Biographies Russian Writers Vasily Zhukovsky

Vasily Zhukovsky

Born: 1783, Mishenskoe (Tula Province)
Died: 1852, Baden-Baden

Poet, translator, draughtsman, engraver, painter. Born as the illegitimate son of a landowner called Afanasy Bunin and his Turkish housekeeper Salkha in the village of Mishenskoe in Tula Province (1783). Educated at the Nobleman’s Boarding School, Moscow University (1797–1801). Studied engraving under the direction of first Karl August Senff and then Nikolai Utkin. Fought in the national militia in the Patriotic War (1812). Personal reader to Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna (1815). Participated in literary soirées in Pavlovsk. Poet of the imperial court (1815–41). Taught Russian to Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna and Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna. Tutor to the future Tsar Alexander II (from 1825). Accompanied the tsarevich on his journeys across Russia and Europe, sketching views of local towns and sights. Author of a large number of drawings (more than twenty albums) with landscapes of towns and various localities across Russia and Europe. Made etchings with views of the suburbs of St Petersburg (Pavlovsk, Gatchina, Tsarskoe Selo and Peterhof) on the basis of many of his own drawings. Member of various literary societies in the first half of the nineteenth century. Travelled across Europe, visiting Great Britain, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland (1820, 1821, 1826–27, 1833, 1838–39). Completed a journey across Russia, taking in the Crimea, Urals, Siberia and the Far East (1837). Lived in Düsseldorf (1841–48) and Baden-Baden (1848–52). Died in Baden-Baden (1852) and reburied at the St Alexander Nevsky Monastery in St Petersburg (1852).

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