15 most famous Russian paintings artists

Review of the best according to the editors. About the selection criteria. The the material is subjective, is not advertising and is not serves as a guide to the purchase. Before purchase is needed consultation with a specialist.

Painting can be called one of the most important components of culture Of Russia. Majestic landscapes, historical events, portraits famous personalities and ordinary people, art plots – all this is reflected in the works of prominent artists. Many of thanks to their outstanding talent and hard work, they became not known only at home, but also in many other countries of the world. In this the selection we will consider the fifteen most recognizable masterpieces Russian masters of painting.

Overview of the most famous paintings of Russian artists

Nomination a place Composition rating
Overview of the most famous paintings of Russian artists 1 “The Knight at the Crossroads” , Виктор Васнецов 5.0
2 The Cossacks, Ilya Repin 4.9
3 “Rider” , TO арл Bryullov 4.9
4 “Demon sitting” , Михаиль Врубель 4.8
5 “The Appearance of Christ to the People”, Alexander Ivanov 4.8
6 “Unequal marriage” , Василий Пукирев 4.7
7 “The Rooks Have Arrived” , Алексей Саврасов 4.7
8 “Rest hunters” , Василий Перов 4.7
9 “Heroes” , Виктор Васнецов 4.7
10 “Girl with Peaches” , Валентин Серов 4.7
11 “The last day of Pompeii” Карл Брюллов 4.6
12 “Barge Haulers on the Volga” , Илья Репин 4.5
13 “Boyar Morozova” , Василий Суриков 4.5
14 The Unknown, Ivan Kramskoy 4.5
15 “Morning in a pine forest” , Иван Шишкин и Константин Савицкий 4.5

“The Knight at the Crossroads” , Виктор Васнецов

Rating: 5.0

Витязь на распутье

The painting “The Knight at the Crossroads” was a turning point in life artist Vasnetsov, determining the further direction of his development creativity. Before that, he was already known as a traveling artist, but the success of the canvas prompted him to devote many further works of Russian epic subjects. Idea for writing this picture appeared in the early 1870s, then Vasnetsov after reading the plot “Ilya Muromets and the robbers” created first sketches. But the final version, which reached our time, was completed only in 1882. Pictured in front plan, the knight froze in thought before the stone, the inscription on which reads: “Like a straightforward drive – I don’t live, there’s no way for a passer-by, neither passing, nor flying. “The rest of the inscription, talking about the fact that “I will go right to the wife of life; to the left land – to the rich of life” partially frayed, partially overgrown with moss. So the author of the canvas wanted figuratively show the hopelessness of the knight’s path, because his fate is only in battles on the battlefield. The overall dramatic nature of the composition emphasized by the lying remains of another rider and horse, and also black ravens. An interesting detail – the rider holds in his hands infantry spear, this symbolizes the readiness of the hero to fight on foot, even after losing his war horse.

The Cossacks, Ilya Repin

Rating: 4.9

The Cossacks write a letter to the Turkish Sultan

Since Ilya Repin was born and raised in Chuguev, Kharkov province, he was keenly interested in the history of Ukraine, its customs and particular Cossacks. Therefore hearing at a social reception from historian Dmitry Yavornitsky on the letter of Zaporizhzhya Cossacks to Turkish Sultan, he immediately decided to capture this event on the canvas. According to legend, at the end of the XVII century after the defeat of the army of Sich 15,000th Turkish army Sultan Mahmoud IV sent a message Zaporizhzhya Cossacks, in which he called himself “the governor of God” and ordered to surrender voluntarily. In response, freedom-loving Cossacks under the leadership of the chieftain Ivan Sirko composed an ironic letter stating it contains all its stock of offensive metaphors and obscene language. Did the great Turkish “brother of the sun and moon” get this unique the composition of the epistolary genre is unknown, but it is forever left in history. Before you begin work on painting, Repin went to Ukraine to thoroughly study the culture of the Cossacks of the Zaporizhzhya Sich. Thanks to this, the overall atmosphere and individual details, such as weapons and clothing, correspond to the realities of the described time. The artist finished his a work in 1891, 13 years after the creation of the first pencil sketch. The canvas was purchased for a large sum by the emperor Alexander III, later it was awarded gold awards at exhibitions in Germany and Hungary.

