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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a 17th-century Russian portrait. The first parsuni resembled icon paintings in both technique and style (for example, the parsuna of Tsar Fedor Ivanovich, early 17th century, Historical Museum, Moscow). In the late 17th century, the parsuna developed in two directions. The first stressed the principles of icon painting. In one style the subject’s features appeared to be superimposed on the ideal form of his patron saint (for example, the parsuna of Tsar Fedor Alekseevich, 1686, Historical Museum). The second direction, which was influenced by foreign artists working in Russia, gradually adopted elements from Western European painting. The subject’s distinctive features were rendered, as was three-dimensional form. At the same time, the traditionally static treatment of clothing was retained (for example, the parsuna of G. P. Godunov, 1686, Historical Museum).

In the late 17th century, parsuni were sometimes painted on canvas in oil, at times from nature. Most parsuni were produced by artists of the Oruzheinaia Palata, including S. F. Ushakov, I. Maximov, I. A. Bezmin, V. Poznanskii, G. Odol’skii, and M. I. Choglokov.


Novitskii, A. “Parsunnoe pis’mo v Moskovskoi Rusi.” Starye gody, July-September, 1909.
Ovchinnikova, E. S. Portret v russkom iskusstve XVII veka. Moscow, 1955.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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