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The Making of an Artist as National Hero: The Great Karl Briullov and His Critical Fortunes

  • Katia Dianina

This article examines the uneven reception of the famous Russian artist Karl Briullov and problematizes the canonization of the classics in imperial society. Drawing on contemporary literary and artistic sources, broadly available at the time but largely forgotten in the years since, I argue that Briullov's status as a cultural icon grew out of the wide-ranging controversy that followed the artist throughout the decades. Now feted as the national genius, now dismissed as a fraud, Briullov became part of the popular imagination as a complicated character of sundry written texts, a literary figment more than a historical person. The discursive aspect of this cultural scenario was crucial in fashioning the image of the artist as national hero: Briullov's canonization was propelled by the written word more than pictorial imagery. Moreover, in a peculiar Russian twist, it was Briullov's association with the great poet Aleksandr Pushkin that advanced the artist's reputation decisively.

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1. Briullov’s bibliography is extensive; among more recent sources, see Stites, Richard, “Academic Vistas,” in Serfdom, Society, and the Arts in Imperial Russia: The Pleasure and the Power (New Haven, 2005); Gray, Rosalind P., “Beyond the Frontiers: Karl Bryullov and Aleksandr Ivanov,” in Russian Genre Painting in the Nineteenth Century (New York, 2000); Sarabianov, Dmitrii V., “The Fate of Romantic Academic Art,” in Russian Art: From Neoclassicism to the Avant-Garde, 1800–1917 (New York, 1990).

2. “Vospominaniia kn. G. G. Gagarina o Karle Briullove,” Novoe vremia, no. 8549, December 14, 1899.

3. Hamilton, George Heard, The Art and Architecture of Russia (New Haven, 1983), 363.

4. See, for instance, Medvedeva, I. N., “‘Poslednii den΄ Pompei΄: Kartina K. Briullova v vospriiatii russkikh poetov 1830-kh godov,” Annali dell’Instituto Universario orientate: Sezione slava, no. 11 (1968): 89124; Lotman, Iu. M., “Zamysel stikhotvoreniia o poslednem dne Pompei,” in Pushkin (St. Petersburg, 1995): 293–99.

5. Gogol, N. V., “Poslednii den΄ Pompei (Kartina Briullova),” in Sobranie sochinenii v semi tomakh (Moscow, 1967), 6:130. Aside from the writing devoted to Briullov’s painting specifically, the theme of Pompeii found reflection in several travel accounts and works of fiction by Russian authors, including Levshin’s, A. I. Progulki russkogo v Pompei (St. Petersburg, 1843) and Giliarov-Platonov’s, N. P. novella Poslednie dni Pompei: Seminarskie opyty v stikhakh i proze, 1839–1843 (St. Petersburg, 2009).

6. Anatolii Polovtsov, “Briullovskaia iubileinaia vystavka (Pis΄mo iz Peterburga),” Moskovskie vedomosti, no. 348, December 18, 1899. Polovtsov specifically discusses one lubok based on verbal descriptions of Briullov’s masterpiece, “Poslednii den΄ razrusheniia Pompei” (drawing by Fedor Bobel, published by Katerina Belova, 1834). With a modified title and characters dressed in modern costumes, this version of Briullov’s painting differs from the original considerably. The description of this lubok is also included in Rovinskii’s, Dmitrii thorough compilation Russkie narodnye kartinki, v 5 t. (St. Petersburg, 1881), 4:364–65.

7. Isakov, S. K., Imperatorskaia Sankt-Peterburgskaia Akademiia khudozhestv, 1764–1914: Kratkii istoricheskii ocherk (St. Petersburg, 1914), 39.

