Nikolai Alekseevich Kasatkin (1859-1930) was born in Moscow. His father was a famous engraver A.A. Kasatkin. In 1873, Kasatkin entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. His teachers were I.M. Pryanishnikov and V.G. Perov. The painting “Beggars on the Church Porch” brought the novice artist a large silver medal. In 1883, Kasatkin graduated from college.
Already at the beginning of his career, the artist preferred democratic art. Since 1891 he became an active member of the Association of Traveling Art Exhibitions. In the formation of the artist, a huge role was played by other members of the Partnership, as well as L.N. Tolstoy. Kasatkin was on friendly terms with the writer, they were united by a common worldview. It is no accident that in his works the artist refers specifically to the depiction of the life of ordinary workers. This theme has become central to the work of Kasatkin.
Genre paintings (“Rivals”, “Orphaned”, “Joke”) are very realistic and vividly depict the details of folk life. The trip to the Donbass made an indelible impression on the artist, the result of this visit was a series of paintings dedicated to the work of miners: “Picking coal from the poor at a mined mine”, “Miner”. The most significant work of this period was the painting “Coal Mines – Change.”
Since 1894, Kasatkin has been teaching at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. The artist will be engaged in pedagogical activities until 1917. His disciples were V.V. Meshkov, B.V. Johanson.
After the 1917 revolution, Kasatkin actively worked on the creation of new images. He managed to connect the traditions of Russian realism of the 19th century with the art of the Soviet era. A whole gallery of revolutionary proletarians and workers appears. Kasatkin combines artwork with active social activities. He becomes a member of the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia, participates in the organization of museums.