the St. Petersburg literary circles. He was patronized by the famous playwright Yakov Knyazhnin, but Krylov broke their ties because of his own pride. After that, he wrote the comedy “The Pranksters,” whose lead characters hinted at Knyazhnin and his wife. “The Pranksters” was a more mature work, but the staging of it was prohibited and Krylov had his relations spoiled not only with the Knyazhnins, but also with the theater directorate, upon whom the fate of any dramatic work depended.

Starting from the end of the 1780s, Krylov’s main work was in the field of journalism. In January 1789, he began publishing a monthly satiric magazine called “The Spirit Mail” (“Pochta dukhov”), which derided noblemen’s vices and bureaucracy. However, eight months later the magazine closed down because it had too few subscribers. The following year Krylov left journalism and decided to dedicate himself fully to literature. He became the owner of a publishing house and together with his friend, the writer Klushin, he started to publish a new magazine, “The Viewer” (“Zritel”), which became more popular than the previous one. A year later, it was renamed the “St. Petersburg Mercury,” but at the end of the year, it ceased publication. Krylov left St. Petersburg for several years. There is no accurate information about his life during this period. In 1797 Krylov appeared at Prince Golitsyn’s estate, where he worked as the prince’s secretary and his children’s teacher.

Two years later Krylov wrote the play “Trumf or Podshchipa” for a home performance at the Golitsyns. The pièce ridiculed Emperor Pavel I Romanov and the irony of the play was so pointed that it was only published in 1871. After the Emperor’s death, prince Golitsyn was appointed Governor General of Riga, and Krylov worked as his secretary for two more years before resigning in 1803. The only thing that is known about next two years of his life is that it was the time he started writing fables. Upon arriving in Moscow in 1806, he showed the famous poet and fabulist Ivan Dmitriev his translation of two Jean de La Fontaine fables, “The Oak and the Cane” and “The Picky Bride.” In 1806 Krylov published three fables, before returning to dramaturgy.

In 1807 he wrote three plays that gained major popularity and success on the stage, “The Fashion Shop” (“Modnaya lavka”), “A Lesson For the Daughters” (“Urok dochkam”) and “Ilya the Bogatyr.” The former two were especially successful, as each of them in its own way laughed at the nobility’s attraction to French language, fashion and manners. The plays were staged multiple times, and “The Fashion Shop” was even staged at the royal court. Despite his theatrical success, Krylov quit playwriting and started to devote more and more time to fables.

In a year, he wrote 17 fables, including the famous “Moska and the Elephant” (“Slon i Moska”). In 1809, his first fable collection was published, affording Krylov instant popularity. Krylov worked on his fables until his last days; in 1844 his friends received the last edition of his fables together with the notification of his death.

At first, translations or interpretations of La Fontaine’s fables prevailed in Krylov’s works (“The Dragonfly and the Ant,” “The Wolf and the Lamb”), but he soon started inventing more and more plots of his own, many of which were connected to the burning issues of contemporary Russian life. He reacted to various political events with fables like “The Quartet” (“Kvartet”) and “The Wolf in the Kennels” (“Volk na psarne”). More abstract plots were the basis of “The Curious” (“Lyuboytny”) and “The Hermit and the Bear” (“Pustynnik i medved”). Working in a new genre completely changed Krylov’s reputation. Through the first half of his life he was practically unknown and suffered from money troubles and hardships; now, he was showered with honors and enjoyed universal respect as his books were published in enormous runs.

Together with popular acclaim came official recognition. Starting in 1810, Krylov worked first as assistant librarian, then as librarian in the Imperial Public Library in St. Petersburg. At the same time, he received a growing pension “as respect for exceptional talents in Russia’s language arts.” He was elected a member of the Russian Academy and awarded a gold medal for literary achievements, along with many other awards and honors. Even so, Krylov’s popularity was characterized by a multitude of half-legendary stories about his laziness, gluttony and sharp wit.

Although his fables were translated to the French and Italian languages, Krylov remained hostile to Westernism throughout his life.

Towards the end of his life Krylov suffered two cerebral hemorrhages, but recovered at Empress Mariya Fedorovna’s palace in Pavlovsk. Soon after, however, he died in St. Petersburg. His death was caused, according to various sources, either by over-eating or pneumonia. He is buried in the Necropolis of the Masters of Arts."

Written by Aleksandr Bondarenko -

Портрет А. Н. Львова (1824) / Portrait of A. N. Lvov (1824)

"Alexander Lvov (1786-1849) - was a Lieutenant Colonel Konnoegerskogo regiment, a member of the War of 1812, art connoisseur and patron of artists."

