Russian painter Viktor Vasnetsov (May 15, 1848 – Moscow, July 23, 1926) was also an architect, master of historical and folk art, specializing in mythological and historical subjects. Viktor Vasnetsov is considered the co-founder of Russian folklorist and romantic modernist painting and a key figure in the revivalist movement. He studied at the St. Petersburg School of Drawing Society for the Encouragement of Arts (1867-68), at I.N. Kramskoy (1868-75), and the Academy of Arts, in which he became a full member in 1893. Since 1878 Victor Vasnetsov was a member of the Association of the Wanderers.
He visited France (1876) and Italy (1885). Lived in St. Petersburg and Moscow. During his studies, drew for magazines and handicrafts. In the 1870s made small genre paintings, carefully painted in mostly grayish – brown tones. In the scene of street and home life of small merchants and officials, the urban poor and peasants Vasnetsov with large observation captures different types of contemporary society
the 1880s, leaving genre painting, Viktor Vasnetsov created works on themes of national history, Russian epics and folk tales, to which he almost entirely devoted all his further work. One of the first Russian artists turned to Russian folklore, Vasnetsov sought to give his epic character works a poetic form to embody the ideals of the age-old folk and high patriotic feelings.
Viktor Vasnetsov created the painting “After the Battle of Prince Igor with Polovtsy” (1880), “Alyonushka” (1881), imbued with sincere poetry, “Prince Ivan on the Grey Wolf” (1889), “Three Heroes” (1881-98), full of faith in heroic strength of Russian people, “Tsar Ivan the Terrible” (1897). These paintings are in Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.
With the general thrust of easel painting Vasnetsov in 1880 – 1890s was closely linked to the theater. Painted sets and costumes for the play – tale “The Snow Maiden” by Alexander Ostrovsky and the opera by Rimsky -Korsakov (in Moscow Private Russian Opera 1886). His works were example of creative interpretation of archaeological and ethnographic authentic material and had a great influence on the development of Russian theater and decorative art in the late 19th – early 20 centuries.
In 1883-85 Viktor Vasnetsov executed monumental mural “Stone Age” for the Historical Museum in Moscow. 1885-96 he worked on paintings for Vladimir Cathedral in Kiev. In the painting of the cathedral Vasnetsov tried to make spiritual and emotional content into the traditional system of monumental painting of the church.
Viktor Vasnetsov also performed a series of portraits – Vasnetsov, 1878; Ivan Petrov, 1883 (both – the Tretyakov gallery.) Illustrations for “The Song of the Wise Oleg” by Pushkin (watercolor, 1899, Museum of Literature, Moscow) . In Soviet times, Vasnetsov continued to work on the popular fairytale themes (“Fight of Dobrynya Nikitich with Seven-Headed Serpent Dragon”, 1918, “Kashchei Immortal”, 1917-26, both pictures are in House-Museum of Victor Vasnetsov in Moscow).