Vasily Polenov’s "The Patient". THE STORY OF GRIEF BEHIND THE PAINTING

Yelena Terkel

Article: 
“GRANY” FOUNDATION PRESENTS
Magazine issue: 
#3 2019 (64)

“The Patient” differs significantly from the rest of Vasily Polenov’s work. A sophisticated landscape artist who also painted a number of works on New Testament themes, Polenov was fond of open spaces and light colours - his work, with few exceptions, feels imbued with joy, with positive emotions. “The Patient” is one such exception. He worked on the painting for some 13 years, during which time it closely reflected his personal sufferings: the artist was inspired by the loss of people to whom he was very close, both to begin the piece and later to resume work on it.

Polenov began “The Patient" in 1873, the year in which he experienced the first tragic loss in his life. The story began as a romantic one: Polenov, a young and hopeful artist, had been awarded the Large Gold Medal in the student competition of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts, followed by a grant to travel in Europe. In Rome he met the two daughters of Zoya Obolenskaya, whose story, thanks to Alexander Herzen's publication in the “Kolokol" (Bell) newspaper, had sent shockwaves around Russia as well as through the cultural elites of Europe. Obolenskaya, nee Countess Sumarokova, was married to Prince Alexei Obolensky, the Governor of Moscow. They had five children together, but the marriage was not a happy one, and in the 1860s she lived with her daughters in Italy and Switzerland, where she became captivated by revolutionary ideas. Furious, her husband demanded that she return to Russia; when the princess refused, he tracked her down in Vevey, a resort on Lake Geneva, stormed into her house, and took away the couple's two younger daughters. Yekaterina, the oldest of the girls, remained with her mother. As they grew older, such a complicated family life would shape the sisters' personalities: Yekaterina, who was raised among Russian emigres, was a free spirit, while Maria was more serious, reserved and introverted. Maria had a passion for singing and eventually came to Rome, where she took voice lessons, and her mother and older sister stayed in the city from time to time (Yekaterina had married by then, changing her last name to Mordvinov).[1]

Yekaterina and Maria were part of the Russian artistic circle in Rome, a group that included Polenov, the sculptor Mark Antokolsky, the painter Henryk Siemiradzki, Savva and Yelizaveta Mamontov, Adrian and Emilia Prakhov, and others. They were young people full of the joy of life: they explored the city, played music together, and enjoyed discussing a whole variety of topics.

The Obolensky sisters were hospitable - Polenov's archive includes an invitation from them to a pancake feast - and their small circle of friends felt like a family. Yekaterina, the older of the two, was especially close to the Prakhovs and was godmother to their son Nikolai, who was born in Rome. Polenov came to appreciate the uncommonly spiritual Maria Obolenskaya, and soon fell deeply in love with her. Tragically, fate would intervene: in March 1873, while she was caring for the Mamontov children through illness, Maria herself contracted measles and died a few days later of secondary pneumonia.

Polenov was deeply shocked. Very few people had had any idea of his love for Maria; indeed, he had tried to suppress his feelings for her, because he had not wanted to be distracted from his artistic calling. (He mentioned such issues at this time in a letter to Ilya Repin: “I find myself caught up in such a whirlwind - the hectic, worldly life has taken over, and I have forgotten my ascetic inspirations... I do not even know any more if I should stay in Rome or run away from it. An artist, as long as he is working, has to be an ascetic, albeit an ascetic who is in love - in love with his work and nothing else.").[2] After Maria's death this unnecessary inner struggle seemed pointless: Polenov wrote a desperate letter to his family at home, causing great alarm there. “Vasya, my darling, what terrible, heart-breaking news. And how sudden," his sister, Vera, commiserated. “You never wrote to me about her, but here I am now, crying over the loss of her as if she were my good friend. This is one of those moments when the only thing we can do is grieve together - there is no consolation that I can give you - it is only within yourself that you may find it...’’[3] The support of his family was vital to Polenov. His father wrote to him, too: “Your mother and I hope that time, as it does for us all, eases your pain. Your loss is even more painful because it is the first one in your life; so far, you have been spared, one might say, lucky. As much as we feel for you, I still wish and ask that you do not give way to the despair of which your letters speak. You are a man of purpose, and you must not forget about that."[4] The artist's grandmother, Vera Voyeikova, advised him to go to Florence or Vienna, or even better, to return home.