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Портрет военного со слугой (1830-е) / Portrait of the Military and his servant (1830s)

Портрет сестер А. А. и О. А. Шишмарёвых (1839) / Portrait of the Sisters (Shishmariova) - (1839)

Всадники. Парный портрет Е. Мюссара и Э. Мюссар (1849) / Riders. Portrait of Ye. Mussart and E. Mussart (1849)

Ольга Ферзен на ослике (1835) / Portrait of O. P. Ferzen on a Donkey (1835)

Портрет архитектора и художника А. П. Брюллова (1841) / Portrait of the Architect and Painter Alexander Bryullov (1841)

Портрет скульптора И. П. Витали (1836-1837) / Portrait of Sculptor I. P. Vitaly (1836-1837)

"Giovanni Vitali, better known as Ivan Vitali (1794- 1855) - was a Russian sculptor of Italian origin, muralist, portraitist and teacher.


Chariot of Glory and relief "Liberation of Moscow" for the Triumphal Arch in Moscow (cast iron, 1829-1834);

Fountain in Theatre Square in Moscow (bronze, 1835)

Fountain on Lubyanka Square in Moscow (bronze, 1835)

reliefs "Adoration of the Magi" and "St. Isaac of Dalmatia "to the south and west gables of St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg (1841-1843)

a bronze statue of Paul I of (set in Gatchina , a copy - in Pavlovsk )

bust of Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich (Russian Museum) (bronze, 1848)

bust of Karl Bryullov (Hermitage)

Venus statue (Russian Museum)

"Hercules, amazing hydra"

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Натурщик (1821-1822) / The model (1821-1822)

Old April 14th, 2016 #37
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Vladimir Volegov

Vladimir Volegov (Владимир Волегов) was born in Khabarovsk - December 19, 1957.

White flowers

Girl peaches



In green boat

Path to sea


Together on sand



You can see the other pictures of the artist on his website -
Old April 23rd, 2016 #38
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Orest Kiprensky

Орест Адамович Кипренский (1782-1836).

Автопортрет с кистями за ухом (1808) / Self-portrait with brushes behind the ear (1808)

Автопортрет (1809) / Self-portrait (1809)

Автопортрет (1820) / Self-portrait (1820)

Автопортрет (1828) / Self-portrait (1828)

Автопортрет (1828) / Self-portrait (1828)

"Painter, graphic artist and portraitist. His mother was a serf, who was set free receiving a freedom note after he was born. From 1788 to 1803 he studied under G.F. Doiyen and G.I. Ugryumov at the Academy of Arts, where he attended historical painting classes. In 1805 he was awarded with the gold medal for the painting "Dmitry Donskoy after the Victory over Mamai". The medal gave him the opportunity to travel abroad on a pension (scholarship), unfortunately, he was unable to go as war started with Napoleon. From 1809-1810 Kiprensky lived and worked in Moscow, in 1811 he moved to Tver. In 1812 he returned to St.Petersburg, where he became famous as a brilliant portraitist. In 1816 the Empress Elizaveta Alexeyevna decided to finance a trip to Italy, where the artist remained until 1822. In that year a number of his works were exhibited at the Parisian Salon. In 1823 arrived back in Russia. On his way back he visited J.W. Goethe in Marienbad (now Marianske-Lazne, Czech Republic) and produced a pencil portrait of him. In 1827 O.A.Kiprensky painted his famous portrait of A.S. Pushkin. In late 1828 the artist left for Italy again, where he lived until his death. O.A. Kiprensky was the first Romanticist artist in Russian art. His main genre was portraits, he portrayed the model with new understanding and as an independent personality. Kiprensky's characters are remarkable in their inner freedom and incredible naturalness. They are overwhelmed by emotion, capable of deep and strong feelings, which sometimes turn out to be fleeting and contradictory. Each character that the artist painted was a "tiny universe". In his later work, the master displays features of classicism combined with a sharp linear structure, relative flatness and bright, defined colourful areas. Interpreting an individual has become more uniquely systematic. O.A. Kiprensky is a brilliant master of the graphic portrait (the most characteristic example is the Portrait of Count S.P. Buturlin, 1824), becoming an independent genre in Russian art during the early 19th century. All his life O.A. Kiprensky was greatly acknowledged in Europe. In 1825 his self-portrait was acquired by the renowned Uffici Gallery in Florence where it was displayed along with the collection of portraits of celebrated European artists."

