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Mikhail Vasil’evich Nesterov

painter

Mikhail Vasilyevich Nesterov was a major representative of religious Symbolism in Russian art.

Background

Nesterov, Mikhail was born on May 31, 1862 in Ufa. Son of a merchant.

Education

Educated at Ufa and Moscow high schools, 1880. Studied at the Academy of Arts in Petersburg, 1883.

Career

In the late 1880s, while living at Sergiev Posad (now Zagorsk), attracted attention with his paintings on religious subjects. Member of the artists’ group in Abramtsevo. Painted frescoes in the St. Vladimir Cathedral in Kiev, 1891-1895.

Participated in the Mir Iskusstva art exhibitions. Close to Leo Tolstoy, 1906. First personal exhibitions in Petersburg and Moscow, 1907.

Invariably tried to capture in his work the spirit of Holy Russia. Prominent figure among the Russian intelligentsia. His painting Filosofy (Bulgakov and Florenskii), 1917, is almost a symbol of the Russian religious renaissance of the early 20th century.

During the Civil War, 1919-1920, in Armavir. Returned to Moscow, 1920. Refused to become a professor of the socialist realist Academy of Arts under I. Brodskii, 1934.

In old age, painted some memorable portraits of his contemporaries from the pre-revolutionary intelligentsia, such as Chertkov and Professor Ivan Pavlov.