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Russian painter Illarion Pryanishnikov

Russian painter Illarion Pryanishnikov. Portrait by V. G. Perov, 1862

Russian painter Illarion Pryanishnikov. Portrait by V. G. Perov, 1862


Illarion Pryanishnikov was a Russian artist and teacher, master of genre painting, member of the Petersburg Academy of Arts (since 1893), one of the founders of the Association of the Wanderers (Peredvizhniki).
Illarion Mikhailovich Pryanishnikov was born on March 20 (April 1), 1840 in the village of Timashovo in the Borovo district of the Kaluga province, in a merchant family. At the age of 12 he began to study at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, but a year later he left it: he had to work in a merchant’s shop. In 1856, he resumed his studies. Until 1866, Pryanishnikov studied with such masters as E. S. Sorokin, S. K. Zaryanka, A. N. Mokritsky, E. Ya. Vasiliev. It was Vasiliev who achieved the right to free education for a talented student and provided him with housing. During his studies, Pryanishnikov became friend with V.G. Perov; in 1857, when Perov worked on the picture Arrival of a New Governess, Pryanishnikov posed for him to create the image of the main character. In 1862, the young artists spent the summer in the Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra.

In 1864, Pryanishnikov was awarded a small silver medal for the painting Reading a letter in a small shop. In the year of graduation from the school (1865), he received a large silver medal and the title of a class artist of the third degree. The painting Gostiny Dvor in Moscow brought the artist wide popularity and was even sent to the International Exhibition in Vienna. However, it was not exposed, according to V.V. Stasov “because of fear to show Russian ulcers to Europe”.
In late 1869, Pryanishnikov took an active part in the creation of the Association of Traveling Art Exhibitions and became a founding member of this organization.
His critical realistic pictures show the miserable entertainment of urban people (At the Puppet Theater, 1867); the suffering of homeless beggars (Beggars, 1870); the overwork of exhausted female workers (The Seamstress, 1870). For the last two works Pryanishnikov was awarded the title of class artist of the 1st degree in 1870.
Pryanishnikov’s painting Empty-handed, exhibited at the first traveling exhibition in 1871, brought him a new success. According to the unanimous opinion of contemporaries, the picture was recognized as innovative due to the successful combination of landscape and genre motif. This work was purchased by one of the collectors long before the opening of the exhibition. P. Tretyakov, violating his own rule – not to have repetitions and copies in his collection, ordered the artist to repeat the picture.
In 1871-1872, Pryanishnikov together with V.E. Makovsky, G.G. Myasoedov, V.O. Sherwood and other artists worked on the creation of a series of paintings devoted to the defense of Sevastopol in the Crimean War for the Polytechnic Exhibition in Moscow.
In 1875-1877 he worked on the murals of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow.
In the second half of the 1880s and the first half of the 1890s, Pryanishnikov painted several monumental canvases devoted to the way of life and the traditions of the Russian village.
In 1891-1892, after contracting tuberculosis, he moved to the Crimea, to Alupka. Upon his return to Moscow, he taught at the school again, and in 1893 was elected a full member of the Academy of Arts.
Illarion Pryanishnikov died on March 12 (24), 1894 in Moscow.

Russian painter Illarion Pryanishnikov