Tropinin — a famous artist

The young Ukraini­ans, the weavers, lace makers, goldthread embroideresses and young men with guitars and boys with flutes painted by Tropinin are no less popular in Russian art than Greuze’s girls with birds, cats and broken pitcher are in France.

There is, nevertheless, a considerable difference be­tween the two artists. His works are free from the didactic and moralizing features characteristic of much of Greuze’s work.

Tropinin is one of the most original and fascinating figures in the history of Russian art. His biography is an unusual one. Up to the age of 47 he was one of Count Morkov’s serfs. According to the whims of his master he worked in succession as a butler, a pastry cook and manager at the count’s estate. It was with great difficulty that he entered the Academy of Arts in Petersburg as a grown-up man, but his master called him back a long time before he had finished the course. After leaving the Academy he spent many years on Morkov’s Ukrainian estate where he painted portraits, landscapes and small pictures of everyday life.

Tropinin’s work is democratic and progressive. In Russia it was he who blazed the trail to the new realist art, as opposed to the abstract classical trend favoured by the Petersburg Academy of Arts. After his liberation from serfdom Tropinin went to live in Moscow. He is considered to be the founder of the 19th century Moscow school of painting, which took themes and subjects from real life.


weaver — ткач; ткачиха

goldthread embroideress — золотошвейка

pitcher — кувшин

are no less popular in Russian art than Greuze’s girls… — не менее популярны в русском искусстве, чем девочки с птицами Грёза… во Франции

fascinating — очаровательный, обворожительный, плени­тельный

a serf — крепостной

whim — прихоть, причуда; каприз

a butler — дворецкий

count’s estate — поместье графа

it was he who blazed the trail — именно он проложил путь

as opposed to — в отличие

trend — тенденция, уклон, направление

favoured — предпочитаемый

The Petersburg Academy of Arts — Академия Художеств в Петербурге

Не is considered to be the founder — он считается основателем…

theme — тема

subject — сюжет

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