Oil on canvas
156 x 282
State Russian Museum
This is the only large picture by Vasily Surikov without historical content. Painted in Krasnoyarsk, it was inspired by the artist’s childhood memories. He portrays an amusing game typically played on the last day of Shrovetide. A small town would be built from snow and ice. One group would guard the town while the other attacked. This game possibly came from the Cossacks in remembrance of the subjugation of Siberia. Surikov’s painting is an expression and celebration of the Russian character.
Surikov, Vasily Ivanovich
184 8, Krasnoyarsk -1916, Moscow
Studied in Krasnoyarsk, at the School of Drawing, Society for the Encouragement of Artists (1869) and under Pavel Chistyakov at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1869-75). Member of the Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (from 1881) and the Union of Russian Artists (from 1908). Full member of the Imperial Academy of Arts (1893), academician (1895). Visited Western Europe and Siberia. Lived in Moscow (from 1877).