“Rider” , Карл Брюллов

Rating: 4.9


One of the best representatives of Russian romanticism by right considered Karl Bryullov. His portrait “The Horsewoman” admires detail, ideal proportions, a combination of expression and serenity. The painting was painted in 1832 for Countess Julia Samoilova, whom Bryullov met in Rome. Girl on horses and a girl in pink running to meet her is Giovannina and Amacilia, pupils of the countess. The artist masterfully conveyed the dynamics of the plot, all the characters on the canvas are in movement. In addition, he deliberately chose contrasting tones that allowed to visually emphasize the image of the horsewoman. After work on the painting was completed, it was presented at the exhibition in Brera Academy of Fine Arts, located in Milan. Italians Enthusiastic about the creation of a Russian artist, art critics put him on a par with van Dyck and Rubens, saying that the world is still did not see so skillfully executed equestrian portrait. Further years, the picture was in the personal collection of the countess Samoilova, until 1893, when she was bought for the Tretyakov galleries.

“Demon sitting” , Михаиль Врубель

Rating: 4.8

Демон сидящий

The image of a sitting sad demon Vrubel inspired by a poem Lermontov’s “Demon”, for the anniversary edition of which the artist created thirty illustrations. The main character of the picture combines tremendous power underlined by a muscular tense body, and mental suffering, clearly expressed on his face. Sitting on at the top of the mountain, a young giant with longing watches a flaring sunset in a living world of which he is not a part. Demon is surrounded bizarre cliffs and unearthly colors that look more likely like crystals. This dead landscape complements the melancholy the mood created by the image of the character and his background, famous from the poem. Curious that the demon is dressed in blue clothes, which is traditionally associated with nobility and divine, in blue robes often depict Jesus Christ. This color was not chosen by chance; it speaks of heavenly origin. hero of the canvas. In the understanding of the author, the demon is not negative character, but rather a symbol of a rebellious soul, not finding an answer to your doubts. Being not only a talented painter, but also a sculptor, Vrubel created a painting in his favorite faceted style, making it a bit like a stained glass window. For achievement a similar effect, the artist applied flat large strokes with palette knife.

“The Appearance of Christ to the People”, Alexander Ivanov

Rating: 4.8

The phenomenon of the messiah

Passion for biblical subjects of Ivanov began in the early stages of creativity and completely absorbed him after arriving in Rome. There the artist studied sacred texts, redrawed masterpieces Michelangelo increasingly thought about the idea of ​​creating his own paintings, which was supposed to be a means of transmitting Christian ideas through art. Starting work on the painting in 1837, he finished it as much as 20 years later. Ivanov’s approach was very innovative for its time as it implied a retreat from the canons of academism and the focus of the viewer on emotional component. For the plot, one of major biblical events described in the first chapter of the gospel of John is the first appearance of Christ to believers. In the process the artist made about six hundred studies, most of them subsequently dispersed in museum and private collections. Each character canvases carefully worked out, some for realism of the image had real prototypes. For example, a person with an expressive look standing in half a turn to the Messiah was copied from Nikolai Gogol. Traveler with the staff sitting near John is Ivanov himself. But the basis for the face of Jesus served as drawings of the Palermo mosaic, sculpture Apollo Belvedere and … female face. After completing the canvas the artist brought him to St. Petersburg on a ship. Interestingly, due to its large size (750 by 540 centimeters) the picture is not fit in the hold and had to place it directly on the deck. КIvanov’s great disappointment, the work of his whole life did not impress contemporaries, he was too deep and innovative to period. However, after the death of the painter, the painting was bought by himself Emperor Alexander II, who later presented it to Rumyantsevsky to the museum.