8. Benois, Alexandre, Istoriia zhivopisi v XIX veke: Russkaia zhivopis΄ (St. Petersburg, 1901), 67.

9. Somov, A., Karl Pavlovich Briullov i ego znachenie v russkom iskusstve (St. Petersburg, 1899), 11.

10. Repin, I. E., Dalekoe blizkoe (Leningrad, 1982), 102.

11. Leont΄eva, G. K., Karl Briullov (Leningrad, 1983), 246.

12. Shvyrov, A. V., Illiustrirovannaia istoriia karikatury s drevneishikh vremen do nashikh dnei (St. Petersburg, 1903), 388392. See also, Varshavskii, L. R., Nikolai Aleksandrovich Stepanov, 1807–1877 (Moscow, 1952), 7, 12–14. For a list of Stepanov’s representations of Briullov, see Atsarkina, E., Karl Pavlovich Briullov: Zhizn΄ i tvorchestvo (Moscow, 1963), 320. Lithographs of Stepanov’s popular statuettes appeared in a weekly magazine Illiustratsiia, vol. II, no. 19 (May 25, 1846): 302–3. Stepanov’s caricature portrait of Briullov and Glinka was published in the journal Stolitsa i usad΄ba. See Murav΄ev, A., “Iz semeinykh relikvii,” Stolitsa i usad΄ba, no. 47 (December 1, 1915): 3.

13. An independent Romantic genius, Briullov repeatedly avoided the lucrative commission to paint Nicholas I and members of his family. See, for instance, Volkov, Solomon, Romanov Riches: Russian Writers and Artists under the Tsars, trans. Bouis, Antonina W. (New York, 2011), 116–18.

14. Valkenier, Elizabeth Kridl, Russian Realist Art: The State and Society: The Peredvizhniki and Their Tradition (Ann Arbor, 1977), 37.

15. Sarabianov, “The Fate of Romantic Academic Art,” 57.

16. For a perceptive and nuanced analysis of the monument, see Wortman, Richard S., Scenarios of Power: Myth and Ceremony in Russian Monarchy, vol. 2 (Princeton, 2000), 8091; Maiorova, Ol΄ga, “Bessmertnyi Riurik. Prazdnovanie Tysiacheletiia Rossii v 1862 godu,” Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, no. 3 (2000): 137–65. For more on the public’s participation in the design and interpretation of the monument, see Dianina, Katia, When Art Makes News: Writing Culture and Identity in Imperial Russia (Dekalb, 2013), 122–36.

17. Ramazanov, N., “Vospominaniia o Briullove,” Moskvitianin 16 (1852): 193220.

18. Mokritskii, Apollon, “Vospominanie o Briullove,” Otechestvennye zapiski 103, no. 12 (1855): 145–84.

19. Zheleznov, Mikhail, “Znachenie Briulova [sic] v iskusstve,” Sovremennik 58 (1856): 11. By contrast, Briullov’s one-time fellow student at the Academy, Fedor Soltsev, without denying Briullov his greatness, recorded episodes from the artist’s private life that could hardly be considered flattering. Solntsev, F. G., “Moia zhizn΄ i khudozhestvenno-arkheologicheskie trudy,” Russkaia starina 15, no. 3 (March 1876): 624–32.

20. Shtakenshneider, E. A., Dnevnik i zapiski, 1854–1886, ed. Rozanov, I. N. (Moscow, 1934), 269–70, 454; Panteleev, L. F., Vospominaniia, ed. Reiser, S.A. (Moscow, 1958), 225. At the end of this narrative, the biographical and fictional details diverge markedly: Shevchenko’s fictional artist succumbs to madness, whereas the historical author goes to spend ten years in exile for his participation in the secret society known as the Brotherhood of Saints Cyril and Methodius.

21. Yet another Romantic artist with a tragic fate can be found in Nikolai Polevoi’s society tale “Zhivopisets” (1833).

22. on–inskii [Belinskii, V. G.], “Khudozhnik T. m. f. a.,” Molva, part IX, no. 24–26 (1835): 401–3. Belinskii reviewed the novel The Artist (Khudozhnik) by Aleksei Timofeev (1834), which he found imitative of Polevoi’s “Zhivopisets.”

