Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov

Russian, Realist, 1844-1927

 Page 1 of 1   

Moscow Patio
Vasily Polenov
297 USD

The Lookout
Vasily Polenov

286 USD

The River Oyat
Vasily Polenov

283 USD

Golden Autumn
Vasily Polenov

295 USD
Overgrown Pond
Vasily Polenov

300 USD
Grandmother's Garden
Vasily Polenov

321 USD
Autumn in Abramtsevo
Vasily Polenov

295 USD
Old Mill
Vasily Polenov

320 USD
Early Snow
Vasily Polenov

268 USD
Church by a Lake
Vasily Polenov

230 USD
Vasily Polenov

271 USD
Pond in Abramtzevo
Vasily Polenov

302 USD
On the Boat. Abramtsevo
Vasily Polenov

308 USD
Christ And Woman Taken In Adultery
Vasily Polenov

1437 USD
Dreams (On the Hill)
Vasily Polenov

362 USD
On the Tiberiad Lake
Vasily Polenov

369 USD
Woman Walking on a Forest Trail
Vasily Polenov

319 USD
The Dragonfly
Vasily Polenov

322 USD
He that is Without Sin
Vasily Polenov

1377 USD
He is Guilty of Death
Vasily Polenov

797 USD
Caesar's Entertainment
Vasily Polenov

637 USD
Bylinas Narrator Nikita Bogdanov
Vasily Polenov

241 USD
In the Park
Vasily Polenov

248 USD
Vasily Polenov

301 USD

 Page 1 of 1   


Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov (1 June 1844 – 18 July 1927) was a Russian landscape painter associated with the Peredvizhniki movement of realist artists. 

Life and career

A native of St. Petersburg, Polenov studied under Pavel Chistyakov and at the Imperial Academy of Arts from 1863 to 1871. He was a classmate and close friend of Rafail Levitsky, a fellow Peredvizhniki artist and famous photographer. Their letters, which are now stored in the Polenov's House museum, are an interesting account of the many art exhibitions, movements and artists of their day.

As bachelors, Polenov and Levitsky lived and worked together in "Devich'e Pole" (the name of the street "Maiden's Field"), in an attic of the Olsufevsky House (the home of Rafail Levitsky's future wife Anna Vasilevna Olsufevsky). This house is illustrated by Polenov in his painting “Grandmother's Garden” (1878).

Polenov was a pensioner of the academies of arts in Italy and France, where he painted a number of pictures in the spirit of Academism on subjects taken from European history, such as "Droit du Seigneur" (1874) Tretyakov gallery; at the same time he worked a lot in the open air.

Polenov took part in the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878) as a war artist. Returning from the war, he joined the Peredvizhniki, taking part in their mobile exhibitions. His works won the admiration of Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov, who acquired many of them for his gallery.

In the late 1870s, Polenov concentrated on painting landscapes in the realist tradition of Aleksey Savrasov and Fyodor Vasilyev. He attempted to impart the silent poetry of Russian nature, related to daily human life.

He was one of the first Russian artists who achieved a plein air freshness of color combined with artistic finish of composition (The Moscow courtyard, 1878; The Grandmother's garden, 1878; Overgrown pond, 1879). The principles developed by Polenov had a great impact on the further development of Russian (and especially Soviet) landscape painting.

Polenov's sketches of the Middle East and Greece (1881–1882) paved the way for his masterpiece, "Christ and the Sinner" (1886–87), an interesting attempt to update the academic style of painting. In his works of the 1880s, Polenov tended to combine New Testament subjects with his penchant for landscape. From the 1870s, Polenov also turned to stage design. Most notably, he decorated Savva Mamontov's mansion in Abramtsevo and his Russian Private Opera. In 1910-1918, Polenov was involved in a folk theatre project.

Polenov was elected a member of the St.Petersburg Academy of arts in 1893, and named as a People's Artist of the USSR in 1926. For many years, he coached young painters in the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. His pupils included Abram Arkhipov, Isaac Levitan, Konstantin Korovin, Emily Shanks and Alexandre Golovine. Polenov's former home in Borok has been designated a national art museum, and the village was renamed Polenovo to commemorate his name.

Source: Wikipedia


Two rare works by the celebrated Russian artist Vasili Polenov, “He that is Without Sin” and “He is Guilty of Death” have sold today (30th November) in the Russian Sale at Bonhams, setting a new world record for works by the artist sold at auction.

Considered masterpieces of the golden age of 19th century Russian painting, the two works entitled “He that is Without Sin” and “He is Guilty of Death” were new to the market and had never been seen at auction before. Both the works well exceeded their pre-sale estimates, with a huge amount of interest in the room and on the telephone. “He that is Without Sin” sold for £4.07 million against a presale estimate of £1.2 – 1.8 million to a bidder in the room, and “He is Guilty of Death” sold for £2.8 million, with a presale estimate of £600,000 – 800,000.

Both works were part of a monumental series consisting of sixty paintings titled “Life of Christ.” Completed over two decades, the series was exhibited in its entirety only once in 1909 in Russia. The exhibition was then offered the chance to exhibit in America and was reputedly scheduled to cross the Atlantic aboard the ill-fated Titanic. Due to a shipment delay, the series avoided the disastrous journey but it could not avoid being dispersed between various Russian art museums.

Evgenia Teslyuk, Head of the Russian department in London comments “Technically brilliant and emotionally intense, these two works represented the artist at his best. Polenov is one of the best-loved artists in Russia and his religious paintings in particular have a very special, intimate resonance. The final prices realised demonstrates the demand, at an international level, in works of this quality and we are very happy with the result.”

In 1924, the two works were among 13 chosen to represent Polenov’s accomplishments at the highly-publicised Russian art exhibits at the Grand Central Palace exhibition in New York. They were then acquired by Charles R. Crane, an industrialist, philanthropist, diplomat and Russian art patron, who believed strongly in the cultural and intellectual exchange between nations. Passionate about his mission, Mr. Crane donated the two paintings to a North American institution, where they remained for more than 80 years.

The first of the two paintings entitled “He That is Without Sin,” (in reference to St. John, 8:7) was a version of Polenov’s earlier large-scale work with the same title that is now in the collection of the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. The work depicted a woman awaiting Christ’s judgment for her sin of adultery. Instead of passing a judgment, Christ suggests that those in the crowd “who are without sin, to throw the first stone.” This message of humanism, forgiveness and love is quintessential to the work of Vasili Polenov and is one that he repeatedly returned to by re-working this scene compositionally and artistically.

The second painting, entitled “He is Guilty of Death” (in reference to St. Matthew, 26:66), depicted Christ before the Great Sanhedrin, Supreme Court of Ancient Israel, after his arrest at the Garden of Gethsemane. The lonely and introspective image of Christ is in direct contrast to his hostile and aggressive surroundings, particularly the judges who ultimately would determine his fate.

Yelena Harbick, Director of Russian Fine and Decorative Arts comments, “These paintings were unquestionably the most important works by Polenov to ever come up for auction and we are delighted with the prices realised. Through their exhibition at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow and at Bonhams in New York, a huge amount of interest from both institutions and private collectors was generated.”