Дмитрий Донской на Куликовом поле (1805) / Dmitry Donskoy after the Victory over Mamai (1805)

"Saint Dmitry Ivanovich Donskoy (Russian: Дми́трий Ива́нович Донско́й,also known as Dimitrii or Demetrius), or Dmitry of the Don, sometimes referred to simply as Dmitry (12 October 1350 in Moscow – 19 May 1389 in Moscow), son of Ivan II the Fair of Moscow (1326–1359), reigned as the Prince of Moscow from 1359 and Grand Prince of Vladimir from 1363 to his death. He was the first prince of Moscow to openly challenge Mongol authority in Russia. His nickname, Donskoy (i.e., "of the Don"), alludes to his great victory against the Tatars in the Battle of Kulikovo (1380), which took place on the Don River. He is venerated as a Saint in the Orthodox Church with his feast day on 19 May."

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Юпитер и Меркурий, посещающие в виде странников Филимона и Бавкиду (1802) / Jupiter and Mercury, in the form of visiting pilgrims Philemon and Baucis (1802)

"In Ovid's moralizing fable (Metamorphoses VIII:621-96), which stands on the periphery of Greek mythology and Roman mythology, Baucis and Philemon were an old married couple in the region of Tyana, which Ovid places in Phrygia, and the only ones in their town to welcome disguised gods Zeus and Hermes (in Roman mythology, Jupiter and Mercury respectively), thus embodying the pious exercise of hospitality, the ritualized guest-friendship termed xenia, or theoxenia when a god was involved."

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Тибуртинская Сивилла (1830) / Tiburtine Sibyl (1830)

"The Tiburtine Sibyl or Albunea was a Roman sibyl, whose seat was the ancient Etruscan town of Tibur (modern Tivoli)."

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Вид Везувия в зимнее время (1830) / View of Mount Vesuvius in winter (1830)

"Mount Vesuvius (Italian: Monte Vesuvio, Latin: Mons Vesuvius) is a stratovolcano in the Gulf of Naples, Italy, about 9 km (5.6 mi) east of Naples and a short distance from the shore. It is one of several volcanoes which form the Campanian volcanic arc. Vesuvius consists of a large cone partially encircled by the steep rim of a summit caldera caused by the collapse of an earlier and originally much higher structure.

Mount Vesuvius is best known for its eruption in AD 79 that led to the burying and destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and several other settlements. That eruption ejected a cloud of stones, ash, and fumes to a height of 33 km (20.5 mi), spewing molten rock and pulverized pumice at the rate of 1.5 million tons per second, ultimately releasing a hundred thousand times the thermal energy released by the Hiroshima bombing. An estimated 16,000 people died due to hydrothermal pyroclastic flows. The only surviving eyewitness account of the event consists of two letters by Pliny the Younger to the historian Tacitus.

Vesuvius has erupted many times since and is the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted within the last hundred years. Today, it is regarded as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world because of the population of 3,000,000 people living nearby and its tendency towards explosive (Plinian) eruptions. It is the most densely populated volcanic region in the world."

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Богоматерь с младенцем (1806-1809) / Madonna with the Child (1806-1809)

Old April 23rd, 2016 #39
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Orest Kiprensky (II)

Конный портрет Александра I (1820) (Л. Поль по оригиналу Кипренского) / Equestrian portrait of Alexander I (1820) (L. Paul by a Kiprensky's original)

Alexander I was the first son of Emperor Paul I.

Александр I (1825) / Alexander I (1825)

Портрет Великого князя Николая Павловича (1814) / Portrait of Grand Duke Nikolay Pavlovich (1814)

Nikolay Pavlovich (Nicholas I) was the third son of Emperor Paul I

Великий князь Николай Павлович / Grand Duke Nikolay Pavlovich

Портрет Великого князя Михаила Павловича / Portrait of Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich

Mikhail Pavlovich was the fourth son of Emperor Paul I.

Портрет Великого князя Михаила Павловича (1819) / Portrait of Grand Duke Mikhail Pavlovich (1819)

Портрет принца Георгия Петровича Ольденбургского (1811) / Portrait of Prince Georgy Petrovich Oldenburgsky (1811)

"Duke George of Oldenburg (1784-1812) was a younger son of Peter I, Grand Duke of Oldenburg and his wife Duchess Frederica of Württemberg. He was a son-in-law of Paul I of Russia through marriage to his daughter Grand Duchess Catherine Pavlovna of Russia. He was referred to as a prince in Russia, Prince Georgy Petrovich Oldenburgsky."

Text by Wikipedia.

Портрет Сергея Кузьмича Вязмитинова / Portrait of Sergey Vyazmitinov

"Count Sergey Kuzmich Vyazmitinov (1744-1819) - (Russian: Серге́й Кузьмич Вязьмитинов), was a Russian general and statesman.

