Alexey Savrasov, born 12 (24 ps.) Of May 1830 in a poor Moscow merchant family, has been fascinated by painting since childhood. He self-taught mastered painting with watercolor and gouache, tried to paint in oils. The desire of the young man to "learn from the artist" caused strong resistance from his father, who saw in Alexey a successor to the family trading business.
Aggravated relations with his father even made Alexei quit his studies at the Moscow School of Painting and Sculpture, which he entered with great difficulty in 1844. He was able to continue his studies only in 1848, thanks to the help of the teacher of the school, Karl Ivanovich Rabus, who took him into his landscape class, and, oddly enough, the Moscow chief of police chief Major General Ivan Dmitrievich Luzhin, who had patronized a talented young man. By the way, the general continued to take care of Savrasov later, and in the summer he invited him to his estate, where quite a few interesting works were written by the young artist.
A few years spent outside the school, when Savrasov, albeit in snatches, worked independently, were not in vain. Alexey almost immediately stood out among his fellow students beyond his years of age with a mature attitude to painting and undoubted talent. Patrons paid attention to him, which were always enough in Moscow, allocating funds for Savrasov’s trip to Ukraine in 1849, from which Alexei Kondratievich brought several good paintings and a lot of sketches.
Savrasov's Ukrainian works, shown at the school exhibition, were received with interest by the audience and, which is extremely important for the young artist, were favorably noted by critics. The following year, Savrasov graduated from college, receiving the title of artist for the paintings "Stone in the Forest near the Spill" and "View of the Moscow Kremlin under moonlight." At the exhibitions his new works began to appear, about which the teacher of the school, Nikolai Alexandrovich Ramazanov, said in the Moskvityanin magazine: “The landscapes of Mr. Savrasov ... breathe freshness, diversity and that power that is absorbed by the artist’s brush due to the warm and reasonable outlook on nature” .
Representatives of the imperial family also paid attention to the young landscape painter. The president of the Academy of Fine Arts, Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, having acquired one of his paintings in 1854, invited the artist to live in her country palace near Oranienbaum, in order to display the distinctive local nature. Here Savrasov wrote a cycle of paintings, for which the Council of the Academy of Fine Arts awarded him the title of academician, which was a very rare event at that time. The fact is that the painter received a high rank, who was not a graduate of the Academy, who was only 24 years old.
Naturally, the artist's work, to which members of the imperial family showed attention, turned out to be in demand, his paintings were readily bought. In 1857, after the death of Rabus, Savrasov was offered to lead a landscape class at the Moscow School of Painting and Sculpture. In the same year he married Sophia Hertz, whose brothers he was well acquainted with.
Despite his pedagogical and social activities, Savrasov continued to write a lot, his paintings began to be exhibited not only in Russia, but also abroad. In the sixties, he himself found the opportunity to visit Europe twice, visiting the largest galleries and art museums of a number of countries, and getting acquainted with young artists who, like him, were looking for new ways in a picturesque display of nature.
It is worth noting that Savrasov turned out to be a talented teacher, his students were Lev Kamenev, Isaac Levitan, Sergey and Konstantin Korovin, Mikhail Nesterov, Sergey Svetoslavsky, who later became famous artists. Igor Grabar, who was closely associated with many of Savrasov’s students, described the creative atmosphere in Alexey Kondratievich’s workshop as follows: “Savrasov was able to inspire his students, and those covered in enthusiastic worship of nature, united in a close circle, worked tirelessly and in the workshop, and at home and on location. On the first spring days, the entire workshop rushed out of the city and, among the melting snow, admired the beauty of life awakening. An oak tree blossomed, and Savrasov, agitated, ran into the workshop, heralding it as an event and took the youth with him again to green groves and fields. ”
Apparently, Savrasov himself was infected with the fervor of his students. In the 60−70 years he wrote a lot of beautiful works. The most famous of them was “The Rooks Have Arrived”, the first sketches to which the artist wrote in the village of Molvitino in the homeland of the legendary Ivan Susanin. At the end of 1871, the picture was presented at the first exhibition of the Association of the Wanderers, among whose co-founders was Savrasov. Small in size, only 62 × 48.5 cm, it was not lost among the works of other landscape painters. And immediately attracted interest and fellow painting, and the audience. Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoy said about this picture: “Savrasov’s Landscape“ The Rooks Have Arrived ”is the best and it’s really beautiful, although here Bogolyubov, Baron Klodt, and Shishkin. But all this is trees, water and even air, and the soul is only in Rooks. ”
It is hard to believe that the artist wrote such an optimistic picture in the year when his daughter died and his wife fell seriously ill. Painful painter artist tried to jam the exhausting work. It seemed that he succeeds, under his brush were born lyrical, filled with light and air of canvas, delighted contemporaries. But in the soul of the painter was brewing rift, manifested in the second half of the 70s. The artist began to exhibit less frequently, his works became less and less inspirational. Savrasov increasingly began to resort to the traditional Russian means of suppressing anguish, which affected not only creativity, but also family life.
The situation worsened in 1882, when Savrasov was dismissed from college and lost a government apartment. The artist's wife left, and he began to sink lower and lower. Savrasov tried to deal with fate, he had a common-law wife, had two children. Unfortunately, he could not beat the addiction. But not for nothing in Russia they say that talent is not to be drunk. In moments of enlightenment, he continued to write.
Naturally, most of the paintings at this time were created by Alexei Kondratievich not for inspiration, but for earnings. But they felt the hand of the master. In 1894, architect Alexander Pomerantsev, who sent a memorandum to the Academy of Arts with a request to assist the needy Savrasov, said: “I can’t help but express confidence that the artist has not lost his ability and mastery of landscape painting; I should say the same about his drawings. ”
The daughter of the artist Vera, former friends and students in every way tried to help Savrasov, but could not achieve the result. September 26 (October 8, NS) 1897 Alexey Kondratievich died in a Moscow hospital for the poor. The artist was buried at the Vagankovo cemetery.