A Portrait of the Painter Ivan Kramskoi
Of course, we have seen a slew of works by Kramskoi (1837-87) lately. He was one of the founders and leading lights of the Peredvizhniki (Wanderers), the first truly Russian national “school of art”. It stressed the depiction of ordinary life and ordinary people engaged in their usual activities. Needless to say, if a portrait commission came their way, it was snatched up, and the resulting works were normally very true-to-life. Kramskoi’s most vibrant works were his touching and dignified paintings of the peasantry. If I were to name his three most powerful works, they are Christ in the Desert (1872), Unconsolable Grief (1884), and A Portrait of a Woman (1883). The last two are found below, the first painting is found above this post (it is considered his masterwork, it deserves to stand alone).
So, here is one of the greats of our Russian art world, little-known, if at all, in the West. I chose this portrait by Yaroshenko as it shows Kramskoi at work in his better “go to meetin’ grubbies” (you know what I mean, Bill!).