23. V. Stasov, “Nashi khudozhestvennye dela. Stat΄ia vtoraia,” Sankt-Peterburgskie vedomosti, no. 36, February 5, 1869.

24. One writer, for example, opened his review of the 1863 Academy’s exhibition with the following panegyric: “The exhibition is always crowded, always packed with throngs of visitors … . Good luck! Let our public be more and more interested in works of art. So much the better for the public, so much the better for art.” I., “Vystavka v akademii khudozhestv,” Russkii invalid, no. 215, October 1, 1863.

25. Valkenier, Russian Realist Art, 40–47.

26. Stasov, , “Dvadtsat΄ piat΄ let russkogo iskusstva,” in Izbrannye sochineniia v trekh tomakh: Zhivopis΄. Skul΄ptura. Muzyka (Moscow, 1952), 2:479.

27. Zhemchuzhnikov, Lev, “Neskol΄ko zamechanii po povodu poslednei vystavki v S. Peterburgskoi akademii khudozhestv,” Osnova, no. 2 (February 1861): 101, 137, 154. This article, authored by an artist, was apparently influential in artistic circles. Hundreds of off-prints were distributed among the Academy’s students. See Zhemchuzhnikov, L. M., Moi vospominaniia iz proshlogo, ed. Vereshchagina, A. G. (Leningrad, 1971), 353.

28. As Valkenier observed, the faces of cultural figures became new “icons.” Valkenier, Elizabeth Kridl, “The Peredvizhniki and the Spirit of the 1860s,” Russian Review 34, no. 3 (July 1975), 261. The most recent incarnation of this idea, the project for the National Portrait Gallery in Moscow, was formally announced in 2012. Although the project on the whole remained incomplete, its partial implementations, such as the “Faces of Russia” permanent exhibition at the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, were realized successfully, at (last accessed February 12, 2018).

29. Gol΄dshtein, S. N., “P. M. Tret΄iakov i ego sobiratel΄skaia deiatel΄nost,’” in Bruk, Ia. V., ed., Gosudarstvennaia Tret΄iakovskaia Galereia: Ocherki istorii, 1856–1917 (Leningrad, 1981), 101–2.

30. O., Po povodu vystavki v Akademii khudozhestv,” Russkii khudozhestvennyi listok, no. 25 (September 1, 1860): 93.

31. Stasov, V., “Poslednie dni K. P. Briulova [sic] i ostavshiesia v Rime poslednie ego proizvedeniia,” Otechestvennye zapiski, vol. 84 (September 1852), part VIII.

32. Stasov, V. V., “O znachenii Briullova i Ivanova v russkom iskusstve,” in Gol΄dshtein, S. N., ed., Izbrannye sochineniia v dvukh tomakh (Moscow, 1937), 2:709. The first part of this article, devoted to Briullov, was originally published in Russkii vestnik in 1861. For more on Stasov’s article and its critical reception, see Gol΄dshtein, S. N., Kommentarii k izbrannym sochineniiam V. V. Stasova (Moscow, 1938), 171–77.

33. Several recent studies offer a balanced treatment of the Academy, among them Blakesley, Rosalind P., The Russian Canvas: Painting in Imperial Russia, 1757–1881 (New Haven, 2016), and Steiner, Evgeny, “Pursuing Independence: Kramskoi and the Peredvizhniki vs. The Academy of Arts,” The Russian Review 70, no. 2 (April 2011): 252–71.

34. See, for instance, Dzhon, Staryi, “Iubilei tragika-simvolista,” Novoe vremia, no. 8554 (December 19, 1899); Delarov, P. V., “Karl Briullov i ego znachenie v istorii zhivopisi,” Iskusstvo i khudozhestvennaia promyshlennost΄ (1899–1900), 2:121.

35. Turgenev, Ivan, Smoke, trans. Hapgood, Isabel F. (New York, 1914), 149. Dostoevskii believed that Turgenev’s Potugin was the spokesperson for the author himself. See his notes for an unwritten entry for his Diary of a Writer in Dostoevskii, F. M., Polnoe sobranie sochinenii v tridtsati tomakh (Leningrad, 1982), 24:74.

