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Room of Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich, Commander of the Ruschuk Detachment in Berestovets. 1878

Polenov Vasily,
Oil on canvas
42,5 х 56

State Russian Museum

Пост.: 1908 из собр. великого князя Сергея Александровича


When he was heir to the throne, Emperor Alexander III took part in the Russo-Turkish War of 1887–1878, commanding what was called the Eastern Detachment of the Danube Army. It was there that he developed a persistent aversion to military means of resolving conflicts. In the painting by Vasily Polenov, who spent the entire Turkish campaign as the official artist for the heir, the Grand Duke’s modest office is depicted, in the depths of which he is sitting at his desk, probably reading letters. A horn hangs above the window, which, like other brass instruments, the heir enjoyed playing. The pug that accompanied Alexander Alexandrovich even to war sits on the rug.

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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