Category Archives: Imperial Russia
New Russian Classics (www.realartist.ru) is a website which seeks to promote and sell works by modern Russian artists in the genre of realism. While the site doesn’t appear to have been updated since 2009, the paintings available on it are worth a look, the majority of which are shown in this post.
Aleksandr Yurievich Averyanov is an artist famous for painting Russian battle scenes such as the Battle of 1812. Born in 1950 in the town of Lopasnya, Averyanov graduated from the M.I. Kalinin Moscow School of Art. Inspired by the works of his teacher, Sergey Prisekin, Averyanov is known for his paintings displaying Russian scenes of war, placing him at the forefront of traditionalist art revival during the 90’s. Averyanov’s simulataneous depiction of the chaos of war and nature of the lands in which they are set in have earned his works a place in several museums and private collections.
The site’s second artist is Aleksey Vitalievich Yevstigneyev, a landscape artist who depicts scenes of both the past and present. Born in Moscow on 1955, Yevstingneyev graduated from the Surikov Institute of Art and in 1984 became a member of the Union of Artists of the USSR and has been recognized by the American Biographic Society and the Russian Academy of Arts for his works. the majority of Yestigneyev’s works depict various places of Europe he has traveled to, although he has made a number of historic works as well.
Vasiliy Dmitrievich Yezdakov was born on 1929 and was a member of the Union of Artists of the Soviet Union. Vasiliy Yezdakov’s works are scenes of naval and fisherman life, possibly leading him to become an influence on his son, Oleg who is also featured on the New Russian Classics site.
Oleg Vasilievich Yezdakov, a painter who has created works ranging from landscapes to portraits of military officials. Born on 1959 to a family of artists in Moscow, Yezdakov also became a member of the Union of Artists of the USSR after graudating from the Surikov institute of Art. Yezdakov’s works are mostly comprised of nature paintings although his interest in the history of the Russian Military led to creation of several dioramas displayed in the Central Moscow Exhibition Center in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the USSR’s victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War.
Kira Sergeyevna Ivanova was born on 1928 in Samara. Graduating from the Moscow State Institute of Art, she too had become a member of the Union of Artists of the USSR and has participated in much of the union’s exhibitions. Her paintings, several of which have been created with her husband, Vasiliy Dmitrievich Yezdakov are mostly scenes of still life, historical battles, and the sea. Currently living in Moscow, she has since produced over 250 works, many of which have found places abroad in Western Europe.
Aleksandr Ivanovich Kurochkin was born in 1948 and attended the Oryol State Pedagogical Institute. In addition to teaching art he previously held a position as director for the Serpukhov Museum of History and Art. Kurochkin’s paintings which range from landscapes to still life, are found in various State museums in Russia as well as abroad in other countries.
Born in 1957, Aleksandr Sytov also attended the Surikov Institute of Art and been involved in various projects in art including the restoration of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, for which he was awarded the Order of Honour by President Dmitriy Medvedev. Several of Sytov’s works, which are primarily landscapes and portraits have been displayed at exhibitions in America as well as Russia.
Leonid Lvovich Shtrikman was born in 1968 in Moscow. Shtrikman attended the Moscow School of Art and later worked as a restorer of paintings for a state memorial in Kolomna. Like others here, Shtrikman’s works are mostly portraits and landscapes of various Russian figures and places.
Lastly is Sergei Nikolaevich Prisekin, arguably the most well-known of these artists. Born in 1959, Prisekin attended the Surikov Institute of Art and has since become an accomplished artists, today holding the position of Academician at the Moscow Academy of Arts. Prisekin’s travels to various parts of the Earth such as Latin America have added to his bright career as an artist, several of his works are even located within the Kremlin Palace itself. Primarily an artist of portraits, he has created several historical works dealing with periods such as the War of 1812 or the Great Patriotic War, possessing intricate detail, comparable to the likes of Ilya Glazunov.
In 1914, prior to the Communist revolution, several postcards were made depicting how Moscow would have looked like in the future, still under monarchial rule. The postcards depict daily life in different parts of the city, with the addition of everything from subways to airborne public transportation, things probably seen as standard methods of transport for the future.
Several years ago, these postcards were apparently discovered after Eyinem, a chocolate company, included reprints of these in their products. Since then, the postcards have been featured on several Russian blogs. The entire set (or at least the only ones available on the internet) are below, albeit in low quality as I was not able to find the originals in any larger size. Accompanying captions originally included on the back of these cards have also been included here.
Classics Illustrated was a series of comic books released periodically from 1941 to 1971. The series usually contained adaptions of famous literary works in graphic novel format. Among the comics were three novels from Polish and Russian literature as well an adaption of Jules Verne’s Michael Strogoff, which is set in Russia. Knowing the rarity of finding such books in comic form, I would like to share these by making them available to you, in their original version, ads and such included.
The first comic is an adaption of Jules Verne’s Michael Strogoff, which is considered by some to be one of his best non-science fiction works. The original book takes place during a Tartar rebellion and centers around a courier sent to deliver a letter to the Tsar’s brother.
The next comic is Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, one of the most famous works of Russian literature, originally published in 1866.
Sometime later, Classics Illustrated released an adaption of With Fire and Sword by Polish writer Henryk Sienkiewicz, originally published in 1884. The book is a historical novel set during the Khmelnytsky Uprising.
The last adaption is Nikolai Gogol’s historical novel titled Taras Bulba, renamed as The Cossack Chief in this edition. Judging by the content of this adaption, it would seem this was based on the more prevalent 1842 edition of the tale, published ten years after the original.