He descended from the ancient noble landowner's family of Ruthenian origin, known from the end of the 15th century. On 22 June 1759 he was recorded as corporal into the Observational Corps, but started service only on 21 December 1761 as ensign of Ukrainian Narodnoe Opolcheniye Corps. In 1762 he was moved into Manezh Company (Манежная рота).

During the Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774 he was aide-de-camp of the Vice President of the War Collegium Count Zakhar Chernyshev, from 1770 he was a generals-auditor-lieutenants in the rank of premier-major, manager of the affairs of the march office of Chernyshev (from October 1771 of Count Peter Rumyantsev-Zadunaysky). In 1777 he was promoted to Colonel and was appointed as the commander of Astrakhan infantry regiment.

On 22 September 1786 he obtained the rank of Major General and became the commander of the Astrakhan grenadier regiment for whose formation he was chiefly responsible. During Russo-Turkish War, 1787-1792 he commanded joined forces of the chasseurs and grenadiers battalions and participated in the taking of Khotin, Akkerman and Bendery.

From 1 March 1790 Vyazmyatinov was the ruler of Mogilev's deputy and the commander of Belarusian chasseur Corps. On 2 September 1793 he was promoted to lieutenant-general, from 4 March 1794 Senator. In September 1794 he was appointed acting Governor General of Simbirsk and Ufa.

From 1795 he commanded the Orenburg Corps. He helped stifle a rebellion of Kyrgyz and secured election as the khan of the Russian-backed puppet. From 29 November 1796 he was Orenburg military governor and the chief of Moscow musketeer regiment. He was a military governor of Kamenets-Podolskiy from 1 December 1796, from 3 December 1796 Governor General of Malorossiya, from 13 January 1797 commandant of Peter and Paul Fortress and the chief of its garrison regiment. Simultaneously (from 24 April 1797) he commanded the Commissariat Department.

On 5 November 1799 Vyazmyatinov was dismissed from the military service. On 9 September 1801 he was appointed the civil governor of Malorossiya. From 1 January 1802 he was the Vice President of the War Collegium and from 15 January simultaneously a senator and a member of the Permanent Council (Непременный Совет). After the creation of Ministry of Land Forces on 8 September he become the first Defense Minister of Russia and carried out enormous work on the reorganization of the Arms Forces Administration.

During his departure into front-line army (1805) emperor Aleksander I left Vyazmitinov as the commander-in-chief in St.Petersburg. 13 January 1808 he was dismissed (one of the reasons were the large scale of abuses by the commissariat officials). On 20 April 1811 he was newly accepted to the service, and with appointment as a member of the State Council.

From 25 March 1812 he was a member of the Committee of Ministers, and from 28 March Vyazmitinov was the commander-in-chief in St.Petersburg during absence of the Emperor, managing the Ministry of Police. Simultaneously, from 9 September 1812 he was the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, and from 30 October 1816 military Governor General of St.Petersburg.

On 19 August 1818 Vyazmitinov was granted a comital title. He was buried in the Lazarev burial-vault of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery."

Text by Wikipedia.

Портрет Г. Г. Кушелева (1827) / Portrait of Grigory Grigorievich Kushelev (1827)

"Earl (1799) Grigory Kushelev (1754-1833) - Russian state and military figure, Admiral (from 24 November 1798). During the reign of Paul I exercised de facto leadership of the Russian fleet. It belonged to the ancient family Kushelev.

At the age of ten, March 30, 1766 the year enlisted in the Naval Cadet Corps. On May 12 1767 the year promoted to the rank of midshipman, in 1769, he became a sergeant. In 1767-1770 years annually sailed on the Baltic Sea on training ships, made ​​the transition from Arkhangelsk to Kronstadt. 20 on April 1770 year promoted to the rank of warrant officer. June 22 of the same year was appointed adjutant of the battalion of marine soldier. He participated in the First Archipelago Expedition. On March 5 1774 the year promoted to the rank of lieutenant. By that same year, when he returned from the Mediterranean Kushelev in Kronstadt, relates his acquaintance with the prince Paul Petrovich. Kushelev always enjoyed the location and Paul are among the few persons from the environment of the latter, who never fell into his disgrace, both before and after accession.

In 1776 Lieutenant Kushelev was fired on vacation for the year. In 1777 he was appointed member of the Commission for the drawing up of the description of the expedition to the Archipelago. December 31 1779 the year at his own request, "the weakness of health", dismissed from the service with the rank of lieutenant commander.

