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Monday, September 4, 2017

Andrei Ivanovich Ivanov

Adam and Eve with their Children under the Tree,
1803, Andrei Ivanov
One of the greatest lifetime handicaps a child might face is that of coming from a one-parent home. Of course there are multiple factors involved having an effect upon the severity of such a handicap--the parent's and child's gender is a major variable in this theoretical equation. The intelligence and attitude of both parent and child are likewise important. What it often come down to is wisdom. Is the parent wise enough to make the kind of decisions the child can't? Poverty plays a major role, as does great wealth (both negative factors). Also the presence of family, community, and government agencies comes into play. If all or most of these factors are present and positive in a child's life, the effects may be minimized. In fact, there have been cases in which a guardian parent is such a strongly relevant individual as to mitigate most of the negative influences.

The Young Hero from Kiev, 1810, Andrei Ivanov

Andrei Ivanov Self-portrait, 1803
The young Russian portrait artist, Andrei Ivanov, however, had few, if any of these factors going for him. Born in 1775, while he was still very young, his parents decided they simply didn't want him, and so gave him over to a Moscow or-phanage to be raised. Fortunately, the young boy's drawing talent quickly made itself apparent. He was enrolled in the elementary courses at the Imperial Academy of Arts in 1782, and later stud-ied with Grigory Ugryumov and Gabriel Fran├žois Doyen. He graduated in 1797 and began teaching there a year later. By 1803, when he painted Adam and Eve with Their Children under The Tree (top), he had become an Academ-ician. Between teaching classes, Ivanov bus-ied himself copying the old Italian mas-ters and in painting religious icons (below). In 1812, at the age of thirty-seven he was appointed a Professor.

Old Testament Trinity, Andrei Ivanov
Ivanov's rapid upward movement into the Russian Academy was largely due to his creation of a single painting, Prince Mstislav the Brave Defeating Rededya (below), painted around 1811-12. Later, in 1820, Ivanov painted the fresco Minerva Hovering in the Sky for the iron staircase at the Academy. If Ivanov's rise to academic prominence was relatively rapid, his fall from grace came with even more remarkable haste. His painting The Death of General Kulnev angered Tsar Nicholas I when it was exhibited in 1830, apparently because it portrayed a controversial (and probably bogus) moment from the incident when Kulnev ordered his allied officers to remove their insignia so the enemy wouldn't know that the Russian army was without a commander. As a result, Ivanov was removed from the Academy. A few years later, when the Russian painter, Karl Briullov, returned to Moscow and was presented with a laurel wreath, he took it off his head and placed it on Ivanov's instead, as a sign of respect and appreciation.

Prince Mstislav the Brave defeating Rededya, Andrei Ivanov
Although forced into retirement, Ivanov remained active as a painter and member of several artistic societies. He died of cholera in 1848. His grave in the Smolensk Cemetery has not survived. His son was the more famous painter Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov.

The Christening of
Grand Duke Vladimir,
1828, Andrei Ivanov


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