“Unequal marriage” , Василий Пукирев

Rating: 4.7

Неравный брак

Vasily Pukirev for his life created many paintings in various genres: landscapes, portraits, historical plots, but only one of works provided him with fame. This of course, the canvas Unequal Marriage, written in 1862. It brightly lit urgent at that time the problem of the deprived of rights of young girls who were married by agreement to unloved but wealthy and often old grooms. Almost every second the marriage was for financial gain or position in society. In the picture, the image of the groom contrasts sharply with the portrait bride: he looks arrogant and cold-blooded, she hardly holds so as not to cry or faint. On the back plan men aged obviously friends of the groom, unceremoniously looking at the bride, clearly approving a profitable “acquisition”. Particular worthy of attention is a young man standing with arms crossed on the right side, very similar to Pukirev himself. By according to contemporaries, the artist drew inspiration from his personal drama, and Praskovya served as a prototype for the young bride Varentsova, the girl Pukirev was in love with and who went out for a rich elderly official. Presented at the exhibition in St. Petersburg, a topical painting right away attracted the attention of the public. Soon for this work Vasily Pukirev was awarded the title of professor of painting.

“The Rooks Have Arrived” , Алексей Саврасов

Rating: 4.7

Грачи прилетели

Being one of the Wanderers, Savras in his He paid much attention to Russian landscapes. Its famous He wrote “Rooks” in 1871, after a trip to the village of Molvitino (now Susanino) Kostroma province. It is Molvitinskaya Voskresenskaya ancient church (built in the 17th century) became the prototype of the temple in the picture. The whole plot is extremely straightforward, but he perfectly conveys the state of nature preceding the imminent the onset of spring in the village. There are no bright colors on the canvas, on the contrary, gray and brown shades prevail, calm reign and everyday life. The central characters, of course, are rooks, some of them are still in motion, but the rest have already managed take a fancy for places in the trees. Rooks returning to their homeland – harbingers of heat. A thawed hint of spring mood standing water and the clear blue of the sky, breaking through the clouds. Portraying rooks, Savrasov intentionally made them a little bigger, sacrificing realism to please symbolism. From the dark silhouettes mysticism blows birds, their image involuntarily begs for comparison with the resurrection after the “dead” winter sleep. Religious meaning can be seen in other parts of the canvas: the trees are located willow, whose branches traditionally served in Russia for celebration Palm Sunday. In the process of creation, the artist applied complex painting technique with a combination of various application methods paints, used colored soil, glaze and so on. Ready the picture was immediately acquired by collector and philanthropist Pavel Tretyakov, who introduced her to the general public at an exhibition in Moscow.

“Rest hunters” , Василий Перов

Rating: 4.7

Охотники на привале

This picture was painted by Perov at the stage of his late creative activity in 1871. At this time, the artist gradually left the image of difficult peasant life, preferring less pessimistic plots. Actors on the canvas are three hunters, resting in the middle of the rest fields. The oldest of them, judging by the appearance of the nobleman, leads the story enthusiastically, actively gesturing for more persuasiveness. The novice holds his breath, listens to him, he is so impressed by the hunting tales that I even forgot about smoldering in my hand the light that was going to set fire to the cigarette. Third character dressed in peasant clothes, listening with an ironic smirk and distinct skepticism on the face. Such stories are obviously not for him in a long time. a novelty. The background is a nondescript autumn landscape, which allowed the painter to focus on the main figures of the work. There is a deep meaning behind the obvious comic nature of the situation: hunters personify the stages of the life cycle of a person passing through enthusiastic youth, experienced incredulous maturity and old age, idealizing memories of the past. The author of the canvas, himself an avid hunter, in detail and accurately portrayed game, weapons, and inventory. However designed for hunting with hounds a horn while while the hounds themselves are nowhere to be seen and a forest bird lying together with a hare, bewilderment. Everything is simple – this way Perov makes fun of a knowledgeable viewer, making it clear that he himself, like an elderly storyteller, do not mind embellishing reality.

