The Museum of Russian Impressionism exhibits “Excellent Students” – an exhibition with the works of forgotten Russian artists, who, together with Repin, Polenov and Kustodiev, received a trip abroad for brilliant studies. It is about the little-known masters, their paintings and the European influence on Russian painting that this exhibition tells, and our material.
Dmitry Shcherbinovsky, Rene, 1898
Shcherbinovsky was born in the Saratov province and, upon arrival in Moscow, became seriously interested in painting: he closely communicated with Levitan, Korovin and Serov, attended drawing evenings in Polenov’s workshop. At the latter’s insistence, he entered the Imperial Academy of Arts, quickly becoming a universal favorite and one of the Academy’s most outstanding students of the 1890s. Shcherbinsky graduated in 1896 and immediately received his ticket. to Europe. Two years later, the business trip was extended for another 12 months: during this period the artist lived in Brittany, painted sea views and portraits of the Parisian Grand Opera artist Rene.
Everyone was sure that a bright future awaits Shcherbinovsky, and he will return from retirement trips with unique works. However, the artist, according to the memoirs of Igor Grabar, “did not bring anything to Russia that was better than what he had done before in St. Petersburg and Moscow.” The urban landscapes of Paris at the academic exhibition of 1902 seemed to the public “tasteless”, and the painter himself “withered, passed, ran out of strength in a foreign land.” Grabar suggested that “Shcherbinovsky simply could not bear the brand of child prodigy, he was too pampered, praised, too extolled: he was poisoned with the most terrible poison for an artist, the poison of narcissism.”
Mikhail Demyanov, “Flemish Woman”, 1913
Mikhail Demyanov began receiving art education in 1892, and for about 10 years he studied landscape technique with Isaac Levitan. In 1903 he entered the Higher Art School of the Imperial Academy of Arts, in the workshop of Alexander Kiselev, and after 7 years he graduated with honors. The picture of the contest “Old Years” not only gave Demyanov the title of artist, but also presented a cherished trip, as well as the prize of the Endogurov brothers as “the most worthy of landscape painters.”
In 1911, the painter went to Paris, then to Berlin, Munich, Rome and Venice, where he “visited museums and ancient monuments, working along the way.” In Demyanov’s pictures, created abroad, one can clearly see his passion for the countries he visited and the artists whose works he saw. Thus, in The Flemish Woman, he experiments with Van Gogh’s images and lines, which he picked up with a brush while traveling through Holland and Flanders. Unfortunately, Demyanov did not have time to put into practice all the experience gained abroad – in 1913 the artist died.
Efim Cheptsov, Neighbors (Gossip Girl), 1913
Efim Cheptsov from the Kursk province helped his father as an icon painter since childhood, and in 1903 he went to Florence for 2 years to paint the Russian Orthodox Church. From 1905 to 1911 he studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts with the genre painter Vladimir Makovsky. In 1912 he traveled to Paris with a special ticket and then to Capri, where he stayed for eight months. In Italy, he fruitfully worked on genre scenes: scenes of everyday life resemble wandering lore, but there is no edification in the paintings, only great interest in what is happening and the characters, and bright coloring and the impressionistic form emphasize the atmosphere. from the southern city.
Finally returning to Russia in 1914, he lived in St. Petersburg and often worked in his homeland, in the village of Medvenka, where he continued to create genre works, taking into account Repin’s precept: “Do not write Italy, write the province from Kursk.”
Ivan Porfirov, Junkyard in Venice, 1892-1895
Porfirov graduated from the historical painting department of the Imperial Academy of Arts in 1892 and immediately visited several European countries. Including Germany, France and Italy. But it was the latter that played an important role in the artist’s work. In Rome, he was accepted into the circle of Russian masters, among whom were Heinrich Semiradsky, Alexander and Pavel Svedomsky, Stepan Bakalovich.
Mediterranean landscapes, in which, according to Svedomsky, “both air and sun” have become essential: typical Venetian motifs are combined with an idealized Italian flavor. However, such a painting already in the 1890s was more like a “postcard picture” and did not attract the viewer very much, therefore the artist’s works did not gain much popularity either at home or abroad.
Ivan Dryapachenko, Street at Dusk, 1912–1913 (?)
Ivan Dryapachenko, unlike his colleagues, went abroad to improve his skills not “at public expense”, but at the private expense of Nikolai Strukov. Such a business trip meant a stay of one year with all possible expenses covered.
So, in 1912, Dryapachenko passes in Florence, from where he brings back landscapes, genre paintings, biblical themes, possibly inspired by Renaissance frescoes. A year later, he returns to Italy (only at the expense of the Academy of Arts). The further fate of the master is not well understood: it is known that he was sent to the front during the First World War, after which he returned to his homeland, to the village of Vasilievka, where he painted colorful paintings. After 1917, he practically did not participate in exhibitions and did not leave the village, perhaps for this reason his work did not gain due popularity.