Oil on wood
32 х 40,5
State Russian Museum
Пост.: 1921 из собр. Ручко (Петроград)
In the second half of the 19th century scenes of boyars feasting and drinking were among the favourite themes for Russian artists. Subjects like these allowed the artist to build up a rich, decorative and colourful composition, to show his knowledge of the architecture and life of old Russia and to demonstrate the virtuosity of his brush in rendering fabrics, metals and gems. Artists might introduce drama into these compositions so as to make them realistically convincing, or, on the contrary, they could treat them in a humorous or satirical way. An example of the latter is a small painting by Claudius Lebedev called Boyar in which the figure of the elderly boyar, who has drunk himself almost insensible, contrasts with the beauty of the objects surrounding him.
Lebedev, Claudius Vasilyevich
1852, Moscow (?) – 1916, Moscow
Painter, graphic artist, genre painter, illustrator, teacher. Born to a peasant family. Studied at the Stroganov School of Art and Industry (first half of the 1870s), Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1875–1881). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1877). Exhibitor of the Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (1884–1898, member from 1891), Moscow Society of Lovers of Arts (1898–1908). Taught at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (from 1890–1894), Imperial Academy of Arts (1894–1898, professor of life class). Academician (1894–1898, professor). Academician of painting (1897), full member of the Imperial Academy of Arts (from 1906). Painted icons for the iconostasis of the Bulgarian St Stephen Church in Istanbul. Illustrated Russian fairy tales, worked for magazines Pictorial Review, World Illustration and Niva.