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 Vasily Surikov

Born:   January, 24 1848
Deceased:   March, 19 1916

Artist, painter of large-scale historical canvasses


Vasily Ivanovich Surikov was born on January, 12th (24), 1848 into the Cossack family in Krasnoyarsk.

From 1858 to 1861 he studied in Krasnoyarsk district school, and then served as a clerk in a state establishment, at the same time drawing and painting as an amateur. In 1870 he entered the Imperial Academy of Arts where he was awarded ranks of the 1st degree artist.

In 1876 and 1877 he painted frescoes in the Moscow Christ Savior Cathedral. In 1881 he became a member of the Association of Itinerants (Peredvizhniki), an art group of traveling exhibitions, and since then always appeared at them with his paintings.

Vasily Surikov passionately loved Russian antiquity; turning to hard turning-points in the history of Russia, he looked in them for accords with stirring issues of the present. In the 1880s Surikov created his most remarkable works - monumental historical paintings Morning of Streltsy's Execution (1881), Menshikov in Berezov (1883), Boyarynya Morozova (1887; all are exhibited in the Tretyakov Gallery). With the depth and insight of a true historian Surikov revealed in them sources of tragic contradictions of history, the logic of its movement, showed the struggle of historical forces during the epoch of Peter the Great, the period of dissent and public popular tumult. Patriotic truthful creations of Surikov, who for the first time showed people as the main motive power of history, became a new stage in the world history of painting.

Vasily Surikov died of cardiosclerosis on March, 6th (19), 1916 in Moscow. He was buried next to his wife at the Vagankovsky Cemetery.

Moscow Art Institute was named after him. Monument to Vasily Surikov was set up in his native city of Krasnoyarsk in 1954, and Surikov House Museum was opened there in 1948, nowadays Surikov Memorial Estate, where a new monument was unveiled in 2002. A crater on Mercury was named after Surikov.

Tags: Vasily Surikov Russian painters    

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