Vasily Rayev

Born: 1808, Volok (Pskov Province)
Died: 1871, Kuntsevo (near Moscow)

Painter, mosaic artist. Serf of Count Ivan Kuleshev. Born to Yegor Rayev and Pelageya Yemelianova in the village of Volok in Pskov Province (1808). Studied under Alexander Stupin at the Arzamas School of Art (1823–30), in the studio of Adolphe Ladurner in St Petersburg (1830s) and under Maxim Vorobyov at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1839–40), graduating with the title of non-class artist of history painting (1840). Married the daughter of a high-ranking civil servant called Tatyana Vlasova (1841), who immediately left him for another man (1841). Travelled to the Caucasus to paint battle scenes, but was forced to return to St Petersburg after his companion was killed during the taking of Chirkei in Dagestan (1841). Visited Paris (1842) and lived in Rome (1842–48), where he studied mosaic art (1847–48). Returned to St Petersburg (1849) and worked for two years at the mosaic department of the Imperial Academy of Arts (1849–51). Academician of landscape painting (1851). Travelled abroad (1854) and moved to Moscow (1855), where he decorated the house and curated the private art collection of Kozma Soldatenkov. Lost his sight and hearing and died in poverty of tuberculosis in Kuntsevo (1871). Contributed to exhibitions at the Imperial Academy of Arts (from 1838) and in Rome on the occasion of the visit of Tsar Nicholas I (1845).

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