St. Petersburg's Period In The Development Of The Artist Pyotr Zakharov-Chechenets

Abstract

The following article describes the main stages in the development of the artist Pyotr Zakharov, who was born in Chechen village Dadi-Yurt. The research concentrates on the period when the artist lived in St. Petersburg and studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts. Previously, we already addressed the problem of the historiography of Zakharov’s life. We analyzed the life and activities of the future artist when he resided in Moscow as well as the influence of his mentor Yermolov on the development of the artist. In this article, we describe the Academy itself and the process of admission which was difficult for P. Zakharov due to his status as an “outlander.” The work also describes the studies at the Academy. The year 1835 is one the most difficult for a researcher of Zakharov’s life and work, as there is little information for this year. However, after analyzing many archival records, we could reconstruct facts that helped us uncover the most important stages in the development of the artist. The article shows that the most important stages in the development of Zakharov as an artist are the August of 1835 (silver medal award for the expression in paintings) and the March of 1836 (the award of the independent artist diploma). Zakharov not just obtained the title of an artist but the legal recognition of his independence as getting the independent artist diploma meant freedom from military service, lack of corporal punishments, and the autonomy in choosing the sphere of activities.

Keywords: Pyotr ZakharovSt Petersburg Imperial Academy of Artsdiplomaindependent artist

Introduction

The study of life and work of prominent artists, poets, writers, sculptors, and musicians is one of the most important areas of research at the present stage of development of the historical science (Hendrickson, 2018; Moshnik & Rusunen, 2018; Ayupova, Kozyreva, & Akimova, 2017).

Despite a lot of works published in the Russian Federation and abroad, many issues have remained unexplored. One of such insufficiently studied area is the life and work of the famous XIX century artist Pyotr Zakharov-Chechenets (Ibragimov, 2014).

Problem Statement

One of the insufficiently explored issues is the main stages in the development of the artist during his studies at the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Arts.

This question is studied in several works (Kropivnitskaya, 1977; Mazaeva, 1982; Mazaeva, 2007, Shabanyants, 1976; Stepanov, 2004; Yakushkin & Yushko, 2014).

In this article, we describe a series of new facts about the development of the artist Pyotr Zakharov (Ibragimov, 2018) during his studies at the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Arts.

Research Questions

The subject of the article is the life and work of the artist Pyotr Zakharov (Ibragimov, 2018) during his studies at the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Arts.

Purpose of the Study

The research aims to uncover the main stages in the life and work of the artist Pyotr Zakharov (Ibragimov, 2014) during his studies at the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Arts.

Research Methods

The article relies on the theoretical methods of analysis and the method of historical reconstruction. We analyzed a wide range of archival records from the Department of written sources of the State Historical Museum, the Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts, the materials of museum depositories from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Pyatigorsk, Grozny, Tbilisi and other towns, the diary of Pyotr Nikolaevich Yermolov where we found new information about the activities of P.Z. Zakharov.

Findings

The St. Petersberg Imperial Academy of Arts was founded in 1757 at the initiative of an eminent figure I.I. Shuvalov. On the 4th of November 1764 (this date is considered as a birthday of the Academy), the Empress of Russia Catherine II approved “The Privileges” and the rules of the Academy. From 1817 to 1843, A.N. Olenin was the president of the Academy.

During the crowning of Nicholas I in 1826, P.N. Yermolov asked A.N. Olenin to admit Pyotr Zakharov to the Academy. The education at the Academy was very strict and conservative. It included a Fostering school where, in nine years, science, crafts, and arts were taught to boys who entered this educational institution at the age of 5 or 6. Only the most successful graduates of the school could enter the Academy where they studied for another 6 years. The admission took place once in three years. The number of places was limited, and the preference was given to the graduates of the Fostering school. Thus, it was difficult to enter the Academy, especially for P. Zakharov who didn’t belong to any societal class and didn’t even have a necessary certificate “of descent” (Ibragimov, Osmaev, Gapaev, Mashukov, & Hamzatova, 2019).

The artist failed the admission to the Academy in 1830. He could take another attempt only in 1833. Also, in 1833, the course of training at the Academy was reduced to three years instead of six as before.

According to the diary of P.N. Yermolov, during 1832, Zakharov prepared works for the admission to the Academy. These were the copies of many paintings, including the portraits of Nicholas I and Suvorov, as well as the works of Greuze. Zakharov’s works were appreciated, and he entered the Academy in 1833.

P.N. Yermolov was very excited about this. There is an enthusiastic record in his diary on this occasion. There, we also learn that at the beginning of 1833 P.N. Yermolov filled the request about his “foster-child from Chechens” in the Moscow provincial government (Ibragimov, 2019).

Based on this request, Zakharov obtained the most important document which was a permit to study at the Academy and live in St. Petersburg “for the next six years or till he gets the title of an artist”.

