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The Great Taking of the Veil. 1898

Nesterov Mikhail,
Oil on Canvas
178 x 195

State Russian Museum


This is the finest work from the cycle of paintings by Mikhail Nesterov on the fate of Russian women, inspired by the novels of Pavel Melnikov-Pechersky on the lives of the Old Believers. The artist depicts a procession of nuns accompanying a novice to the taking of the veil among the thick forests of the Volga countryside. A quiet sorrow shines in their pensive faces. Mikhail Nesterov was elected to the Imperial Academy of Arts for this painting in 1898.

Author's Biography

Nesterov Mikhail

Nesterov, Mikhail Vasilyevich
1862, Ufa - 1942, Moscow
Painter, portraitist, landscape artist, genre painter, author of memoirs and essays on artists. Studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1877-81, 1884-86) and the Imperial Academy of Arts (1881-84). Full member of the Imperial Academy of Arts (1910). Member of the Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (1896) and founding member of the Union of Russian Artists (1903). Contributed to the exhibitions of the Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (1889-1901), World of Art (1899-1901), 36 Artists (1901-03), Union of Russian Artists (1922, 1923), All-Russian Exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod (1896), Exposition Universelle in Paris (1900), International Exhibitions in Munich (1898,1909) and Rome (1911), Die erste russische Kunstausstellung in Berlin (1922) and the Exhibition of Russian Art in New York (1924). Honoured Artist of the RUSSIAN SOVIET FEDERATED SOCIALIST REPUBLIC (1942).

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