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Dreams (On the Hill). From the Life of Christ series. 1890s–1900s

Polenov Vasily,
Oil on Canvas
131 x 142


Vasily Polenov began work on the From the Life of Christ series in 1899, following his second trip to the Middle East, and completed the last work in 1908. The artist brought many painted studies back from his travels and exhibited fifty eight of them in St Petersburg in 1909 and sixty four in Moscow and other towns. He often turned to Joseph-Ernst Renan’s Vie de Jésus for inspiration and Renan’s image of the Saviour largely coincides with his own. Although Polenov conveys the environment surrounding Christ — clothes, temples, houses and roads — with historical accuracy, he makes no attempt to observe the canons of Christian iconography. The artist does, however, impart great significance to the surrounding landscape. It radiates tranquility and grandeur, lending a special meaning to the “eventless” subject.

Author's Biography

Polenov Vasily

Polenov, Vasily Dmitriyevich
1844, St Petersburg - 1927, Bekhovo (Tula Province)
Painter, draughtsman, landscape painter, author of works on biblical subjects. Took lessons from Pavel Chistyakov (1859-61) and studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1863-67). Graduated from the legal faculty of the St Petersburg University (1871). Fellow of the Imperial Academy of Arts in Germany, Italy, France and Britain (1872-76). Academician (1876), professor of the Imperial Academy of Arts (1892). Member of the Abramtsevo circle (from 1873). Helped to found Sawa Mamontov''''s Russian Private Opera in Moscow (1884). Contributed to many exhibitions. Taught at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1882-94). People''''s Artist of Russia (1926). Opened a museum at the Borok estate (now the Vasily Polenov Estate Museum).

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