Those who are familiar with Czech artist Alphonse Mucha know of the vivid works he created during his time abroad, but few know of what he considered his greatest work of all, the Slav Epic (or Slovanska Epopej).
Through the course of sixteen years, Mucha had created twenty large paintings displaying various moments in history of the Slavic people. Unfortunately this great collection of works had hardly been brought to the attention of the rest of the world as a number of unfortunate circumstances prevented Mucha from seeing his life’s greatest work receive the praise it deserved.
The Slav Epic had an ill-fated history. The series began in 1910 when Mucha had returned from Paris so that he may embark on the creation of what he saw would be his defining work. Before he began his work, Mucha had traveled across Russia, the Balkans, Poland, and the Orthodox monasteries on Mount Athos, consulting historians along the way to ensure accurate depictions of events in his works. Two years later, he received funding from Charles Richard Crane, a wealthy businessman who had held an interest in Eastern Europe and Slavic nationalism in particular. Over the course of seven years, Mucha had completed eleven works, which he presented in Prague, receiving much interest public from the public. Unfortunately, critics were quick to label the work as an expression of an outdated, nationalistic style. His full work had later been displayed in America and Czechoslovakia, although it received similar reactions.
In 1935, the Slav Epic had it’s final exhibition before the death of Mucha, after he had gifted the works to the city of Prague. Because the city was not able to provide a permanent place to display the works, the paintings were rolled up and placed in storage, although some say this was done in order to prevent confiscation from invading German forces. Four years later, Mucha was captured by German troops during the beginning of World War II and interrogated. Shortly after being released, the artist succumbed to a lung infection and died, disappointed that his greatest work had seen such an unfortunate fate. Up until 1950, the government refused to put the works on display again, in fact it would only be until 1967 when the full set of paintings would be displayed again after being brought to the city of Moravsky Krumlov by a group of patriots.
Currently the works are on display in the village of Moravsky Krumlov. The Slav Epic itself is deeply symbolic. With the Slav Epic, Mucha had sought to promote Slav unity and nationalism, expressing this through religion and hardships and at the same time, he saw it as a celebration of the Slavs and their shared history and culture. But what some say is the underlying theme of this work is Mucha’s views on how a group of people must develop, displaying this through the idea of Slavic Unity. Perhaps this is better explained in the artist’s own words:
“I am convinced that the development of every nation may proceed with success only if it grows organically and continuously from the nation’s own roots and that for the preservation of this continuity, knowledge of it’s historical past is indispensable.”
Indeed this may be something some governments should take heed to today. Nevertheless, this work remains a great achievement (and a tribute to an even greater culture), which is sadly, devoid of much praise. But today, I hope to bring the readership of this site all twenty of these tremendous works so that a different audience will be able to see these works and possibly appreciate them more than the previous had. Currently, the Czech government hopes to accomplish the same by moving the works to the city of Prague so that it may be seen by a wider range of people, notably tourists.
Like many other famous Russian artists, Nesterov was born in the 19th century, on the 31st of May in the city of Ufa. In 1874, his parents sent him to Moscow to study at a technical college. There his skills as an artist caught the eye of K. Trutovsky, an artist of some renown at the time. Nesterov, at the recommendation of Trutovsky, was sent to the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture and later in 1881, the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg.
From 1890 on to about 1910, Nesterov lived in Kiev and St. Petersburg where his talents led him to paint frescoes on local churches including the Cathedral of St. Vladimir. Prior to his work as a church painter, Nesterov had yet to find a suitable style of art that interested him. But his work as a painter convinced him to begin using Christian themes in his art. This interest in religious themes would eventually define Nesterov’s style as an artist.
But religion alone did not inspire him, the death of his wife Olga, whom he had married a year earlier in 1885, had given Nesterov a reason to add emotion into his works. From then on the artist spent the remainder of his life in Moscow, occasionally taking trips to Italy or France or with the Peredvizhniki, a renowned society of artists that he was a member of.
The October Revolution had brought great setbacks to his work. Being a devout Christian, Nesterov did not support the October Revolution. Because of the newly-established communist government, which was largely atheistic, Nesterov was not able to continue painting works containing Christian themes in fear of the consequences that would follow. During this time until his death on October 18, 1942, Nesterov made few works, with most of them being portraits of various individuals.
But among such artists as Repin, Vasnetsov and Vereschagin, one cannot deny that Nesterov’s art, where his visualization of folklore and poetry through traditional Russian/Christian imagery has a special place among the Russian art world, undoubtably making him one of the best examples the Russian symbolist idea had to offer.
See more of the artist’s work at these links:
Vasiliy Timm is a Russian painter and illustrator of German descent who, like many others, made several paintings of Imperial Russia. A graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts, Timm was the publisher of the Russian Art Sheet, an illustration-oriented publication published three times a week from 1851 to 1862. The publication usually contained reproductions of paintings, portraits of popular figures, and information on current events.
The artist had also made several ilustrations for books and lithographs of different figures and locations, one of those locations being Tbilisi, Georgia. But what was most interesting of all, were his paintings of early 19th century Russia, most notably of the Decembrist uprising in St. Petersburg, serving as one of the most recognizable images of the event.
In this post I wish to present these few, stunning works of art. The several paintings you see below are mostly depictions of royal ceremonies, but created in great detail, enough that one might actually get the feeling of being there. The works contain several interesting details, such as the Russian royalty’s two famous African servants dressed in Turkish attire, among other things.
The paintings were found from the following links.