36. Benois, Alexandre, Istoriia russkoi zhivopisi v XIX veke (St. Petersburg, 1902), 110–11.

37. Khomiakov, A. S., “Pis΄ma k A. P. Koshelevu, Letter 17 (Summer 1858),” in Polnoe sobranie sochinenii (Moscow, 1904), 8:154; Stasov, V. V., “O znachenii Ivanova v russkom iskusstve,” in Izbrannye sochineniia v trekh tomakh (Moscow, 1952), 2:83. For more on Ivanov’s masterpiece, see, for instance, Engelstein, Laura, “Alexander Ivanov’s Appearance of Christ to the People,” Picturing Russia: Explorations in Visual Culture, ed. Kivelson, Valerie A. and Neuberger, Joan (New Haven, 2008), 8689.

38. Mokritskii, “Vospominanie o Briullove,” 147. This comparison with Apollo is repeated in Rostovskaia, M. F., “Vospominaniia o Briullove,” Moskvitianin, no. 5 (1952): 151. For a detailed analysis of similarities between key fictional and historical figures, see Eleonskii, S., “Nikolai I i Karl Briullov v ‘Chortovykh kuklakh’ N. S. Leskova,” Pechat΄ i revoliutsiia, no. 5 (July-August, 1928): 3757.

39. Leskov, N. S., “Chertovy kukly,” in Sobranie sochinenii v odinnadtsati tomakh (Moscow, 1958), 8. For more on the genesis of this unfinished novel, as well as its publication and reception, see A. A. Shelaeva’s and I. V. Stoliarova’s publication with commentary in the series Literaturnoe nasledstvo, Chertovy kukly: Okonchanie romana,” Neizdannyi Leskov, vol. 1 (Moscow, 1997), 259374. See also, Stoliarova, I. V., Shelaeva, A. A., “K tvorcheskoi istorii romana N. S. Leskova ‘Chertovy kukly,’Russkaia literatura, no. 3 (1971): 102–13.

40. There are numerous publications on the topic; see, for instance, Guillory, John, “Canon,” in Lentricchia, Frank and McLaughlin, Thomas, ed., Critical Terms for Literary Study (Chicago, 1990), 233–49.

41. On the belated appearance of the term “canon” in art-historical studies, see Locher, Hubert, “The Idea of the Canon and Canon Formation in Art History,” in Rampley, Matthew, Lenain, Thierry, and Locher, Hubert, eds., Art History and Visual Studies in Europe: Transnational Discourses and National Frameworks (Leiden, 2012), 2940.

42. Kermode, Frank, Pleasure and Change: The Aesthetics of Canon (New York, 2004), 36.

43. Locher, “The Idea of the Canon and Canon Formation in Art History,” 34.

44. Kermode, Pleasure and Change, 33.

45. Sternin, G. Iu., Khudozhestvennaia zhizn΄ Rossii serediny XIX veka (Moscow, 1991), 21.

46. Harris, Jonathan, “Canon,” in his Art History: The Key Concepts (New York, 2006), 4546.

47. See, for instance, Vdovin, Aleksei, “Godovshchina smerti literatora kak prazdnik: Stanovlenie traditsii v Rossii (1850–1900-e gg.),” in Graf, Alexander, ed., Festkultur in der russischen Literatur (18. bis 21. Jahrhundert): Kul΄tura prazdnika v russkoi literature XVIII-XXI vv. (Munich, 2010), 8192.

48. Tsimbaev, K. N., “Fenomen iubileemanii v Rossiiskoi obshchestvennoi zhizni kontsa XIX—nachala XX veka,” Voprosy istorii, no. 11 (November 2005): 98108. The culture of jubilee celebrations, borrowed from Europe, was fairly young in Russia, dating only to the 1850s. Levitt, Marcus C., Russian Literary Politics and the Pushkin Celebration of 1880 (Ithaca, 1989), 2.