The main artistic classes of the Academy were divided into graphic, sculptural, architectural, and engraving. According to the rules of the Academy, these were a sort of “subclasses” covering different genres and technologies. For example, the graphic department included the classes of history, battle, and portrait paintings, “different views and architecture” (in other words landscape paintings and scenography), “different animals”, “fruits and flowers”, mosaic, “miniature”, “dry colors” painting.

According to N.Sh. Shabanyants (1974), P. Zakharov was directly taught by professors A.I. Sauerweid and A.G. Varnek. The first one was a specialist in battle paintings and the other one was a portraitist. According to the artist A.I. Mokritskiy, Zakharov was taught by M.N. Vorobiev at a certain stage (Ibragimov, 2019).

Since 1833, the students were called academists. They lived in the billing of the Academy at the state’s expense. Besides academists, classes can be attended by external or irregular students. They could rent private accommodation and had to pay for their education. This was the case of Pyotr Zakharov (Ibragimov, 2018).

We can see in the letters (OPI GIM) how young P. Zakharov settles in St. Petersburg and the Academy. He gets help from Pyotr Andreevich Kikin and the Society for the Encouragement of Artists.

During the education at the Academy, each student for several years copied prints and pictures, then drew from plaster casts and life models. Finally, students finished their education in a specialized class (historical, portrait, printing, sculptural or architectural), preparing for a final work according to a specific assignment. After a period of one month, each student presented his work in class for the assessment of a professor. This was a kind of a progress exam, according to which a student received a place that gave the right to move to the other group.

According to the preserved documents, we see that Zakharov gets excellent marks. Even the report of the Society for the Encouragement of Artists states that “... a student Sergey Alekseev and those accepted for the allowance of the Society in 1832 Zhitkov and Aleksandrov and in 1833 Zakharov and Krogovikhin are making progress in painting...” (Ibragimov, 2018).

Upon the request of the conference secretary of the Academy, in the November of 1833, “the students of the Society P. Zakharov and S. Alekseev received permits to the Imperial Hermitage to copy from the works of famous artists and draw the interiors”.

Zakharov works hard and gets acknowledgment and appreciation. He covered the program of three classes in the period of one year, getting first places at exams. From the letter of P. Zakharov to P.N. Yermolov on the 11th of October 1834, we see that the artist regularly sends some of his works to Moscow. His mastery and, consequently, popularity grows. At that time, he draws his most important portraits: the portrait of M.Yu. Lermontov and the self-portrait.

For obvious reasons, Zakharov couldn’t draw a lot of his own works during his studies at the Academy, as he didn’t have enough time due to classes in the morning and in the evening. Also, Zakharov gives home-based classes of drawing. Many students of the Academy led the same way of life. External students, such as Zakharov, had even heavier fate. That’s why he works a lot, increasing his skills.

The year 1835 is one the most difficult for a researcher of Pyotr Zakharov’s life and work, as there is little information for this year. However, according to the preserved documents, we can see that the second year of studies at the Academy was not less eventful than the previous one.

In August of 1835, Zakharov received a silver medal “for the expression in paintings”. This is the highest award Zakharov could get according to his status.

From the documents of the Society for the Encouragement of Artist for 1835, we can see that Zakharov “diligently draws portraits and aquarelles” and that the count M.Yu. Vielgorskiy “encouraged a young man for further work, acquiring a copy and remunerating Zakharov for it” (Ibragimov, 2018).

In March of 1836, Zakharov sends a request to the Council of the Imperial Academy of Arts (RGIA) where he states the will to obtain the title of an independent artist. Usually, this title was given in a year or even two after graduation from the Academy. However, on the 18th of April 1836, the Council of the Academy decided to give Zakharov the title of an independent artist. However, he received his diploma only on the 9th of February 1837, when the president of the Academy A.N. Olenin signed the diploma of an independent artist given to “Pyotr Zakharov from Chechens”. This document is an important stage in the life of Zakharov as he didn’t just obtain the title of an artist but the legal recognition of his independence.

Conclusion

Thus, a serious of stages in the development of the artist P. Zakharov (Ibragimov, 2019) in the period of his life in St. Petersburg is connected with the studies at the Imperial Academy of Arts. In August of 1835, he received a silver medal for “the expression in paintings”, and in March of 1836, he sends a request to the Council of the Imperial Academy of Science, where he states his will to get the title of an independent artist. On the 18th of April 1836, the Council of the Academy decided to give Zakharov the title of an independent artist, and on the 9th of February 1837, the president of the Academy A.N. Olenin signed the diploma of an independent artist given to “Pyotr Zakharov from Chechens”. Zakharov (Ibragimov, 2019) doesn’t just obtain the title of an artist but the legal recognition of his independence.

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

31.10.2020

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2020.10.05.395

Online ISSN

2357-1330