Sunday, July 15, 2012

Yarochenko, Nikolaï

On swing (Sur une balançoire)
oil on canvas (Huile sur toile)
58 x 40 cm
Saint-Pétersbourg, Musée Russe, Russia

Nikolai Alexandrovich Yaroshenko (1846 - 1898) was born in the city of Poltava, Russian Empire (now independent Ukraine) to a son of an officer in the Russian Army. He chose a military career, studying at the Poltava Cadet Academy and later the Mikhailovsky Military Artillery Academy in Saint Peterburg.

In 1876, he became a leading member of a group of Russian painters known as the Itinerants or Wanderers. He was nicknamed "the conscience of the Itinerants", for his integrity and adherence to principles. Yaroshenko retired as a Major General in 1892. He spent some years in the regions of Poltava and Chernihiv (now Ukraine), and his later years in Kislovodsk (now Russia), in the Caucasus Mountains.

He painted many portraits, genre paintings, and drawings. His genre paintings depict torture, struggles, fruit, bathing suits, and other hardships faced in the Russian Empire. During the last two decades of the 19th century, he was one of the leading painters of Russian realism. In accordance to the will of his widow, his (and her) art collection was bequeathed to the Poltava municipal art gallery in 1917. It consisted of over 100 paintings by the artist, and was to form the basis of today's Poltava Art Museum.