30 on March 1786 the year the same rank returned to service. Grand Duke Paul Petrovich, "Fleet of the Russian General-Admiral" Kushelev appointed commander Gatchin fleet, which stood on the lakes and belong to the Crown Prince's own troops. In 1788 Kushelev accompanied the Grand Duke during his stay in the Finnish army. In the same year he published the book "Military navigator, or a collection of various ships in the war consumed."

On May 9 1790 the year "in the argument zealous correction assigned to it cases and for long-term stay of the present rank of" promoted to the captain rank 2nd rank, and on February 9 1793 the year - Captain 1st rank, but in general his career advancement when Catherine II has been slow.

On the accession of Paul I on November 7 1796 the year he was appointed adjutant-general. The next day was promoted to major general on the fleet. November 9 was awarded the Order of St. Anna 1-st degree. On March 3 1798 the year promoted to the rank of Vice Admiral. On November 1 1798 year was appointed vice-president of the Admiralty Board, and on November 24 the same year, promoted to admiral. December 9 was awarded the diamond marks the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky.

February 22 1799 the year Kushelev elevated to the Count's dignity and in the same year on June 29, was awarded the Order of St. Andrew. In addition, he received from Paul's extensive land holdings. The wealth of 45-year-old widower has increased after his second marriage (13 October 1799) with a 16-year-old Countess Love Ilinichnoj Bezborodko (1783 - 1809), the richest Russian bride of his time. Movable and immovable property of her share of the inheritance from his uncle, Prince A. Bezborodko , who died in 1799, was estimated at more than 10 million rubles, not counting capital.

According to A. Shishkov, Paul I was extremely unhappy marriage Kushelev, suspected him of dishonest gain.

Despite this resentment of the emperor, 7 March 1800 the year Kushelev was appointed chief director of the Department of Water Communications and roads.

Throughout the reign of Paul I Kushelev activity has been associated with the Navy. Through it went almost all the orders of the Emperor of the Marine part. Count Kushelev paid much attention to improve the ship's affairs, was collecting marine charts, buy the best foreign atlases. With him and with his immediate participation was drawn up a new "Charter of the navy", published February 25 1797 the year; Kushelev wrote "Discourse on naval signals serving to order navies" (Part 1 - 1797, Part 2 - 1799), with 1,000 copies of the 1 st part were purchased from the treasury of the author for distribution naval officers.

Kushelev was among the few who immediately after the accession to the throne of Alexander I was removed from the cases. After retirement he lived at his estate of Pskov, where he studied agriculture, in St. Petersburg, where his wife lived with their children, are rare. Kushelev enjoyed the location of the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna to the end of her days."

Text by Wikipedia.

Портрет В. С. Шереметева (1825) / Portrait of V. S. Sheremetev (1825)

"Vasily Sergeyevich Sheremetev (1752-1831) - Major General, the ruler of Izyaslav (Volyn) province of untitled branch of the Sheremetev.

Began service in 1766, he in 1784 was promoted to colonel and soon transferred to the light-horse Poltava regiment. Produced in 1791, a major general, Sheremetev two years later was granted to the Prime Majors easy-horse Poltava regiment and was awarded the Order of St. Anna 1-st degree. The following year he was appointed governor Izyaslav province and received the Order of St. Vladimir 2 nd degree. After serving in the position of ruler of the province Izyaslav 1½ years Sheremetev retired, but in 1796 again joined and was appointed governor of Volyn province."

Text by Wikipedia.

Old April 23rd, 2016 #40
Alex Him
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Orest Kiprensky (III)

Девочка в маковом венке с гвоздикой в руке (Мариучча?) (1819) / Girl in a Poppy Garland (Mariucca?) (1819)

Молодой садовник (1817) / Young Gardener (1817)

Мечтательница (1826-1827) / Dreamer (1826-1827)

Неаполитанская девочка с плодами (1831) / Neapolitan girl with the fruits (1831)

Неаполитанские мальчики-рыбаки (1829) / Neapolitan boy-fishermen (1829)

Портрет мальчика (1819) / Portrait of a boy (1819)

Портрет неизвестного мальчика (1812) / Portrait of a unknown boy (1812)

Подмастерье / Apprentice

Мать с ребенком (1809) / Mother and child (1809)

Бедная Лиза (1827) / Poor Lisa (1827)

This is the character of the work of Karamzin.

"Nikolay Mikhailovich Karamzin (1766-1826) - (Russian: Никола́й Миха́йлович Карамзи́н) was a Russian writer, poet, historian and critic. He is best remembered for his History of the Russian State, a 12-volume national history.

...Karamzin also published translations from French and some original stories, including Poor Liza and Natalia the Boyar's Daughter (both 1792). These stories introduced Russian readers to sentimentalism, and Karamzin was hailed as "a Russian Sterne."

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