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Mocking the Corpse of Ivan Miloslavsky. 1911

Gorelov Gavriil,
Oil on canvas
225 х 560

State Russian Museum


On 4 March 1697 the participants in the plot by Ivan Tsykler, the lieutenant-colonel in the streltsy, were quartered in the village of Preobrazhenskoye near Moscow, and the executions were accompanied by preparations that were very typical of Peter’s character. On the eve of the event the body of the recently-deceased uncle of Tsarevna Sophia, Ivan Miloslavsky, who had been ill-disposed towards Peter, was removed from its grave and brought to the place of execution on pigs. The coffin was placed beside scaffold and the blood of the victims dripped onto Miloslavsky’s corpse. Although such a savage act did not fit in well with the general trend of Peter’s actions, it was a historical fact.
Gavriil Gorelov’s painting Mocking the Corpse of Ivan Miloslavsky was painted in 1911 and sent to an international exhibition in Rome. Although such authoritative figures as Ilya Repin spoke positively about the work, the Russian government decided to remove it from the exhibition since in his picture Gorelov was shaking the long-established and officially propagated personality cult of Russia’s great reformer.

Author's Biography

Gorelov Gavriil

Gorelov, Gavriil Nikitich
1880, Pokrovskoye (Moscow Province) – 1966, Moscow
Painter, author of portraits and historical subjects. Studied at the school of art in Penza (1898–1903) under Konstantin Savitsky, Higher Art School of the Imperial Academy of Arts (1903–1911). Fellow of the Imperial Academy of Arts in Italy, France, Germany (1911–1912). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1904). Awarded a gold medal at the International Art Exhibition in Munich (1909) for Mocking the Heresy of the JudaisersUnder Ivan III. Member of the Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (1912–1916), Fellowship of South Russian Artists (1906–1909), Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (1924–1929). Taught at the Kharkiv School of Art (1914–1915), Moscow School of Art (1937–1938). Honorary art worker of the RSFSR (1947). Awarded the State (Stalin) Prize (1950). Full member of the Academy of Arts of the USSR (1953).

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