Lot 433
  • 433

Nikolai Alexandrovich Yaroshenko

80,000 - 120,000 GBP
97,250 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Nikolai Alexandrovich Yaroshenko
  • self portrait
  • signed in Cyrillic and dated 1894 l.r.
  • oil on canvas

Catalogue Note

Nikolai Alexandrovich Yaroshenko was destined for a military career from a very early age. Born into a military family in Poltava, he attended numerous military schools and academies, and graduated as the best student of the Mikhailovsky Artillery Academy.  A talented and capable officer, he was nonetheless able to combine his martial employment with a truly artistic vocation.  He attended Kramskoi's drawing classes under the auspices of the Society for the Encouragement of Artists, and later became a part-time student at the Academy of Arts.


The artist forged close links with Kramskoi, following him into the Wanderers' movement.  Yaroshenko was one of the most typical Peredvizhniki artists, but he still retained a unique quality, and on his mentor's death in 1887, Nikolai Alexandrovich succeeded him as the association's ideologue.  Minchenkov wrote of him that "he was a great liberal, philosopher and artist, and soldier..." and this is born out by his friendship with various liberal and left wing intellectuals. At his renowned 'Yaroshenko Saturdays', democrat acquaintances would gather and discuss their favourite issues.


Yaroshenko's works tended to be either on social subjects, or sensitive portraits of his intellectual friends and colleagues. This self-portrait in his undress frock coat reflects his status in society – he had retired as a Major General at only 46.  However, the lack of adornment reveals his egalitarian principles, and for all that he is still handsome, there is a reflective aspect to his face that is missing from his dashing younger self.  His successful military career over, his promising artistic career was cut short by his untimely death at the age of 52.  Therefore the offered lot not only represents a rare, and finely executed exception from Yaroshenko's oeuvre, it also embodies the artist in all his complexity, and at the height of his achievement.