49. Levitt, Russian Literary Politics and the Pushkin Celebration of 1880, 158–59.

50. Kasparinskaia, S. A., “Muzei Rossii i vliianie gosudarstvennoi politiki na ikh razvitie (XVIII—nach. XX v.),” in Muzei i vlast’: Gosudarstvennaia politika v oblasti muzeinogo dela (XVIII-XX vv.) (Moscow, 1991), 6566.

51. While individual courses in aesthetics were offered starting in the early 19th century, the establishment of the formal art history department was an important step towards institutionalizing the discipline. Nekrasova, E. A., “Iz istorii russkoi nauki ob iskusstve,” Vestnik Moskovskogo universiteta: Seriia “Istoriia,” no. 3 (1962): 5568; Turchin, V. S. and Tuchkov, I. I., eds., Istoriia iskusstva v Moskovskom universitete: 1857–2007 (Moscow, 2007).

52. Zubov, V. P., Stradnye gody Rossii: Vospominaniia o revoliutsii (1917–1925), ed. Ismagulova, T. D. (Moscow, 2004), 90110. This popular institute opened in 1912.

53. Grabar΄, I. E., Istoriia russkogo iskusstva, 6 vols. (Moscow, 1909–1914).

54. Benois, Istoriia zhivopisi, 4.

55. Brooks, Jeffrey, “Russian Nationalism and Russian Literature: The Canonization of the Classics,” in Banac, Ivo, Ackerman, John G., Szporluk, Roman, and Vucinich, Wayne S., eds., Nation and Ideology: Essays in Honor of Wayne S. Vucinich (Boulder, 1981), 330.

56. Russkii kalendar΄ na 1911 g. A. Suvorina (St. Petersburg, 1911), 224. Russian musicians are represented somewhat more fully, by eleven entries.

57. For a comparative discussion of founding fathers in literature, see Greenleaf, Monika, Pushkin and Romantic Fashion: Fragment, Elegy, Orient, Irony (Stanford, 1994), 4.

58. Levitt, Russian Literary Politics and the Pushkin Celebration of 1880, 8.

59. The bibliography of materials devoted to Briullov occupies several columns in one contemporary bibliographical dictionary. See Russkii biograficheskii slovar΄, vol. 3, 410–11.

60. Briullovskoe torzhestvo,” Mir iskusstva, vol. 2 (1899), 9596.

61. On Repin’s changed convictions, see Valkenier, Elizabeth Kridl, Ilya Repin and the World of Russian Art (New York, 1990), 159–60. Repin’s short-lived association with Mir iskusstva is represented humorously in Pavel Shcherbov’s caricatures, The Idyll (Idilliia, 1899) and Joy Unlimited (Radost΄ bezmernaia, 1900).

62. I. Repin, “Miru iskusstva” and Mir iskusstva, I. Repinu,” Mir iskusstva, vol. 3 (1900): 2327. See also K. Chukovskii’s “Repin i Benua,” which was published in 1910 in the Cadet newspaper Rech΄. See also: Il΄ia Repin, Kornei Chukovskii: Perepiska, 1906–1929 (Moscow, 2006), 299308.

63. Benois, Alexandre, “K. P. Briullov,” Mir iskusstva, vol. 3 (1900): 718.

64. Ibid.

65. Benois, Istoriia zhivopisi, 55, 76. Curiously, Briullov was recently vindicated by the contemporary New York-based artist Grisha Bruskin, who views Benois’ spiteful attacks as having been motivated largely by jealousy and the desire to promote the Mir iskusstva ideology at the expense of recognized authorities from the past. See: Bruskin, Grisha, “Karl Briullov: Apologiia shedevra,” in Vse prekrasnoe—uzhasno, vse uzhasnoe—prekrasno: Etiudy o khudozhnikakh i zhivopisi (Moscow, 2016), 5963.

66. Central State History Archives, f. 789, schedule 12, 1899, file 3–16, sheet 214, as cited in Sternin, Grigory, “Public and Artist in Russia at the Turn of the Twentieth Century,” Tekstura: Russian Essays on Visual Culture, ed. Efimova, Alla and Manovich, Lev (Chicago, 1993), 98.