“Heroes” , Виктор Васнецов

Rating: 4.7


Folklore theme was very popular among Russian painters of the second half of the XIX century, but for the majority she it’s just become a milestone in the search for their own art direction, short hobby. Another thing is Viktor Vasnetsov, who devoted all life expression of Slavic epics and epics on canvas. Top of it Creativity is considered the picture “Athletes”, embodying the whole the spirit of the Russian people as the artist imagined it. Starting work with small sketches in 1881, he worked hard collecting bit by bit myths, traditions and real historical facts. The result was a real masterpiece that glorified Vasnetsov for many generations ahead. The canvas depicts three horsemen-heroes: in Ilya Muromets in the center, Dobrynya Nikitich to his right, and left Alyosha Popovich. Their images all together personify the creative power of Russia, and the positive qualities of those living on it people. From Muromets breathes wisdom and centuries-old traditions, Dobrynya embodies the pride of the defender of his native land, but young Alyosha Popovich with a harp is a poetry, sensitivity to any manifestations of beauty. The mighty figures of the knights stand like three mountains, confidently and menacingly. They are staring at “whether or not lurking where the enemy is insidious, do they not offend the weak where “. The cloudy sky above their heads and gray blocks of burial grounds visible in the distance create a sense of impending danger. Although the picture itself and represents the imagination of the artist, it is worth noting that everything items of clothing, harnesses and weapons are depicted very reliably and match the true prototypes of their time. At the end work on a huge canvas (almost four and a half in size three meters) Pavel Tretyakov bought it for his gallery.

“Girl with Peaches” , Валентин Серов

Rating: 4.7

Девочка с персиками

Serov painted his most famous painting at the age of 22, moreover, the idea for this portrait came by chance when he stayed in Abramtsevo, in the estate of Mamontov. With the host’s daughter Vera The mammoth artist was familiar for a long time, but once he saw this 11-year-old girl sitting at a table with a peach in his hand, he suddenly understood which portrait he wants to paint and who should become the model. The hardest thing was to persuade the restless child to pose daily in the summer, and not a day or two, because it took a couple of months to create the canvas. The result is lively and vibrant image that makes a misleading impression randomly chosen moment from everyday life, like a girl I sat down at the table for just a minute. Boring background contrasts with the swarthy and ruddy face of the girl, her pink clothes on which the big bow flaunts. Working on a portrait Serov used the techniques of impressionism, which allowed him fill the picture with light, make it warm and realistic. Of objects in the room attracts special attention hanging on wall dish – it was obviously made by the artist himself, who was fond of pottery. Having painted a picture, Valentin Serov presented it to his mother Faith Later, for this work, he received an award from Moscow Society of art lovers.

“The last day of Pompeii” Карл Брюллов

Rating: 4.6

Последний день Помпеи

After completing his studies at the art academy, the young Bryullov decides settle in Italy to study classical art Ancient Rome. At this time, he often has to deal with neglect by the Italian creative elite and aristocracy. And when the artist saw an archaeological site destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius of the ancient city of Pompeii, he realized that this is his chance to create his own great work. Брюлловstarted work by collecting materials and drawing large quantities sketches: he walked a lot along the ancient streets, examined the wreckage houses, the remains of people sealed in cooled lava. By approximate estimates of all in the streets of Pompeii killed about two thousand people. Five years later, a canvas measuring six by three meters was completed. The scene depicted in it is made in the style of romanticism, despite horror of the situation there is no chaos and crowds. People can be conditionally divided into groups, each of which against the backdrop of global disaster is experiencing its own tragedy. Central figure compositions are a woman and a child lying on the sidewalk near her, they personify the fall of the ancient world and the birth of a new culture. The painting brought Bryullov wide fame in Europe, and in his homeland he received the nickname “great.” His creation is recognized a masterpiece of Pushkin, Gogol, Lermontov and Emperor Nicholas I, who placed the canvas in the Hermitage.

“Barge Haulers on the Volga” , Илья Репин

Rating: 4.5

Бурлаки на Волге

For the first time Ilya Repin saw barge haulers at work in 1869 at Neve, then he was still studying at the Academy of Arts. Being under impression, the artist for some time thought about the idea of ​​writing paintings on this subject. As a result, he went to the Volga, where he began his picture with sketches depicting the contrast between pulling a barge wage-workers and smartly dressed people strolling along the Volga coast. Repin also met barge haulers, watched them, talked with some while relaxing. is he gradually came to rethink his original idea, deciding instead of social injustice, focus on specific people and the diversity of their characters. Each of the eleven pulling a heavy cargo barge, in its own way expresses a reaction to this is a tough and clearly low-paying job. Someone watching sullenly, with anger at an unfair fate, someone philosophical calm, one even manages to light a pipe in the process. At the head Burlakov – an elderly experienced worker, the prototype for whom served as a frustrated priest Kanin, a new acquaintance of Repin. The exact opposite of hardy and sad harsh informal leader can be called a young blonde person. He is impatient and still does not know how to handle straps. Far away the tug is visible, as a symbol of technological progress, it should to free people from hard work, but for some reason is not used, perhaps the services of barge haulers are much cheaper. Picture after Petersburg exhibition of 1873 met a lot of enthusiastic, and negative reviews. In a creative environment, she served a significant impetus to the beginning of the era of realism.

