Botkin, Vasilii

Botkin, Vasilii Petrovich


Born Dec. 27, 1811 (Jan. 8, 1812), in Moscow; died Oct. 10 (22), 1869, in St. Petersburg. Russian writer, critic, and art critic. Brother of the physician S. P. Botkin.

During the 1830’s and 1840’s, Botkin was close to the Westernizers M. A. Bakunin, V. G. Belinskii, and A. I. Herzen. His correspondence with Belinskii and others is of great social interest. He contributed to Teleskop and Otechestvennye zapiski. An expert on art, Botkin published articles on art exhibitions as well as on Shakespeare, E. T. A. Hoffmann, and G. Sand. In the field of music he wrote Italian and German Music (1839), On the Aesthetic Significance of the New School of Piano (1850), and works on Italian opera. In the survey “German Literature” (Otechestvennye zapiski, 1843), Botkin acquainted the Russian reader for the first time with the works of the young Engels (a summary of Engels’ pamphlet Schelling and Revelation). Traveling through Europe, Botkin met Marx, P. Leroux, and L. Blanc. Between 1847 and 1849 he published the essays “Letters on Spain” in Sovremennik. The Revolution of 1848 frightened Botkin and led to his rapprochement with the liberals. After 1855 he became a defender of “pure art.”


Sochineniia, vols. 1–3. St. Petersburg, 1890–93.


Egorov, B. F. “V. P. Botkin—literator i kritik.” Uch. zap. Tartuskogo un-ta, 1963, issue 139. (Has a bibliography.) 1965, issue 167; 1966, issue 184.
Kremlev, Iu. Russkaia mysl’ o muzyke, vol. 1. Leningrad, 1954.