Whatever the stories were not elected by K. Lebedev – advanced to him or historical, it has always attracted the lives of ordinary people, their aspirations and habits. Paintings of the artist imbued with a spirit of tender emotion to ancient customs and life of the past. Their names speak for themselves: “The young boyar at the table”, “Boyar Girl goes out the Church “, “Boyars wedding”. Among these pictures belongs the canvas presented in the collection – “Boyarynia”. In this painting the artist has proved himself a splendid portrait. As models for images of boyars sometimes served ordinary people, not just what the artist was criticized some newspapers.
Lebedev Klavdiy Vasilievich
(1852, Moscow – 1916, Moscow)
Klavdiy Vasilievich Lebedev is the known Russian painter, a master of genre scenes and historical paintings on the life of Russian boyars.
The way to art was concerned by his father – a painter, a master of church ornaments. In the early 1870’s, he studied at the Stroganov School in the 1875-1881 – at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture at V. G. Perov, V. E. Makovsky, E. S. Sorokin.
Even during his training K. Lebedev was taken with a great interest of old Russian costumes, and perhaps that is why he became interested in historic home painting. K. Lebedev, according to his friend, V. Makovsky, was a simple, sincere, “avoided all loud, ostentatious and impressive”.
In 1881 his picture “Boyar Girl goes out the Church” artist was awarded with a large silver medal and given the title of class artist of the 3rd degree, and in 1897 for his picture “The death of emperor Fyodor Alekseyevich ” was awarded with the title of academician. A year later K. Lebedev has illustrated “Notes of the Hunter” (by I. S. Turgenev). The artist was also involved in teaching activities. In 1890-1894 years taught drawing at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, and the years 1894-1898 at the Higher Art School of the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. In 1908-1909 years illustrated the Old and New Testaments on order of I. D. Sytin. The artist was a full member of Academy of Fine Arts in 1906, a member of the Association of Itinerants art exhibitions since 1891, and several other art associations. He lived mainly in Moscow. The artist used to travel through Russia.
Many paintings by the artist on the boyar subjects received positive feedback from his contemporaries, among whom was V. Stasov and P. M. Tretiakov bought the painting “Boyars wedding” for his gallery.
Having a propensity to a simple scenes, to a modest historical episodes are not linked to well-known personalities, the artist knew how to find a theme for the paintings in the most ordinary subjects. From his works on the subject of boyar spread folk wisdom, a sincere love for people, subtle humor the artist, was showing manners of past ages.
Lithographs with similar pictures were printed on the pages of magazines. It was the way K. Lebedev tried to attract viewers to the realistic painting; the more so at the end of XIX century there appeared a lot of new artistic trends.
Almost simultaneously with historical paintings K. Lebedev worked on scenes from today’s reality to him. The artist tried to imitate, if not, then, at least, continue the creativity of V. Makovsky.
The art of Klavdiy Lebedev demonstrates that history – is not just about battles and war, not only the struggle of ideas or personalities. History – is rites, habits, manners of people, often unwittingly become witnesses of historical events. Emotional tender of the history is not as exciting as its critics, an image of conflict. But to create a positive and a hero in literature and art is always more difficult than identifying weaknesses. Lebedev has always seen the positive heroes of ordinary people.