“Boyar Morozova” , Василий Суриков

Rating: 4.5

Боярыня Морозова

Being a native of Siberia, Surkov had long been familiar with both Old Believers as a whole, and with the “Tale of Boyar Morozova.” The representative of the highest Russian aristocracy and the owner large fortune, the noblewoman actively supported carriers Old Believer faith, thereby going against the king and the patriarch Nikon. As a result, the woman was arrested and imprisoned in a monastery, where she died of hunger. For his painting, the artist chose the moment when Morozov was taken for interrogation. Along with the Miracle Monastery, she shackled in her shackles demonstratively shows Old Believer bifurcation, making it clear to the assembled people that will never deny his beliefs. According to Surkov, understanding of how to best create a composition came to him when he saw a crow spread its wings in white snow. Besides the painter for a long time could not find a suitable image for the main heroines, until by chance I saw an old Old Believer in the cemetery with a very pale face. The picture has a symbolic meaning – she depicts the reprisal of the state over faith in general, as well as people’s attitude to this. Persons crowding along the road people express the widest range of emotions: from horror to mockery contempt. The canvas debuted at a traveling exhibition and soon was purchased for the Tretyakov Gallery.

The Unknown, Ivan Kramskoy

Rating: 4.5


This unique painting is known everywhere and at the same time. it can be called one of the most mysterious among the creations of Russian artists. On the canvas, made in the style of realism – young urban fashionista riding in a stroller along Nevsky Prospect St. Petersburg. Her outfit is a combination of all that was at the height of fashion at the end of the 19th century: trimmed with sable fur and with silk ribbons a coat from expensive cloth, a coupling from the same materials, velvet beret, decorated with pearls and ostrich feather, as well as a massive gold bracelet on his hand. All clothing items depicted by the author with great skill and thoroughness. Background for the snowy streets of the city serve as a portrait, but they are made lightly blurry so as not to distract the viewer from the model. Judging by the defiant rich, the lady didn’t belong to the highest circles of society, following certain style rules. The mystery of her personality never was discovered by the artist, although according to the most common theory this is a former peasant woman who became the wife of a wealthy Petersburg Bestuzhev nobleman. The painting has visited many private collections, but years later became available to a wide range of viewers and distributed throughout the country in the form of reproductions.

“Morning in a pine forest” , Иван Шишкин и Константин Савицкий

Rating: 4.5

Утро в сосновом лесу

It is difficult to imagine a picture better known in Russia than image of a pine forest, the panorama of which is decorated with three frolicking teddy bears, accompanied by the mother of the bear. Shishkin was an artist who keenly felt the beauty of wildlife, no one else could not so harmoniously and at the same time accurately portray the pristine the wilderness of a dense forest. The artist possessed wide knowledge in geology and botany, which enabled him to create a masterpiece that as if living his own life. With incredible detail the relief of the bark of a fallen tree, and growing near it, are also drawn bush, and bent pines. Deep ravine visible in the distance shrouded in a thick misty haze that gives a feeling of mystery, inherent in places where there are practically no human settlements. Bor with whose artist painted the landscape, is located on the island of Gorodomlya, in Tver region. Interestingly, the clumsy and funny teddy bears did not draw Shishkin. Savitsky, outstanding animal artist. The canvas was first presented in 1889 at a traveling exhibition, then Tretyakov bought it. Collector erased Savitsky’s signature, because according to him the whole plan belongs Shishkin. The painting was widely known since the 19th century, and in the Soviet period it was replicated so widely that became an integral part of popular culture.

Attention! This rating is subjective, not advertising and does not serve as a guide to the purchase. Before the purchase consultation with a specialist is necessary.

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