(b St Petersburg, 19 Jan 1865; d Moscow, 5 Dec 1911).
Russian painter, graphic artist and stage designer. As a child he lived in St Petersburg, but he made frequent trips abroad. In 1874 he travelled to Paris with his mother and frequented the studio of the Russian Realist painter, Il’ya Repin. In 1875 the art patron Savva Mamontov invited Serov and his mother to settle at ABRAMTSEVO outside Moscow, where he again had the opportunity to study under Repin and to meet other artists in the Mamontov circle. The Symbolist paintings of Mikhail Vrubel’ and the late Impressionist landscapes and figure studies of Konstantin Korovin he saw at Abramtsevo had a lasting influence on the young Serov. From 1880 to 1885 he studied at the Academy of Art, St Petersburg, under Pavel Chistyakov (1832–1919). During the 1880s Serov also travelled abroad and became aware of French Impressionism. He began to use bright colours in portraits of figures seen in dappled sunlight and shade, as in his portrait of Vera Mamontov, Girl with Peaches (1887) and a portrait of Mariya Simonovich, Girl in Sunlight (1888; both Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.). Russians were so unfamiliar with French Impressionism at this time that when Pavel Tret’yakov immediately bought the Girl in Sunlight one of the older Realist artists complained that he was ‘infecting [his] gallery with syphilis’.
Music: Ernesto Cortazar-Just For You