Oil on сanvas
99 x 80
State Russian Museum
The complex structure of this painting is typical of Boris Kustodiev’s oeuvre as a whole, combining elements of an easel portrait, decorative panel, genre scene and landscape.
The famous Russian operatic bass Fyodor Chaliapin began his career as a fairground singer and always enjoyed performing for the common people. He is depicted in his native environment of a provincial town, with its sunshine and bracing frosts. Kustodiev depicts the motley and noisy atmosphere of the traditional Butterweek Fair, with its carousels, fairground booths, ice hills, sledge rides and gatherings around the samovar.
Kustodiev, Boris Mikhailovich (1818, Astrakhan - 1927, Leningrad)
Painter. Studied under Vasily Savinsky and Ilya Repin at the Higher School of Art, Imperial Academy of Arts (1896-1903). Fellow of the Imperial Academy of Arts in France and Spain (1903-1904). Academician of painting (1909). Founding member of the New Society of Artists (1904) and member of the Union of Russian Artists (1907), World of Art (1910) and the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (1923). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1900). Contributed to the periodical exhibitions of the Moscow Society of Lovers of the Arts (1900-1901), Spring Exhibitions of the Imperial Academy of Arts (1900-1903) and the exhibitions of the New Society of Artists (1904-1908), Union of Russian Artists (1907-1910), World of Art (1910-1924), Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (1923, 1925) and the International Exhibitions in Munich (1901, gold medal; 1909) and Malmo (1914, gold medal). Designed for theatres in Moscow and St Petersburg (from 1911).