Grief-stricken, Polenov did not have the heart to leave Rome: the place was so dear to him, so full of memories. It seemed as if his dead Marusya, as he had known Maria Obolenskaya, had been there only a moment ago, walking the streets of the city, conversing and singing. The artist often came to the Monte Testaccio cemetery (the resting-place for non-Catholics in Rome, it was also known as the Cimitero degli Inglesi, the English, or Protestant cemetery) where Maria was buried, and sketched there. Maria's sister Yekaterina wrote: “Thank you for sending me your study of Maria's grave (my mother is sad that the sky was not blue, since a gloomy day is rare there). Maria's birthday is on July 1/13 - she would have been 19. If you are still in Rome at the time, will you arrange for a wreath? Please order it ahead of time, to make sure they can find enough white roses, and take it to Testaccio."[5]

Vasily POLENOV. The Patient. Sketch for the first version of the painting. 1873
Vasily POLENOV. The Patient. Sketch for the first version of the painting. 1873
Graphite pencil on paper. 13 × 19.5 cm
© Vasily Polenov Museum-Reserve

Finally, Polenov took the decision to go back to work. Painful as it was, he determined to paint the last moments of his beloved's life and conceived of the idea for “The Patient", making an initial pencil sketch. He also started painting a portrait of Maria, while also continuing his work on “The Right of the Master (Droit du seigneur)". Everyone was happy that Polenov was painting again, with Savva Mamontov expressing hope that the painful experience would in the end make his friend stronger and motivate him in his artistic endeavours: “Make sure you do not squander your technique - the cup of life, which you are quaffing (or rather have begun to quaff) to the fullest will give you power - that is certain. Compare the two subjects you have been working on: the first is a scene from court, the later one, the death of a young girl. Your second [work] already bears your scars, and thank goodness for that."[6] Mamontov here refers to the early stages of Polenov's work on “The Patient"; however, it appears that the artist set the painting aside, his imagination captured instead by his portrait of Maria. To help him with his work, Zoya Obolenskaya sent him a photograph of her daughter, which Polenov would treasure for the rest of his life.[7]

As he worked on the portrait of his beloved, the artist was caught up in his memories of her. It was both a detriment and an aid: Maria came alive, not only in the artist's heart, but on his canvas as well. Polenov took his time - for as long as he was painting Maria, she seemed to be there, next to him. He wrote to Fyodor Chizhov: “My portrait of Marusya Obolenskaya is unfinished, it is just a first sketch, and I am not sure myself how I can finish it; I am not convinced that I can, especially when it comes to finishing the face, where the photograph does not really help any more, and I have to rely on my memory."[8] When Chizhov saw the finished portrait, he was elated: “When you painted Obolenskaya's portrait, you were guided by your love, the most veritable of feelings and the most genuine of artistic inspirations. The history of art gives us plenty of illustrations, while the history of the heart gives us even more examples, much more compelling ones."[9]

Vasily POLENOV. The Patient. Original version, early 1870s
Vasily POLENOV. The Patient. Original version, early 1870s
Oil on canvas. 101 × 157 cm
© Latvian National Museum of Art, Riga

It took some time before Polenov could part with the portrait: he kept it in his studio for a long time after finishing it. He sent the painting to Zoya Obolenskaya at the end of 1875.[10] She replied to him: “When I saw the portrait, I was shaken to my very core - I felt that I saw my beloved Maruysa in front of me, shining in the full beauty of her 18 years, with that dreamy expression on her angelic face! Her gaze is so full of life, thought and feeling that it penetrates my soul. I could not, and still cannot, look at this marvellous portrait without tears in my eyes; the more I look at it, the harder it is to tear myself away. My Maruysa, with all of her beauty, both of body and soul, her eyes, her humble nature, her deep and serious thoughtfulness, all the wonderful aspects of her lovely nature, all her delightful qualities - you captured it all with astonishing sensitivity and accuracy... Nobody but you could have revealed Maria's inner life on canvas. Meanwhile, [the sculptor Mark] Antokolsky is working on a monument for Maruysa's grave. He writes that everyone is praising him, and that the work will be one of his best."[11]

