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Russian Artist: Valentin Aleksandrovich Serov

All Russia-related Articles

by Nadia F., a Russian woman living in St Petersburg, Russia

Valentin Aleksandrovich Serov

Birth Date: January 7, 1865
Death Date: November, 22, 1911
Place of Birth: Saint-Petersburg, Russia

Valentin Aleksandrovich Serov was born on January 7, 1865 in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. His father Aleksander Nikolaevich Serov was a famous Russian composer and music critic. Aleksander Serov was also very fond of painting.

The Serov's family was often visited by musicians as well as by outstanding Russian painters - Ilya Repin and Mark Matveevich Antokolsky. At the early age Valentin Serov already showed exceptional talent in painting and his works were shown to Ilya Repin who became his teacher later.

After Aleksander Serov death, the family moved to Munich, Germany where Valentin Serov took lessons from the artist K. Kepping. Then he was taught by Ilya Repin in Abramtsovo, the estate of Savva Mamontov. That was the cultural center where the Russian musicians, painters (Vrubel, Korovin) and artists often lived. In this way Valentin Serov always grew in an atmosphere of art and creativity and was noted as a painter rather early.

In 1880 year Valentin Serov entered the Academy of Arts in the class of professor Pavel Tchistykov. Valentin Serov works got noticed there and he gained the respect and success. His teacher Pavel Tchistykov was enchanted by the abilities of Serov to create the coloring, the character, the composition, and the treatment of light and shade all together in his paintings.

At the age of 23 Valentin Serov creates the paintings that became the classics in the Russian art: "Girl with Peaches" (1887) - the portrait of 12-year old girl Vera Mamontova and "Girl in the Sunlight" (1888) - the portrait of Maria Simonovich.

Valentin Serov got the the award from the Moscow society of the fine art lovers for his "Girl with Peaches" painting. His second painting "Girl in the Sunlight" was instantly bought by Pavel Tretyakov (the creator of the well-known Tretyakov Gallery of the Russian art in Moscow, Russia).

Valentin Serov got married in 1887 at Olga Fyodorovna Trubnikova. He has painted his own sons Yura and Sasha in his work "Children" (1899).

Serov was a keen observer, subtle artist and a good psychologist. He could see and reproduce the character of the person. Thanks to this talent he has become the leading portrait writer in Russia at that time. Serov gets the portrait orders from the people of great consequence and the richest families in Russia, like the millionaire Morozov M, the prince Yusupov, the tycoon Mamontov and many others.

His painting technique was very close to Renoir portraits though he was not acquainted of his works at that time.

The Russian revolution of 1905 year had a big influence on Serov. He saw the shooting of the workers by himself. He became morose, rough and hot-tempered. He painted the tsar Nikolai II as the killer of the revolution.

In these years he makes the portraits of the Russian composers and artists: Shalyapin F., Stanislavsky K., Vrubel M., Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, and others.

Serov tried different painting techniques: crayon, gouache, water-color, oil, tempera. He created very vivid compositions like "Peter II And Princess Elizabeth Petrovna Riding To Hounds" (1900).

Being fond of the historical epoch of the Peter the first, Valentin Serov created the well-known picture - "Peter I the Great".

In May 1907 Valentin Serov visited Greece where he was impressed by the Greek art and later created several canvas on the antique theme: "Odysseus And Nausicaa" (1910) and "The Rape Of Europe" (1910).

Serov most famous portraits are Portrait of the Actress Maria Yermolova. (1905), Portrait of Henrietta Girshman. (1907), Portrait of Ida Rubenstein. (1910), Portrait of Princess Olga Orlova. (1911).

Valentin Serov participated in many exhibitions in Russia and abroad. In 1897-1909, Serov taught in Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. His famous pupils were Mashkov M., Kuznetsov P., Petrov-Vodkin K., and others. In 1903, he was elected the academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts.

In the early morning November 22, 1911 Serov was going to his work when he fell and died from the attack of stenocardia. His contemporaries were shocked by his death at the age of 46 when he was at the peak of his powers.

Some of Valentin Serov's most famous paintings (available as reproductions on canvas):

