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The Poor Gathering Coal in a Worked-Out Mine. 1894

Kasatkin Nikolai,
Oil on canvas
80,3 x 107

State Russian Museum


Nikolai Kasatkin tells the story of the everyday lives of the women and children of Alexandrovsk-Grushevsky (now Shakhty), the chief commercial centre of the eastern Donets coal basin in southern Russia, describing one of the gloomy paradoxes of the industrial revolution in Russia. While their fathers and husbands are mining for anthracite underground, the women and children attempt to make ends meet by scouring the site of an old mine for scraps of coal. The expressiveness of the depicted scene — resolved as an everyday, repetitive action — is increased by the slag heaps, gaping potholes and lifeless landscape. People rake in the ground as far as the horizon. Kasatkin’s adherence to Critical Realism and modest, dark tones reflects the continued influence of his teacher, Vasily Perov, in the 1890s.

Author's Biography

Kasatkin Nikolai

Kasatkin, Nikolai Alexeyevich
1859, Moscow - 1930, Moscow
Painter, teacher, genre artist. Studied under Vasily Perov and Illarion Pryanishnikov at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (from 1873). Contributed to the exhibitions of the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions and the Moscow Society of Lovers of the Arts (from 1883). Member of the Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (from 1891), Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (1922-26) and the Unification of Realist Artists (from 1927). Visited Finland (1906), Norway, Sweden, Italy and Turkey (1908-10) and Britain (1924). Academician (1898), full member of the Imperial Academy of Arts (1903). Taught at the School of Lithography, Pavel Sytin Publishing House (1882-1917) and the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1894-1918). People''s Artist of the UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS (1923). Lived in Moscow.

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