Antokolsky had indeed been commissioned to create a monument for Maria's grave at the Monte Testaccio cemetery. Ilya Repin would write much later about this sculptural masterpiece in his memoir “Far Away, Close By": “It had been a long time since I had seen this original statue in its place, and I was astonished by its beauty, its poetry and sincerity. The face and whole figure of this beautiful young woman has an exalted feeling to it that is impossible to describe, a unique mood that has no place here on earth, in life's reality. This is a soul at peace, quite detached from the bustle of everyday life, one which feels in itself the depth and gravity of the world's harmony."[12] Another artistic memorial came in the form of a poem, titled “At the Grave of a Young Girl", written by Arseny Golenishchev-Kutuzov, a poet and writer who was also part of the same literary circle in Rome:

“A cruel affliction has brought her
To the threshold of an early grave;
The crypt’s sorrowful dark, she senses,
And bends her head in pain and grief...
Around her spring, and flowers, and Joy,
And sun, and splendour everywhere –
But death drives her to the tomb,
Its cold darkness, its eternal sleep!"[13]

Without Maria, the Russian artistic circle in Rome gradually fell apart, its members moving away and writing to one another only occasionally. Another acquaintance whom Polenov had encountered in Rome was the 20-year-old Yelizaveta Boguslavskaya - he introduced her to his friends in the city - and it is through their correspondence that the next stage of his work on “The Patient" can be reconstructed. Despite her young years, Yelizaveta was already a mature individual with a strong will and clear direction, who was eager to live a socially meaningful life. Unlike Obolenskaya, she was not an artistic type, and the world of art was in fact rather alien to her; nevertheless, her passionate desire for social justice and equality, as well as her dream of attending university, appealed to Polenov, in whom Boguslavskya found a true friend. (“As soon as I was back, my first thought was to write to Polenov," she would write upon returning from Rome to Russia.)[14]

Boguslavskya tried to console the grieving artist by urging him to seek solace in his work. Her letters were somewhat harsh but sincere and passionate, and they did help Polenov overcome this crisis: “We are the salt of the earth, the world needs us, and we have received everything enabling us to make a difference. To lead an aimless life, to eat the bread that real people harvest for us, to be idle (because Ob[olenskya] died, even if you loved her) while someone else, and maybe even several people, work, the sweat and blood streaming down their faces, to make sure you have food tomorrow - it is dishonourable, disgusting and despicable. You have to give back what has been given to you. Think, Polenov, is your love and death really worth it that somebody should work for you, and work so hard!"[15]

These letters, along with his family's advice, contributed to Polenov's recovery - the artist was working once again. He almost forgot about Boguslavskaya, but she kept writing to him in Rome, Vienna and Paris, with compulsive persistence, demanding his advice and support and complaining about his sporadic responses. Yelizaveta's dream was to attend university but at the time Russian law did not allow women to obtain higher education: she was resolute in her intentions, however, and at the end of August 1873 she arrived in Leipzig (the location of one of Europe's oldest universities), unaccompanied and against her parents' will.

Active and sociable by nature, she did not settle down; she also came to depend emotionally on her correspondence with Polenov. “I sometimes feel the urge to pour my heart out to someone, and you are one of those people with whom I am more or less comfortable," she wrote. “Even though there are those with whom I have so much more in common, they love me and take each of my struggles too close to heart. As for you, you will not be too distressed if you learn that I, too, am not perfectly fine."[16] Boguslavskaya wrote Polenov long letters, complaining about academic challenges, the attitude of her professors to her, and most importantly, about her loneliness. Yelizaveta was so eager to see her old friend: “Comfort me, Polenov, I am really miserable. Come and spend just a day in Leipzig, I will take you to a lovely garden - I can assure you that you have never seen anything like it... I am certain that if I spend any more time alone, especially in this emotional state, I will go mad, or something else will happen."[17]

Polenov promised her that he would visit Leipzig on his way from Russia to Paris, but was unable to keep his word, which left Boguslavskaya distraught: “Today I remembered many events from our life in Rome, and it made me so sad that I even cried a little. Yes, to tell the truth, all that glitters is not gold. I would have been happy to see you. I have also grown very thin. I do not eat nearly enough (one has to have a great deal of money here not to starve); neither do I see people who are more or less dear to me."[18] In Italy, Yelizaveta had been happy, healthy and sociable; it was there that she made new friends and met Polenov, for whom she cared beyond measure. In the university town of Leipzig, nobody cared for her. Polenov had almost entirely forgotten about her, too. Yelizaveta wrote to him: “Naturally, I am not upset with you, even though I would have to admit that deep in my heart I was insulted by your lengthy silence... I am a most miserable person in this regard: if I get attached to someone, I really do become attached. Well, God will forgive you!. I only ask that you be honest with me and tell me that you do not want to correspond with me. Indeed, this shall in no way change my feelings for you."[19] Finally, Polenov was beginning to understand that Yelizaveta really needed his letters, that he meant too much in her life. He wrote her a letter that was full of compassion, and she replied: “My darling, I love and trust you so much that one affectionate word from you was enough to calm me. You are so dear to my heart. I am too far from being perfect myself."[20]