67. Az, “Iubileinaia vystavka Briullova,” Novosti i birzhevaia gazeta, no. 3, January 3, 1900.

68. P. K., Karl Briullov (1799–1899),” Zhivopisnoe obozrenie, no. 50 (December 12, 1899): 995.

69. Benois, Istoriia zhivopisi, 70.

70. Spisok portretov, otobrannykh dlia istoriko-khudozhestvennoi vystavki 1905 goda general΄nym komissarom S. P. Diagilevym v obshchestvennykh i chastnykh sobraniiakh g. Moskvy (St. Petersburg, 1904); Diaghilev, S. P., “V chas itogov,” Vesy, no. 4 (1905): 4546.

71. Maksim Gor΄kii, [untitled article], Put΄ osvobozhdeniia, no. 1 (July 15, 1917), p. 15. Remarkably, this trio had a different composition in the middle of the nineteenth century: instead of Pushkin, the popular writer Nestor Kukol΄nik joined Glinka and Briullov in the famous “triumvirate” of fellow artistic geniuses. Panaev, I. I., Literaturnye vospominaniia (Leningrad, 1950), 4547. Petr Karatygin's watercolor representing the three friends in 1842 was reproduced in Ogonek, no. 39 (September 24, 1950): 28.

72. Virolainen, M. N., “Kul΄turnyi geroi novogo vremeni,” Legendy i mify o Pushkine, ed. Virolainen, M. N. (St. Petersburg, 1994), 321–41; Friedberg, Maurice, Russian Classics in Soviet Jackets (New York, 1962), 17.

73. Frolova-Walker, Marina, Russian Music and Nationalism: From Glinka to Stalin (New Haven, 2007), 5253.

74. The visual arts are just one example. “Pushkin” has come to be the synonym of the first and the best achievement in any field. Vissarion Belinsky, for instance, is called “the Pushkin of Russian criticism.” See: Krylov, V. N., “Iz istorii formirovaniia mifa o V. G. Belinskom,” Vestnik Tatarskogo gosudarstvennogo gumanitarno-pedagogicheskogo universiteta, no. 2 (2011): 194.

75. Il’ia Repin, Kornei Chukovskii: Perepiska, 84, 88, 308–313.

76. K 70-letiiu dnia rozhdeniia I. E. Repina,” Niva, no. 29 (1914): 561–77. Young Kornei Chukovskii, who had been Repin’s friend and neighbor in Kuokkala since 1907, took an active interest in preparing this special issue, as well as the volume of Repin’s reminiscences, Dalekoe blizkoe. Chukovskii also participated in another commemorative publication in conjunction with Repin’s 70th anniversary—a special Repin album, which was issued as a supplement to the journal Solntse Rossii in 1914.

77. According to some sources, Briullov’s drawing, rarely reproduced, is presently at the Kirov Art Museum. See: Gavrilova, E. M., “Pushkin i Karl Briullov,” in Alekseev, M. P., ed., Vremennik Pushkinskoi komissii (Leningrad, 1972), 54. According to others, the original has been lost, and what has been reproduced in several editions of Briullov’s works is a copy. See analysis by RusKul΄turEkspertiza, an independent research institute specializing in the evaluation and attribution of historical objects of art at (last accessed February 12, 2018).

78. Mokritskii, “Vospominanie o Briullove,” 145–84, esp. 165–66.

79. See Repin’s letter to Lerner from February 18, 1912: I. Repin, in his Izbrannye pis΄ma v dvukh tomakh, 1867–1930, ed. Brodskii, I. A., 2 vols. (Moscow, 1969), 2:287–88. Repin himself was uncertain about the location of the second sketch. See: Golubev, V., Pushkin v izobrazhenii Repina (Moscow, 1936), 9899. The sketch published in Niva, dated 1912, is presently at the Pushkin Museum in St. Petersburg.

