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Peter II and Princess Elizabeth Riding to Hounds. 1900

Serov Valentin,
Tempera and gouache on paper mounted on cardboard
41 x 39

State Russian Museum


Designed to illustrate Nikolai Kutepov’s book Tsarist and Imperial Hunting, Valentin Serov’s work reflects the new understanding of history painting at the turn of the century. Serov and the other members of the World of Art preferred poetic images of daily life in the “golden age” of the eighteenth century to the more important historical events. The artist depicted historical themes in order to reflect on the fate of his country. He depicts a dashing cavalcade consisting of the fourteen year-old Tsar Peter II (1727–30) and Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great, against a background of rickety huts and down-at-heel peasants. Dynamic, poignant and piquant, Peter II and Princess Elizabeth Riding to Hounds offers an excellent example of Serov’s painterly mastery. The rustic landscape in autumn makes an important contribution to the artistic image.

Author's Biography

Serov Valentin

Serov, Valentin Alexandrovich
1865, St Petersburg - 1911, Moscow
Painter, graphic artist, teacher, portraitist, landscapist, history painter. Son of the composer Alexander Serov. Studied under Ilya Repin in Paris and Moscow (1874-75, 1878-80) and under Pavel Chistyakov at the Imperial Academy of Arts (1880-85). Academician of painting (1898), full member of the Imperial Academy of Arts (1903-05). Member of the Abramtsevo circle (from the 18705). Contributed to exhibitions (from 1889). Contributed to the exhibitions of the Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions (1890-99; member from 1894), Munich Sezession (1896, 1898,1899; member from 1899), Exhibition of Russian and Finnish Artists (1898), World of Art (1896-1906, member from 1900; 1911-12, founding member), Berlin Sezession (1903), Exhibition of Historical Russian Portraits at the Tauride Palace in St Petersburg (1905), Union of Russian Artists (1905-10; member from 1903), Sergei Makovsky Salon (1909), Exposition Universelle in Paris (1900, grand prix), International Exhibitions in Munich (1909), Vienna (1902), Venice (1907), Brussels (1910) and Rome (1911) and the Exhibitions of Russian Art in Paris (1906, 1910), Berlin (1906) and Vienna (1908). Member of the board of the Tretyakov Gallery. Taught at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1897-1909). Designed for theatres in Moscow and St Petersburg and Sergei Diaghilev''s Saisons Russes (from 1886).

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