In her Leipzig life, Boguslavskaya never had enough to eat, but her pride would not allow her to ask her friends or family for money. Her thoughts grew dark: “So many times I asked God to take me! And what is the cause of all my troubles? It is always the same thing: I have no warm clothes, and I am ill all the time. I went to see a doctor and he concluded that my nerves were in a pitiful state, and I have breakdowns all the time."[21] In spite of her worsening health, Yelizaveta continued her studies. Gradually she became the centre of a circle of young Russians, who shared her circumstances - they were all living in a foreign land. Their lives were hard, they were all poor, but they also shared lofty aspirations: the desire for education and the need to live socially responsible lives. Boguslavskaya took their troubles to heart; meanwhile her own health deteriorated, and she took to her bed with fever and bronchitis for long periods of time. In February 1874 she wrote to Polenov: “Truth be told, I was terribly frightened - I thought I was really going to die, that spring would bring the end to me."[22] In desperate need of money, Boguslavskaya decided to return to Russia, especially after she was offered the post of headmistress at a girls' training school. However, she had no money to travel, her health was worsening, and her doctors diagnosed consumption.

Horrified, the ailing Yelizaveta wrote to Polenov: “My darling, try to understand my hopeless, horrible plight. Can you imagine what I feel when I tell myself that in two, three months I will be gone? My God, I wish you knew how hard these days have been for me. Just think of it - I am barely 21. Could it be that there is nothing better in store for me than a dark grave? It seems that the climate in Leipzig is so bad that I can feel its deleterious effect - but I am unable to leave. My dear Polenov, could you borrow 200 rubles from someone?"[23] This was the first time that she had ever asked for financial help. Boguslavskaya's married sister, who lived in Russia, offered her home to Yelizaveta and herself left for Leipzig urgently. Yelizaveta wrote to her old friends, Polenov, Mamontov and Mordvinova, but none of them sent any money, and she fell into depression. Late in May, Yelizaveta's sister wrote to Polenov with an urgent plea to somehow find the 200 rubles needed to enable the fading patient to travel. Polenov borrowed the money, and Yelizaveta was brought back to Russia.

Before long he received a letter from her. “My noble friend, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the compassion that you have showed me," she wrote. “You still hope that we will see each other again; no, my darling, we will not. I am now in Belopolye, but soon I will be in my grave... Farewell, my dear one."[24] Yelizaveta's last letter arrived in August 1874; it was sent from South Tyrol, where her family had sent her for treatment. Unfortunately, she was not to recover: Polenov knew that her fate was sealed. He was struggling with conflicting emotions, as memories of the long-gone Maria Obolenskaya combined with the realities of the final months in the life of Yelizaveta Boguslavskaya, who had loved him so. For the artist, the only way to deal with these feelings was to paint: Polenov returned to “The Patient".

In the painting, we see a poorly furnished room; an exhausted young girl lies slumped in bed, books and medicines covering the table. The suitcase under the bed is a sign that this miserable lodging is temporary. The table lamp throws soft light on the girl's face, which is full of suffering and pain. It could almost be an illustration to one of Yelizaveta's last letters: “I wish you could understand how miserable my nights are. An almost relentless cough starts at midnight; then I cannot lie on my right side because of the wheezing in my chest, and as a result I now have pain in my left side and back. I also sweat so much that by the morning my pillow and sheets are damp. In short, my nights are a whole series of torments."[25] It is one such restless night that we see in the painting; how many more like that will follow?

Polenov resumed work on “The Patient" in the late 1870s, upon his return from the Russo-Turkish War. When the artist's father died in autumn 1878, sadness filled his family life. In early 1879 Polenov was shaken by Ivan Kramskoi's drawing “Meeting the Troops", which showed a woman in deep mourning together with her children, who are greeting soldiers returning from war from a balcony. (Kramskoi, who had himself lost a child not long before, had expressed his own grief in the work.) In a letter to Kramskoi, Polenov wrote that those artists who saw the drawing “stayed in a quiet, sad mood for almost an hour."[26] Gradually, Polenov began to think that he should finish “The Patient", the work that brought back such sad memories.

