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Venerable Sergius of Radonezh. 1899

Nesterov Mikhail,
Oil on canvas
248 х 248

State Russian Museum


Mikhail Nesterov believed that the salvation of Russia lied in a moral ideal. For the artist the embodiment of such an ideal of Venerable Sergius of Radonezh, the founder of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, a hermit, a wonder-worker, a patron saint of all Russian lands. The image of Sergius of Radonezh attracted the artist’s attention during his whole life. Nesterov studied his deeds in chronicles and annals, and the results of these studies were 15 major paintings dedicated to the “hegumen of all Russia”. Among them there are Vision to Young Varfolomey and Youth of Venerable Sergius created in 1892—1897; a triptych Deeds of Venerable Sergius dated back to 1896—1897; Venerable Sergius 1899; studies for the work Venerable Sergius Bids Farewell to Dmitry Donskoy created in 1898—1899 and many others. The painter himself wrote about his favourite character: “I painted the life of a good Russian man of the 14th century, a man who sensed Nature and its beauty, and a man who loved his motherland and strived for truth. I illustrated a legend that my people made long ago about a person who was worth their love and memory”.

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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