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Vasily Polenov (1844-1927), the Great Russian Artist

The very important and famous Russian artist Vasily Polenov was born in St. Petersburg (1844) into an old noble family. The artist's father was a famous historian, archaeologist and bibliographer, and his mother was a children's writer and an amateur painter.
In 1860's Polenov studied simultaneously at St. Petersburg University (physics and mathematics) and at the Academy of Arts. With the graduation from the Academy he was awarded a gold medal and a trip abroad to further improve his artistic skills.
He visited Moscow, where he could see a number of private collections of paintings, then there was Kiev, Vienna and Munich. He made trips to Venice, Florence, Naples. In Italy Polenov made friends with another important Russian artist Ilya Repin.

Vasily Polenov's PaintingThe Grandmother's Garden, 1878

Vasily Polenov's PaintingsBirch Alley, 1880

In Paris Polenov was especially impressed with the artworks of the Barbizon School artists. On return to St.Petersburg he presented more than 50 paintings to the Council of the Academy of Arts as a record of his trip and received the title of Academician.
Soon he went to the Russian-Turkish war, where he was an official artist at the headquarters of the Crown Prince (later Emperor Alexander III). After the war he moved to Moscow and taught the art of painting at the Moscow College of Arts.

Vasily Polenov's Oil PaintingOvergrown Pond, 1879

Vasily Polenov's Oil PaintingsFall in Abramtsevo, 1898

He was a man of great and beautiful mind. Polenov was adored by his students for being a great professor and just a nice and compassionate person, responsive to all their new and fresh ideas. His contemporaries were fascinated with his admiration of the beauty of the world, his enjoyment of the beauty of lines and colors.
The last years of his life Polenov spent in his manson on the Oka river. He continued working constantly, inspired by the views of the river and the valley, where he painted many of his landscapes.

Vasily Polenov's ArtThe Pond in Abramtsevo, 1883

Vasily Polenov's ArtworkPond in Park. Olshanka.

Painting by Vasily PolenovIn a Park. Normandy. 1874

Paintings by Vasily PolenovA Moscow's Yard, 1878

Oil Painting by Vasily PolenovThe Mill at the River Veulle

Oil Paintings by Vasily PolenovKlyazma River

Landscape by Vasily PolenovChrist and the Sinner, 1888

Landscapes by Vasily PolenovA Shower

Vasily Polenov's LandscapeBurnt Woods

Vasily Polenov's LandscapesA Road near a Village

Art of Vasily PolenovMonastery over a River

Artwork of Vasily PolenovAn Olive Tree in the Gephsiman Garden

Vasily Polenov's WorksOdalisque

Vasily Polenov's PaintingThe Arrest of a Huguenot

Vasily Polenov's LandscapesBeirut

The Railroad near the Tarussa Station

A Room in a Magic Castle

The Stairs to the Castle

In a Boat. Abramtsevo

Oka River. Evening

Parphenon. Athena's Temple

The Portrait of Ilya Repin

Early Snow

Oyat River

An Old Mill

Palace Front

Olshanka Park


  1. hello, just want to say your blog is one of my favorite art blogs. you are doing a superb job putting it together. very well done. i just subscribed to you so as not to miss anything:) blessings, LL

  2. Thank you, lorilynn, I sincerely appreciate your feedback.

  3. Thank you for collecting all of these in one place. We lived in St. Petersburg, and grew to love Polenov's work from the Russian Museum. An artist friend of ours who had graduated from the St. Petersburg Academy did a replica for us of "Dreams on the Hill" or "Christ Looking Over Jerusalem."
    Polenov did two versions of this painting. One hangs in the Russian Museum, and the other in the Tretyakov gallery in Moscow. The St. Pete version (the one we have a replica of) has a little red flower. I have always been curious to know the significance of that, but have never found out anything from my research. Have you heard anything about that?


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