Yet another tragedy in Polenov's life, the death of his twin sister Vera, is associated with his completing the painting. The siblings had spent the summer and autumn of 1880 in Imochentsy, their parents' estate in the Olonets Governorate, before returning to St. Petersburg. Vasily then left for Moscow, where he received news of his sister's illness: “Vera is unwell and has taken to her bed."[27] He wrote back from Moscow, where he was working on “The Patient": “This news shook me to my core. She seemed to have been feeling well all summer and autumn, she worked a lot, took walks at last, and endured the winter journey from Imochentsy to St. Petersburg with unusual fortitude. I was so happy that she had grown stronger and healthier, and all of a sudden she is sick in bed."[28] Vera's illness progressed slowly, and sometimes she seemed to be getting better; in late December, the artist wrote to his younger sister Yelena, who was taking care of Vera, “It has been so much easier to work since she has been better; it used to be so terribly hard."[29] However, the patient's health continued to decline, and soon it was clear all their efforts were in vain. Vera succumbed to pleurisy on March 7 1881.

Vasily POLENOV. Portrait of the Artist’s Sister, Vera Khrushcheva. 1874
Vasily POLENOV. Portrait of the Artist’s Sister, Vera Khrushcheva. 1874
Oil on canvas. 48.2 × 39.5 cm
© Vasily Polenov Museum-Reserve

Polenov continued working on his painting throughout his sister's illness. His wife Natalya described the process in a letter she wrote to the landscape painter and art collector Ilya Ostroukhov: “Having returned to Moscow, Vasily began working on ‘The Patient', the painting he had conceived long ago under the impression from the illness and death of a young girl, a student who died of consumption in dispiriting poverty. The grave news of Vera's illness and its progression fitted the mood of the painting... He finished ‘The Patient' in the spring."[30] Ostroukhov recorded the circumstances in which he had first met the Polenovs in autumn 1881: “Immediately after the hallway you came into a spacious room with a tall ceiling, which served as the artist's studio. Nice and comfortable. The large finished painting ‘The Patient' and several studies were in the corner."[31] Thus, according to the artist's contemporaries, the work was finished in 1881, and the fact that it is dated 1886 can be explained by Polenov's decision to make final changes before submitting it to the “Peredvizhniki" exhibition the same year. Natalya wrote again in February 1886: “Vasily is working quite hard on ‘The Patient' - he would rather not have anyone sit for him because that would only break his focus, and lead him to paint an altogether different work."[32] The final version was shown at the 14th Exhibition of the Society for Travelling Art (the “Peredvizhniki") that year, where Pavel Tretyakov purchased it for his collection.

Vasily POLENOV. The Patient. 1886
Vasily POLENOV. The Patient. 1886
Oil on canvas. 135.7 × 188 cm
© Tretyakov Gallery

Polenov had finally parted with his painting, a work so associated with sad memories. It was as if the canvas itself had taken on the weight of these irreplaceable losses, relieving the artist's pain and sorrow. It was a Freudian “restoration of the soul", and even though psychoanalysis was still in its infancy, figures of culture had long relied on such proven remedies, creating paintings, poems and symphonies that helped them live through emotional trials and tribulations. The sadness of a young life slipping away often led artists to create powerful pieces of visual art; in the same year, 1886, Edvard Munch painted “The Sick Child", based on the memories of the final days of his older sister (Sophie Munch had succumbed to tuberculosis in 1877). Artists created such paintings as a farewell to their loved ones, both overcoming their grief and seeking light. It was no coincidence that when Yelizaveta Mamontova, wife of Savva Mamontov, died in 1908, Polenov wrote to his daughter Yekaterina: “Moments such as this make me think of Zhukovsky's lines; I think they were as follows: ‘Of those we loved, who lit up our lives so,/Say not with sadness: they are no more; instead, with gratitude: they were.’"[33]

 