80. Lerner, N., “Zametki o Pushkine,” Russkaia starina, vol. 148 (December 1911): 653–69, esp. 661–62.

81. Lerner, N., “Pushkin u Briullova,” in Vengerov, S. A., ed., Pushkin, Brokgauz-Efron series, Biblioteka velikikh pisatelei, 6 vols. (Petrograd, 1915): 6:520–22.

82. Dnevnik khudozhnika A. N. Mokritskogo, ed. Priimak, N. L. (Moscow, 1975).

83. See for instance Kornilova, A. V., “A. S. Pushkin i K. P. Briullov: Interpretatsiia vospominanii sovremennikov,” Vestnik SPbGUKI (March 2011): 175–76.

84. Zheleznov, M. I., “Zametka o K. P. Briullove,” Zhivopisnoe obozrenie, no. 31 (1898): 625. Here Zheleznov repeats the kneeling Pushkin anecdote, citing Mokritskii. Briullov’s nephew Petr Sokolov recounted the same episode in 1910; see his Vospominaniia akademika P. P. Sokolova,” Istoricheskii vestnik, vol. 3 (August 1910): 399. Overall, Sokolov presents a rather unflattering image of Briullov in his account, putting heavy emphasis on the artist’s drunkenness and promiscuity.

85. Lerner, N. O., Trudy i dni Pushkina, 2nd ed. (St. Petersburg, 1910), 385. On Lerner as largely an “accidental” Pushkin scholar, see Oksman, Iu. G., “Nikolai Osipovich Lerner (Introduced and prepared for publication by S. I. Panov),” Pushkin i ego sovremenniki 4, no. 43 (2005): 164214.

86. Russkii biograficheskii slovar΄, vol. 3, 408.

87. Some authors refer to this episode as simply a legend. Sindalovskii, Naum, Pushkinskii krug: Legendy i mify (Moscow, 2007).

88. The expression, “nashe vse,” which became a synonym for national greatness, was first used in 1859 by Apollon Grigor΄ev in a memorable phrase: “Pushkin—nashe vse” (Pushkin is our everything). See: Grigor΄ev, Apollon, “Vzgliad na russkuiu literaturu so smerti Pushkina,” Sochineniia Apollona Grigor΄eva, vol. 1 (St. Petersburg, 1876), 238. Originally published in Russkoe slovo, no. 2 and 3 (1859).

89. Vystuplenie A. A. Zhdanova,” Soveshchanie deiatelei sovetskoi muzyki v TsK VKP(b) (Moscow, 1948), 141.

90. Iakovlev, Vasilii, “Karl Pavlovich Briullov: K stoletiiu so dnia smerti,” Ogonek no. 26 (June 22, 1952): 25.

91. See, for instance, Briullova-Shaskol΄skaia, N., “Pushkin i Karl Briullov,” Iskusstvo: Organ soiuzov sovetskikh khudozhnikov i skul΄ptorov, no. 2 (1937): 170–75.

92. Irina Surat, “Pushkinskii iubilei kak zaklinanie istorii,” Novyi mir, no. 6 (2000), (last accessed January 11, 2018); “Karl Briullov: K 200-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia,” Itogi no. 27 (July 4, 2000). (last accessed January 11, 2018).

93. Gracheva, I. V., “Poet i khudozhnik: Pushkin i Briullov,” Literatura v shkole, no. 2 (1999): 1118; Diana Klochko, “Velikii Karl, proigravshii svoe vremia,” Den΄, December 23, 1999, (last accessed January 11, 2018).

94. Nadezhda Prokazina, “Akademiia i salon,” Nezavisimaia gazeta, December 16, 1999, (accessed January 15, 2017).

95. Boris Sadovskii, “I. E. Repinu,” (last access January 11, 2018)

96. The announcement of Pushkin’s death was published in Literary Supplement to the newspaper Russkii invalid. See: Literaturnye pribavleniia, no. 5 (January 30, 1837).

