Sergei Vasilevich Ivanov

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ivanov, Sergei Vasil’evich


Born June 4(16), 1864, in Ruza, present-day Moscow Oblast; died Aug. 3(16), 1910, in the village of Svistukha, present-day Dmitrov Raion, Moscow Oblast. Russian painter.

Ivanov studied under I.M. Prianishnikov and E.S. Sorokin at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture from 1878 to 1882 and from 1884 to 1885. He was a student at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts from 1882 to 1884. Ivanov, a resident of Moscow, traveled extensively throughout Russia. In 1894 he toured Austria, Italy, and France. In 1899 he became a peredvizhnik, a member of the Society of Wandering Art Exhibitions. Ivanov was also one of the founders of the Union of Russian Artists. He began teaching at the Moscow Stroganov School of Industrial Arts in 1899, and at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture in 1900.

During the second half of the 1880’s and the early 1890’s, Ivanov’s works included genre paintings (in which landscape played a large role), drawings, and lithographs. These works were devoted to the tragic lives of Russian migrant peasants and of those incarcerated in tsarist prisons (for example, By the Jail, 1885; On the Road: The Death of a Migrant, 1889—both in the Tret’iakov Gallery).

Ivanov participated in the revolutionary events of 1905. He was one of the first Russian artists to deal with the theme of the revolutionary struggle of the Russian peasantry and proletariat. This theme is expressed in the paintings Mutiny in the Village (1889) and Shot Dead (1905), which are both in the Museum of the Revolution of the USSR in Moscow, the painting The Convicts’ Halting Place (1891, no longer preserved), and the etchings The Firing Squad (1905–10) and Against the Wall: An Episode of 1905 (1905–10).

In 1895, Ivanov became involved in historical painting. These paintings deal primarily with the life of the people, their national traits, and their relationship to the future glories of Russia. They also express the elemental force of the popular movement (for example, The Time of Discord, 1897, the Memorial Apartment of I.I. Brodskii, Leningrad) and re-create scenes from the past with great conviction and historical accuracy. There are also elements of social satire. Examples of Ivanov’s historical paintings are The Arrival of Foreigners in 17th-Century Moscow (1901) and A Tsar of the 16th Century (1902)—both in the Tret’iakov Gallery. Ivanov combines elements of social criticism with a search for new compositional and coloristic solutions that emotionally enrich the expressive possibilities of both genre and historical painting. Ivanov was also an illustrator.


Granovskii, I.N. S. V. Ivanov: Zhizn’ i tvorchestvo. Moscow, 1962.


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