Vasily Surikov

Born: 1848, Krasnoyarsk
Died: 1916, Moscow

Painter. Father-in-law of Pyotr Konchalovsky, great-grandfather of film directors Andrei Konchalovsky and Nikita Mikhalkov. Born in Krasnoyarsk (1848) to a family of Don Cossacks, whose ancestors took part in Yermak’s conquest of Siberia (1581–85). Studied at Krasnoyarsk District School (1856–61), where he received his first drawing lessons from Nikolai Grebnev. Travelled to St Petersburg on horseback (1868–69) and enrolled at the School of Drawing of the Society for the Encouragement of Artists (1869). Studied under Pyotr Shamshin, Carl Wenig, Bogdan Gottfried Willewalde and Pavel Chistyakov (from 1873) at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1869–75). Graduated with the title of first-class artist (1875). Painted frescoes for the Church of Christ the Saviour in Moscow (1876–77). Married Élisabeth Charais (1878), a Frenchwoman descended from the Decembrist Pyotr Svistunov (1803–1889), and settled in Moscow (1878). Painted such famous Russian history pictures as Morning of the Streltsy Execution (1878–81), Menshikov in Beryozovo (1881–83), Boyarinya Morozova (1884–87), Taking a Snow Town (1889–91), Yermak’s Conquest of Siberia (1891–95), Suvorov Crossing the Alps (1898–99) and Stepan Razin (1900–10). Member of the Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (from 1881) and the Union of Russian Artists (from 1908). Lived and worked in Germany, France, Austria (1883–84), Don (1893), Switzerland (1897), Italy (1900), Volga (1901–03), Spain (1910), Crimea (1913, 1915) and Germany and Italy with Pyotr Konchalovsky (1914). Briefly gave up painting and turned to religion after the death of his wife (1888), lived with his children in Krasnoyarsk (1888–90). Full member of the Imperial Academy of Arts (1893), academician (1895). Died in Moscow and buried at the Vagankovo Cemetery (1916). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1870). Contributed to the exhibitions of the Imperial Academy of Arts (1870s), Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (1881–1907), Union of Russian Artists (1908–15), Exposition Universelle in Paris (1900, silver medal) and the Esposizione Internazionale in Rome (1911).

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