Portrait of Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy, Kram, 1873

Portrait of Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy, Kram, 1873
Portrait of Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy, Kram, 1873 - 1

  • Posted by Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskaya
  • Museum: Tretyakov Gallery
  • Year: 1873

Overview of the painting :

Portrait L. N. Tolstoy – Kram. 1873. Oil on canvas. 98 x 79.5

   One of the most famous paintings of Kramsky is a magnificent portrait of the Russian classic Leo Tolstoy.

   The background to the portrait is very fascinating. Pavel Tretyakov decided to assemble a gallery of portraits of people who Russia is proud of. Of course, even during the life of the legendary figure of the great writer, she had to be immortalized on canvas, however, Tolstoy did not give consent for a long time.

   Then he decided to try Kramsky’s happiness, especially since he lived then near the Yasnaya Polyana estate. Having reached the estate, the artist found a writer who was piercing firewood. A simple vestment, a long beard did not immediately allow recognition of the master.

   After talking, Kramskoy kept returning to the request to write a portrait, which he received a decisive refusal. In the end, the artist announced that he was still such a great man as his interlocutor would be embodied in the portrait only with other hands. Lev Nikolaevich knew the paintings of Kramsky and decided that if there was no portrait in any way, then let this talented judicious artist become his portrait painter, but he expressed one condition – he would leave the portrait for himself.

   As a result, Kramskaya began to write two identical portraits in parallel, while working on two works with great pleasure. Now one of them can be seen in Yasnaya Polyana, and the other has been exhibited in Tretyakovka for more than a hundred years.