Saturday, July 19, 2008

Art Blogging: Vasily Surikov

Vasily Surikov (1848-1916) was a Russian Academic painter. He was raised in Siberia and descended from its Cossack conquerors, who provided inspiration for many of his historical works. He studied at the Academy in St. Petersburg, after which he settled in Moscow. Early success allowed him to travel to Italy, France, Germany, and Austria, which widened his perspective. Yet his focus returned to scenes from Russian and particularly Siberian history, and after the death of his wife, he moved his family back there.

The Conquest of Siberia by Yermak (oil on canvas, 1895, Russian Museum in St. Petersburg) depicts the 16th Century conquest of Siberia for Russia by the Cossack leader Yermak.

Russian Troops Under Suvorov Crossing the Alps (oil on canvas, 1899, Russian Museum in St. Petersburg) recounts the disastrous Russian invasion of Switzerland during the Napoleonic Wars.

The Taking of a Snow Fortress is a scene from everyday Siberian life, depicting a traditional equestrian challenge of the region (oil on canvas, 1891, Russian Museum in St. Petersburg). This is my favorite Surikov, due to its vigorous energy.


Marie N. said...

Hi! I'm so glad to see another Art Blogging feature here. This is an artist I was unfamiliar with. Thank you.

John said...

Thanks, Marie. I need a good dose of art now, and the late Academic period in Russia is particularly good.

piggyhastheconch said...

Magnificent--thanks for bringing this artist and these works to attention. Your art blogging is a tremendous resource as I try to go beyond the three rules I use to govern how closely I study a painting. ("Works deserve special attention if 1. they have warships in them, 2. something they depict is on fire, and/or 3. a beautiful woman is herself studying them.")