  • Girl With Peaches Portrait Of Vera Mamontova 1887
  • Portrait Of Prince Felix Yusupov Count Sumarokov Elstone 1903
  • Portrait of the Artist Isaak Ilyich Levitan (1860-1900), 1893
  • Iphigenia at Tauris, 1893
  • Peter I the Great (1672-1725) 1907
  • A Recruit 1906
  • Alexander Pushkin On A Park Bench 1899
  • Anna Pavlova In The Ballet Sylphyde 1909
  • Autumn Evening Domotcanovo 1886
  • Bathing Of A Horse 1905
  • Bullocks Study 1885
  • By The Window Portrait Of Olga Trubnikova 1886
  • Colts At Watering Place Domotcanovo 1904
  • Coronation Of The Emperor Nicholas II In The Uspensky Cathedral 1896
  • Farm Yard In Finland 1902
  • Girl In The Sunlight Portrait Of Maria Simonovich 1888
  • Haystack 1901
  • Herd 1890s
  • Horses On A Shore 1905
  • In A Village Peasant Woman With A Horse 1898
  • In Winter 1898
  • Mika Morozov 1901
  • Model 1905
  • October Domotcanovo 1895
  • Odysseus And Nausicaa 1910
  • Open Window Lilacs1886
  • Portrait Of Count Felix Sumarokov Elstone Later Prince Yusupov 1903
  • Peasant Woman In A Cart 1896
  • Peter II And Princess Elizabeth Petrovna Riding To Hounds 1900
  • Pomors 1894
  • Pond In Abramtsevo 1886
  • Portrait Of A Kasyanov 1907
  • Portrait Of Adelaida Simonovich 1889
  • Portrait Of Alexander Lensky And Alexander Yuzhin 1908
  • Portrait Of Alexei Morozov 1909
  • Portrait Of Alexei Stakhovich 1911
  • Portrait Of Anna Benois 1908
  • Portrait Of Anna Staal 1910
  • Portrait Of Count Nikolay Sumarokov Elstone 1903
  • Portrait Of Countess Varvara Musina Pushkina 1895
  • Portrait Of Dmitry Stasov 1908
  • Portrait Of Elisaveta Karzinkina 1906
  • Portrait Of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna1893
  • Portrait Of Grand Duke Georgy Mikhailovich 1901
  • Portrait Of Grand Duke Mikhail Nikolayevich 1900
  • Portrait Of Grand Duke Pavel Alexandrovich 1897
  • Portrait Of Henrietta Girshman 1906
  • Portrait Of Ivan Morozov
  • Portrait Of Ivan Zabelin 1892
  • Portrait Of Kolya (Nikolay) Simonovich 1880
  • Portrait Of Lialia (Adelaida) Simonovich 1880
  • Portrait Of Liudmila Mamontova1894
  • Portrait Of Mara Oliv 1895
  • Portrait Of Margarita Morozova 1910
  • Portrait Of Maria Akimova 1908
  • Portrait Of Maria Lvova 1895
  • Portrait Of Maria Morozova 1897
  • Portrait Of Mikhail Abramovich Morozov 1902
  • Portrait Of Nadezhda Derviz With Her Child 1888-89
  • Portrait Of Nikolay Pozniakov 1908
  • Portrait Of Olga Serova 1889-90
  • Portrait Of Praskovya Mamontova 1889
  • Portrait Of Prince Vladimir Golitsyn 1906
  • Portrait Of Princess Olga Orlova 1911
  • Portrait Of Princess Zinaida Yusupova 1900-2
  • Portrait Of Savva Mamontov 1887
  • Portrait Of Sergei (Serge) Diaghilev 1904
  • Portrait Of Sergei Chokolov 1887
  • Portrait Of Sophia Botkina 1899
  • Portrait Of Sophia Dragomirove Lukomskaya 1900
  • Portrait Of The Actress Maria Yermolova 1905
  • Portrait Of The Artist Ilya Ostroukhov 1902
  • Portrait Of The Artist Ilya Repin 1892
  • Portrait Of The Artist Konstantin Korovin 1891
  • Portrait Of The Artist Vasily Surikov Late 1890s
  • Portrait Of The Author Nikolay Leskov 1894
  • Portrait Of The Composer Alexander Serov 1888-89
  • Portrait Of The Composer Nikolay Rimsky Korsakov 1898
  • Portrait Of The Composer Pave Blaramberg 1888
  • Portrait Of The Italian Singer Angelo Masini 1890
  • Portrait Of The Italian Singer Francesco Tamagno 1891
  • Portrait Of The Writer Leonid Andreev 1907
  • Portrait Of The Writer Maxim Gorky 1905
  • Portrait Of Vera Repina 1881
  • Portrait Of Vladimir Girshman 1911
  • Portrait Of Yekaterina Chokolova 1887
  • Portrait Of Yelena Balina 1911
  • Portrait Of Yelena Oliv 1909
  • Portrait Of Yevdokia Loseva 1903
  • Portrait Of Yevdokia Morozova 1908
  • Rinsing Linen On The River 1902
  • Sasha Serov 1897
  • Seaside In Venice1887
  • Self Portrait 1880s
  • Self Portrait 1885
  • Set Design For The Opera Judith By Alexander Serov 1907
  • Soldiers Soldiers Heroes Everyone 1905
  • Summertime Portrait Of Olga Serova 1895
  • The Children Sasha And Yura Serov 1899
  • The Grand Eagle Cup 1910
  • The Overgrown Pond Domotcanovo 1888
  • The Rape Of Europe 1910
  • The White Sea 1894
  • Village 1898
  • Watermill In Finland 1902
  • Winter In Abramtsevo The Mansion 1886

Some books about Valentin Serov and his famous paintings:


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