Noble Collection, Austria
Acquired from the above by the current owner in the 1960s
Commemorative Album: the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the Itinerant Exhibitions 1872-1897, Moscow, 1899, illustrated plate No.15
Sever, 1897, No.37, 1906, No. 16, 1912, No.10-13
Zhurnal zhurnalov, 1916, No.15 titled The Goose Girl
S.Goldshtein et al., Tovarischestvo peredvizhnikh vystavok 1869-1899: pis'ma, dokumenty, Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1987, vol.2, p.413 No.15 (listed)
G.B.Romanov, Tovarischestvo peredvizhnikh khudozhestvennykh vystavok: 1871-1923, St. Petersburg: Sankt-Peterburg Orkestr , 2003, p.144 (illustrated)
Nikolai Bodarevsky was a Ukrainian artist who painted historical scenes, landscapes and genre pieces. He was also a popular portraitist: Empress Alexandra Feodorovna posed for him personally. Bodarevsky was born in Odessa and studied first at the Odessa School of Drawing and then at the Academy of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg, from 1869 to 1873. He was awarded several silver medals and received a gold medal. In 1875 he was awarded the title 'Artist of the First Rank' for history painting, for a composition titled The Apostle Paul Explains the Law before King Agrippa, a subject Vasily Surikov painted at that time, and in 1908 he became a member of the Academy. Bodarevsky joined the Society of Itinerant Exhibitions, or Peredvizhniki, in 1884, but long before that he was taking part in joint exhibitions, even though his artistic direction was much closer to the later Salon style of Academic art than the democratic realism typical of the classic works of the Peredvizhniki.
Ukrainian Girl Tending Geese was shown at the twentieth Itinerant Exhibition and reproduced in the exhibition catalogue with sizing details which correspond to the size of the offered lot. This work was clearly considered particularly successful as it is reproduced in the commemorative album, published in 1897 to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the Peredvizhniki. The artist also included this picture in his solo exhibition, which took place in Saint Petersburg in 1913. Later reproductions were published in The North in 1897, 1906 and 1912, and in The Magazine of Magazines, No. 15 in 1916 with the title The Goose Girl.
In this picture Bodarevsky successfully combines motifs from landscape and genre painting. The lyrical depiction of the girl, who is wearing traditional Ukrainian national dress, is similar in character to Vasnetsov's Alyonushka (fig.1). The nature of the countryside early in the morning is poetically and accurately conveyed, and the bustle of the birds in the pond is handled with vigour and conviction. There is no doubt that Ukrainian Girl with Geese is one of Nikolai Bodarevsky's best genre pieces.
We are grateful to Elena Nesterova, Senior Researcher at The State Russian Museum, St Petersburg for providing this note.
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