Vasily Perov: A Wanderer

Vasily Perov was a painter of the Peredvizhniki movement in Russian during the 1860’s. By being one of the founders of this artistic movement, Perov had a large impact on the Peredvizhniki, also known as the Wanderers. The Wanderers began in 1963 in opposition to the strict requirements that the Russian Imperial Academy of Arts set on paintings topics that their students could pursue. As a result, 14 Students, including Perov split off the create the Peredvizhniki. Perov and his fellow painters focused their paintings on realism in order to capture everyday life throughout Russia. This enabled the Wanderers to critique the government and the life of the nobility through various paintings depicting peasant life, landscapes, and potraits.

Self Portrait of Vasily Perov(1).

In order to spread their ideas and critiques on society, the Peredvizhniki traveled throughout Russia, setting up exhibits in major cities. “The organized traveling exhibitions allowed for them to take their art to the people as well a beyond the cities of St Petersburg and Moscow”(2).  Vasily Perov was one of the most influential painters to come from the Peredvizhniki. His ideas and critiques flowed through numerous portraits and depictions of everyday life. His paintings exemplified what was wrong with the nobility in Russia as well as the day to day hardships for the average person in Russia. For example, his painting, Tea-Party at Mytishchi near Moscow, can be viewed as a critique of the nobility in Russia and how there was such a large divide between the nobility and the peasants during that time. One struggles to survive day to day, while the other struggles to drink tea in the shade.

Tea-Party at Mytishchi near Moscow(3)

If Perov was not critiquing the government or the nobility, or painting portraits, he was depicting everyday life of the Russian people. This type of work created by Perov displayed a high level of realism while also incorporating the genre of landscapes that was so common to the Peredvizhniki. For instance, the painting, The Bird-Catcher uses realism and the genre of landscapes to show the life of an average Russian.

The Bird-Catcher (4).

By the 1890’s the Peredvizhniki began to decline in popularity and influence since their artistic style had been around for such a long time. Their paintings had become engrained in Russian society, and as a result their style started to become adopted by average artists, thus making their unique style of painting and critique average.


Works Cited:


2. The Peredvizhniki-Pioneers of Russian Painting. National Museum.

3.  Olga’s Gallery. Vasily Perov. .