The Birth of Realism


Art Styles in 19th century - Art Map


Vasily Perov


Vasily Perov

(b Tobolsk, 2 Jan 1834; d Kuz’minki, 10 June 1882).

Russian painter. Son of a public prosecutor, he studied intermittently at Arzamas from 1846 to 1849 at the Art School of Alexander Stupin (1776–1862), a classicist painter whose School was the first of its type in provincial Russia, and during the 1850s at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture under Sergey Zaryanko. The work of Pavel Fedotov, pictorial satire in the press and genre scenes by the Old Dutch masters and William Hogarth were the greatest formative influences on Perov. His early works, permeated by a Biedermeier romantic spirit, combine detailed brushwork with anecdotal narrative and aim at criticizing social behaviour in line with the contemporary democratic doctrines of such writers as Nikolay Chernyshevsky. Such anti-clerical pictures as the Village Sermon (1861; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.) are distinguished by a particular irony. As in the prose of Nikolai Leskov, which has many affinities with Perov’s painting, there is a conflict between feelings of love and hatred, and between an intimate knowledge of the daily life of the people and an alienating irony. In 1862–4 Perov travelled abroad, working mainly in Paris, where he painted a series of vivid genre scenes of city life. Perov’s success as a genre painter reached its peak in the latter half of the 1860s. His compositions become more laconic and expressive; overcoming an indisciplined use of colour, he achieved an impressive unity with an austere greyish-brown palette. Such works as the Drowned Girl (1867) and the Last Tavern by the City Gates (1868; both Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.) are analogous to the prose of Fyodor Dostoyevsky in their depiction of the lowest strata of urban life. Perov also wrote, producing talented sketches of popular life.





The Bachelor Guitarist


Lent Monday




"Troika". Apprentice Workmen Carrying Water


Portrait of the Writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky


Old Parents Visiting the Grave of Their Son




Scene on a Grave


The Last Tavern at the City Gates


A Meal in the Monastery


An der Eisenbahn


First Christians in Kiev


Portrait of the Writer A. N. Ostrowskij


Found Drowned


Arrival of a New Governess in a Merchant House


Commissary of Rural Police Investigating


Tea-Party at Mytishchi near Moscow



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