Korovin, Konstantine Alekseevich

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Korovin, Konstantine Alekseevich


Born Nov. 23 (Dec. 5), 1861, in Moscow; died Sept. 11, 1939, in Paris. Russian painter.

From 1875 to 1886, Korovin studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture under A. K. Savrasov and V. D. Polenov. In 1882 he attended the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. Initially working in Moscow, Korovin settled abroad in 1923.

From 1885 to 1891 and from 1896 to 1898, Korovin was a set designer of S. I. Mamontov’s Private Russian Opera in Moscow. Between 1903 and 1910 he designed sets for the Bolshoi Theater. In 1910 he became the principal set designer and artistic consultant of the Moscow Imperial Theaters. Korovin also taught at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture from 1901 to 1918 and at the State Free Art Studios from 1918 to 1919. His pupils included A. M. Gerasimov, S. V. Gerasimov, B. V. loganson, P. V. Kuznetsov, I. I. Mashkov, L. V. Turzhanskii, and K. F. luon. He was a member of the World of Art movement (Mir iskusstva) and the Union of Russian Artists.

Early in his career, Korovin was ranked among the most eminent Russian realist and plein air painters. He executed landscapes, genre scenes, and portraits. Examples of his work from this period are The Northern Idyll (1886, Tret’iakov Gallery), By the Balcony (1888-89, Tret’iakov Gallery), Winter (1894, Tret’iakov Gallery), and Portrait of T. S. Liubatovich (1886-87, Russian Museum, Leningrad). Korovin’s early period is marked by an intense love of life, a subtle and broad palette, and a direct and fresh apprehension of the world, nature, and sunlight. He introduced dynamic and picturesque elements into his monumental decorative works, such as the panels on themes from the Russian North for the Russian Exhibition of 1896 in Nizhny Novgorod and for the Paris Universal Exhibitions of 1900.

Korovin was greatly influenced by the achievements of the impressionists and sought to capture changing, fleeting impressions. At the outset of the 20th century he began to work with a light, almost shimmering palette and with an impulsive, sketchy painting technique. In 1910, Korovin began to use a broad loaded brush, a partially ornamental manner of painting, and deep lush colors (for example, Portrait of F. L Shaliapin, 1911, Russian Museum).

An innovator in theatrical painting, Korovin created a new type of colorful, spectacular stage set that corresponded emotionally with the ideas and moods of the performance (Pugni’s The Little Humpbacked Horse, 1901; Glinka’s Ruslan and Liudmilla, 1907; and Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel —all at the Bolshoi Theater, Moscow). Korovin’s later work, which was executed after his emigration to France, is marked by a superficial decorativeness.


Konstantin Korovin vspominaet. Moscow, 1971.


Konstantin Korovin: Zhizn’ i tvorchestvo. Moscow, 1963.
Kogan, D. Konstantin Korovin. Moscow, 1964.
Vlasova, R. I. Konstantin Korovin: Tvorchestvo. Leningrad, 1970.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.