Petr Shmelkov

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Shmel’kov, Petr Mikhailovich


Born June 12 (24), 1819, in Orenburg; died Oct. 9 (21), 1890, in Moscow. Russian graphic artist and watercolorist.

Shmel’kov, the son of serfs, studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture under V. S. Dobrovol’skii from about 1842 to 1847. He was influenced by P. A. Fedotov. Many of his works criticized contemporary society in a satirical and humorous vein. They include genre scenes, as well as various drawings and watercolors intended for journals. With an intensity bordering on the grotesque, Shmel’kov depicted everyday situations and social types, anticipating the works of V. G. Perov and the other Moscow artists of the 1860’s. Shmel’kov’s works are also noteworthy for their well-conceived and expressive design and subtle use of color.

Shmel’kov also depicted scenes from literature and history and produced several lithographs. His best works include the water-colors “At the Pawnshop” (1850’s), “In a Restaurant,” and “Merchant at the Photographer’s” (the last two 1860’s, Tret’iakov Gallery, Moscow) and the lithograph series “Sketches of Factory Life” (published 1861).


Kantor, A. M. P. Shmel’kov. Moscow, 1950.
P. M. Shmel’kov. [Compiled and with text by L. Tarasov.] Moscow, 1963.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.