  1. After the death of her husband Alexander Mordvinov (18421889), Yekaterina later married the renowned clinician Sergei Botkin.
  2. Polenov, Vasily. “Correspondence. Diaries. Memoirs". Moscow, Leningrad, 1950. P. 26. Hereinafter - Correspondence.
  3. Correspondence. P. 27.
  4. Correspondence. P. 28.
  5. Correspondence. P. 29.
  6. Correspondence. P. 30.
  7. Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery. F. 54. Item 3337.
  8. Sakharova, Ye.V. “Vasily Polenov. Yelena Polenov. An Artists’ Family Chronicle". Moscow, Iskusstvo, 1964. P. 144. Hereinafter-Sakharova.
  9. Ibid. P. 243.
  10. Later in her life Zoya Obolenskaya remarried, becoming Zoya Ostroga.
  11. Correspondence. P. 108.
  12. Repin, Ilya. “Far Away, Close By", Leningrad, 1986. P. 417.
  13. “The Works of Count Golenish- chev-Kutuzov". Vol. 1. St. Petersburg, 1894. P. 143.
  14. Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery. F. 54. Item 1332. L. 1.
  15. Ibid. Item 1350. L 1/reverse.
  16. Ibid. Item 1334. L 1.
  17. Ibid. Item 1334. L 2/reverse-3.
  18. Ibid. Item 1336. L 1-1/reverse.
  19. Ibid. Item 1337. L 1-1/reverse.
  20. Ibid. Item 1339. L 1.
  21. Ibid. Item 1339. L 1/reverse.
  22. Ibid. Item 1340. L 1.
  23. Ibid. Item 1346. L 1-1/reverse.
  24. Ibid. Item 1348. L 1-2.
  25. Ibid. Item 1353. L 1/reverse.
  26. Sakharova. P. 270.
  27. Ibid. P. 285.
  28. Ibid. Pp. 285-286.
  29. Ibid. P. 287.
  30. Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery. F. 10. Item 5198. L. 2/reverse.
  31. Correspondence. P. 448.
  32. Sakharova. P. 364.
  33. Sakharova. P. 662. Polenov's recollection of the quotation, from Vasily Zhukovsky's poem “A Memory", is inaccurate.

