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Portrait of Nadezhda Stanyukovich. 1903. Unfinished

Borisov-Musatov Victor,
Oil on canvas
195 x 105

State Russian Museum

Пост.: 1920 из собр. В.К. Станюковича (Москва)


Nadezhda Yurievna Stanyukovich (née Ryzhkova) (1876–1905):_Wife of Vladimir Konstantinovich Stanyukovich (1874–1939), art historian, curator of the Russian Museum, author of first monograph on Victor Borisov-Musatov (published 1906). Both were close friends of the artist.
Victor Borisov-Musatov compared Nadezhda Stanyukovich to Botticelli’s legendary “model” Simonetta Vespucci. A contemporary recalled: “Nadezhda was an amazingly tender and fragile woman with a beautiful soul. The young artists of Borisov-Musatov’s circle … quaked in the presence of this simple and merry woman, revering her opinions and evaluations.” Many artists dedicated works to Nadezhda Stanyukovich. For Victor Borisov-Musatov, she was both a model and a close friend. Nadezhda, her husband Vladimir (an army officer and writer) and the musician Mikhail Bukinik constituted Borisov-Musatov’s circle of acquaintances in 1903; the artist jokingly referred to them as the “Saratov English Club”.
Victor Borisov-Musatov wrote of Nadezhda Stanyukovich: “No one felt art as ardently and subtly as she did.” He frequently painted her portrait: “Nadezhda and I sit at home and I draw for days on end. She posed for me in her great-grandmother’s dress.” A photograph of Nadezhda taken by Victor Borisov-Musatov anticipates the composition of this portrait. The sitter was later surprised that the artist had depicted her looking so sad and unhappy, claiming that she had a “merry” and “lively disposition”. The artist smiled and replied: “You do not know yourself.”
The friendship between Victor Borisov-Musatov and Nadezhda Stanyukovich only lasted three years. In 1905, she died, virtually in his arms. Nadezhda had followed her husband to Manchuria to work as a nurse during the Russo-Japanese War. She returned home “broken and shaken” by the experience and seriously ill. As death approached, Victor Borisov-Musatov was the only person she recognised: “Only in him do I believe.” Although the artist did not himself live long after Nadezhda’s death, he managed to pay tribute to his Simonetta in his final work – Requiem.

Author's Biography

Borisov-Musatov Victor

Borisov-Musatov, Victor Elpidiforovich
1870, Saratov - 1905, Tarusa
Painter, draughtsman. Studied under Vasily Konovalov in Saratov (from 1886), under Vasily Polenov at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1890-91, 1893-95), under Pavel Chistyakov at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1891-93) and at the Academic Fernand Connon in Paris (1895-98). Member of the Moscow Fellowship of Artists (1899) and the Union of Russian Artists (1903). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1885). Contributed to the periodical exhibitions of the Moscow Society of Lovers of the Arts (1898) and the exhibitions of the Moscow Fellowship of Artists (1899-1905), Scarlet Rose (1904), Union of Russian Artists (1904-05), Salon des Independants (1905), Salon de la Nationale (1905), Salon d''Automne (1905) and the World of Art (1906).

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