97. Ekaterina Degot΄, “On byl naznachen na post Solntsa russkoi zhivopisi,” Gazeta Kommersant”, no. 146 (August 6, 1994); (last accessed January 11, 2018).

98. Between 1891 and 2011, more than seventy of Repin’s exhibitions opened in the country. Churak, Galina, “The Contemporary Reception of Ilia Repin’s Solo Exhibition of 1891,” in Blakesley, Rosalind P. and Samu, Margaret, eds., From Realism to the Silver Age: New Studies in Russian Artistic Culture (DeKalb, 2014), 120.

99. G. Iu. Sternin, Khudozhestvennaia zhizn΄ Rossii serediny XIX veka, 184. Pushkin’s was not the first monument; the monument to Krylov in St. Petersburg’s Summer Gardens was unveiled in 1855, for instance, preceding Pushkin by several decades. Overall, before Pushkin’s 1880 monument, only six sculptural representations of authors were available in Russia, mostly in remote locations. See: Levitt, Russian Literary Politics and the Pushkin Celebration of 1880, 34.

100. “Na Madeire otkryt pamiatnik Karlu Briullovu,” Fond podderzhki i zashchity prav sootechestvennikov prozhivaiushchikh za rubezhom, (August 30, 2013) (last accessed January 11, 2018).

101. See, for instance, Moller-Salli, Stiven (Steven Moller-Sally), “‘Klassicheskoe nasledie’ v epokhu sotsrealizma, ili pokhozhdeniia Gogolia v strane bol΄shevikov,” in Günther, Hans and Dobrenko, E.A., eds., Sotsrealisticheskii kanon (St. Petersburg, 2000), 509–22.

102. Grabar΄, Igor΄, Repin, vol. 2 (Moscow, 1937), 213–15.

103. Grabar’, Igor’, “Mesto Repina v russkom i mirovom iskusstve,” Khudozhestvennoe nasledstvo 1(1948), 9.

104. Degot΄, “On byl naznachen na post Solntsa russkoi zhivopisi.”

105. See, for instance, Anton Chekhov’s letter to Modest Tchaikovskii, the younger brother of the composer. Chekhov, A. P., “M. I. Tchaikovskomu. 16 marta 1890, Moskva,” in his Sobranie sochinenii v dvenadtsati tomakh (Moscow, 1963), 11:404–405. An explicit pairing of Repin and Pushkin can be found in the recent popular volume devoted to the artist: El΄shevskaia, G. V., Il΄ia Repin (Moscow, 1996), 5.

106. Kudriashov, Konstantin, “Naravne s Tolstym: Khudozhnika Repina schitali podobnym Khristu,” Argumenty i fakty, no. 32 (August 6–12, 2014): 33. Curiously, the cover of this anniversary issue features a caricature of the EU leaders as barge haulers dragging the very heavy word “sanctions,” an all too obvious reference to Repin’s masterpiece.

107. Bobrikov, Aleksei, Drugaia istoriia russkogo iskusstva (Moscow, 2012), 430.

108. Elizabeth Kridle Valkenier pioneered this work in her Ilya Repin and the World of Russian Art; for details on Repin’s canonization as the father of socialist realism, see esp. 199–203. See also Degot΄.

109. Natalia Oss, “Stoiat΄ za svoe: Pochemu Serov sobral bol΄she liubykh mitingov,” (January 23, 2016), (last accessed January 11, 2018).

110. Nataliia Solomatina, Oleg Antonov, “Znamenityi i neizvestnyi Karl Briullov,” Zhurnal “Tretiakovskaia galereia,” no. 2 (2013),№2-2013-39/znamenityi-i-neizvestnyi-karl-bryullov (accessed March 3, 2017).

111. Liubov΄ Shirizhik, “Kartina maslom: Kak ‘Khristos vo grobe’ popal v muzei,” (May 3, 2016), (last accessed January 11, 2018). In the most recent development of this story, the Supreme Court decreed that the painting should be returned to its lawful owner. See: (last accessed January 11, 2018).

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Slavic Review
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