Illustrations

Vasily POLENOV. The Patient. 1886. Detail
Vasily POLENOV. The Patient. 1886
Oil on canvas. Detail
© Tretyakov Gallery
Vasily POLENOV. Sitting Woman in a Dark Shawl. Sketch for the first version of “The Patient”. Late 1870s-early 1880s
Vasily POLENOV. Sitting Woman in a Dark Shawl. Sketch for the first version of “The Patient”. Late 1870s-early 1880s
Graphite pencil on paper. 39 × 27.5 cm
© Tretyakov Gallery
Yekaterina Obolenskaya-Mordvinova (Botkina). Early 1870s
Yekaterina Obolenskaya-Mordvinova (Botkina). Early 1870s
Photograph
© Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery. First publication
Maria Obolenskaya. Early 1870s
Maria Obolenskaya. Early 1870s
Photograph
© Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery. First publication
Group of graduates of the Academy of Arts. 1871
Group of graduates of the Academy of Arts
From left to right, sitting: Pavel Kovalevsky, Ilya Repin, Johann-Georg-Christian Urlaub, Konstantin Savitsky, Yevgeny Makarov; standing: Vasily Polenov, Mikhail Kudryavtsev 1871. Photograph
© Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery
Vasily Polenov. Early 1870s
Vasily Polenov. Early 1870s
Photograph
© Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery
Vasily Polenov’s visiting card with a handwritten note to Adrian Prakhov. 1870s
Vasily Polenov’s visiting card with a handwritten note to Adrian Prakhov. 1870s
© Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery. First publication
Vasily POLENOV. Capri. From the artist’s sketchbook, from his trip to Europe, 1872–1873. Detail
Vasily POLENOV. Capri. From the artist’s sketchbook, from his trip to Europe, 1872-1873
Graphite pencil on paper, glued on paper. 23.8 × 35.5 cm
© Tretyakov Gallery
Vasily POLENOV. View of Mount Vesuvius from the Hills of Capri. From the artist’s sketchbook, from his trip to Europe, 1873. Detail
Vasily POLENOV. View of Mount Vesuvius from the Hills of Capri. From the artist’s sketchbook, from his trip to Europe, 1873
Graphite pencil on paper, glued on paper. 23.8 × 35.5 cm
© Tretyakov Gallery
Vasily POLENOV. A Tree in Albano. From the artist’s sketchbook, from his trip to Europe, 1872–1873. Detail
Vasily POLENOV. A Tree in Albano. From the artist’s sketchbook, from his trip to Europe, 1872-1873
Graphite pencil on paper, glued on paper. 23.8 × 35.5 cm
© Tretyakov Gallery
Vasily POLENOV. Architectural Drawing. From the artist’s sketchbook, from his trip to Europe, 1872–1873. Detail
Vasily POLENOV. Architectural Drawing. From the artist’s sketchbook, from his trip to Europe, 1872-1873
Graphite pencil on paper, glued on paper. 23.8 × 35.5 cm
© Tretyakov Gallery
Vasily POLENOV. Sketches of Albano. From the artist’s sketchbook, from his trip to Europe, 1872–1873. Detail
Vasily POLENOV. Sketches of Albano. From the artist’s sketchbook, from his trip to Europe, 1872-1873
Graphite pencil on paper, glued on paper. 23.8 × 35.5 cm
© Tretyakov Gallery
Vasily POLENOV. Rome. The Sallustiano Obelisk, near the Church of Trinità dei Monti. From the artist’s sketchbook, from his trip to Europe, 1872–1873. Detail
Vasily POLENOV. Rome. The Sallustiano Obelisk, near the Church of Trinità dei Monti. From the artist’s sketchbook, from his trip to Europe, 1872-1873
Graphite pencil on paper, glued on paper. 23.8 × 35.5 cm
© Tretyakov Gallery
Vasily POLENOV. Architectural Drawing. From the artist’s sketchbook, from his trip to Europe, 1872–1873. Detail
Vasily POLENOV. Architectural Drawing. From the artist’s sketchbook, from his trip to Europe, 1872-1873
Graphite pencil on paper, glued on paper. 23.8 × 35.5 cm
© Tretyakov Gallery
Rome. View of St. Peter’s Basilica from the Vatican Gardens. Late 19th century
Rome. View of St. Peter’s Basilica from the Vatican Gardens. Late 19th century
Postcard
© Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery
Maria Obolenskaya on her deathbed. 1873
Maria Obolenskaya on her deathbed. 1873
Photograph
© Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery. First publication
Telegram from Zoya Ostroga to Vasily Polenov, confirming receipt of his portrait of Maria Obolenskaya. 1875
Telegram from Zoya Ostroga to Vasily Polenov, confirming receipt of his portrait of Maria Obolenskaya. 1875
© Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery. First publication
Mark Antokolsky’s memorial sculpture on the grave of Maria Obolenskaya. 1890s
Mark Antokolsky’s memorial sculpture on the grave of Maria Obolenskaya. 1890s. Photograph
© Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery
Letter from Yelizaveta Boguslavskaya to Vasily Polenov. June 18 [1874]
Letter from Yelizaveta Boguslavskaya to Vasily Polenov. June 18 [1874]
© Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery. First publication
Vasily Polenov in Rome. 1884. Photograph
Vasily Polenov in Rome. 1884. Photograph
© Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery
Vasily POLENOV. Portrait of a Woman. Sketches for “The Patient”. 1870s
Vasily POLENOV. Portrait of a Woman. Sketches for “The Patient”. 1870s
Graphite pencil on paper. 18 × 22.2 cm
© Tretyakov Gallery
© ГТГ
Vasily POLENOV. The Patient. A study, early 1880s
Vasily POLENOV. The Patient. A study, early 1880s
Oil on canvas. 41.7 × 59.5 cm
© Tretyakov Gallery
Ilya REPIN. Portrait of Vasily Polenov. 1877
Ilya REPIN. Portrait of Vasily Polenov. 1877
Oil on canvas. 80.8 × 65.4 cm
© Tretyakov Gallery
Vera Khrushcheva (née Polenova). 1870s
Vera Khrushcheva (née Polenova). 1870s. Photograph
© Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery
Vasily POLENOV. The Artist’s Sister Vera Khrushcheva (née Polenova) on Her Deathbed. 1881
Vasily POLENOV. The Artist’s Sister Vera Khrushcheva (née Polenova) on Her Deathbed. 1881
Graphite pencil on paper. 19.5 × 25.5 cm
© Tretyakov Gallery
Gallery No. 19 display, Tretyakov Gallery. On the far wall, “The Patient” and “The Right of the Master (Droit du seigneur)”. 1900
Gallery No. 19 display, Tretyakov Gallery. On the far wall, “The Patient” and “The Right of the Master (Droit du seigneur)”. 1900
Photograph
© Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery

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