Home ° 2017


° Amur River ° Arkhangelsk ° Georgia ° Baikal Sea ° Irkutsk ° Kaliningrad ° Korsakov ° Kushka ° Moscow ° Murmansk ° Petropavlovsk - Kamchatskiy ° Nikolaevsk on Amur ° Novorossiysk ° Sakhalin Islands  °  Sevastopol (Sebastopol) ° St. Petersburg ° Tiski ° Vladivostok ° Vyborg 
° Jews of Russia ° Artists of Russia


December 5, 1845, Church and State Gazette, London, United Kingdom

Peredvizhniki (Itinerants or Wanderers).

From the mid-eighteenth century, the Russian school of painting and sculpture had been controlled by the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg. In the relatively liberal atmosphere of Alexander II's "Great Reforms," there was growing discontent among some artists with the traditionally conservative attitude of the Academy of Arts.

In 1863, a group of students at the Academy rebelled at the proposed topic for the annual Gold Medal painting competition: "The Entrance of Odin into Valhalla."

They felt that this mythological fantasy was too remote from the real life of Russia that, they believed, demanded their artistic attention. Thirteen painters and one sculptor resigned from the Academy. Soon after they withdrew from the Academy, these "Thirteen Contestants" formed an Artists' Cooperative Society. In 1870, they formed the "Society for Traveling Art Exhibitions," and the painters became known as "Peredvizhniki" (in English, they are known as "Wanderers" or "Travelers" or "Itinerants."

The Peredvizhniki committed themselves to populist themes painted in an accessible realist style and believed their art might serve as a vehicle for social reform and promote the development of a national consciousness. Although the leaders of the Peredvizhniki were conscious of European movements, their own agenda was a Russian one.

Church on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

Artists of Russia.Artists of Russia.

This Russian-style church was built on the spot where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated in March 1881. After assuming power in 1855 in the wake of Russia's disastrous defeat in the Crimean war against Britain, France and Turkey, Alexander II initiated a number of reforms. In 1861 he freed the Russian serfs (peasants, who were almost enslaved to their owners) from their ties to their masters and undertook a rigorous program of military, judicial and urban reforms, never before attempted in Russia. However, during the second half of his reign Alexander II grew wary of the dangers of his system of reforms, having only barely survived a series of attempts on his life, including an explosion in the Winter Palace and the derailment of a train. Alexander II was finally assassinated in 1881 by a group of revolutionaries, who threw a bomb at his royal carriage.

The decision was taken to build a church on the spot where the Emperor was mortally wounded. The church was built between 1883 and 1907 and was officially called the Resurrection of Christ Church (or "The Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood"). The construction of the church was almost entirely funded by the Imperial family and thousands of private donators. Both the interior and exterior of the church is decorated with incredibly detailed mosaics, designed and created by the most prominent Russian artists of the day (V.M. Vasnetsov, M.V. Nesterov and M.A. Vrubel). Interestingly, despite the church s very obviously Russian aspect, its principle architect, A. Parland, was not even Russian by birth.

Russia's Prestige: Historical ArchitectureShips, Shipping, Migration, World Seaports.

Among their constant themes were the Russian peasantry, Russian landscape, and the Russian clergy. But the Peredvizhniki were progressive not only in the subjects they chose to paint, but also in the way they reached their audience. Earlier, significant art exhibitions had been limited to Moscow and St. Petersburg, but now the artists who allied themselves with this traveling group had the opportunity to reach a much wider audience than they would have earlier. The creation of an art tradition depends, of course, not only on how art is created, but how it is preserved, displayed, and received by current and future generations. In this regard an important role was played by the wealthy Moscow merchant and collector Pavel Tretiakov (1832-98). In 1892, Tretiakov, along with his brother, gave to the city of Moscow a collection of important paintings by some of the most significant Russian artists of the nineteenth century.

Dartmouth College

  • Vasily Perov
  • Ivan Kramskoi
  • Nikolai Ge
  • Vasily Ivanovich Surikov 
     Artists of Russia.Artists of Russia.

    The works of Vasily Surikov are a magnificent manifestation of the creative genius of the Russian people. Surikov came of Cossack stock and was born in the Siberian town of Krasnoyarsk. His father's family came to Siberia from the Don area, with Yermak; his mother came from the old Cossack family Torgoshin, and it was from these roots that the artist inherited his proud and freedom-loving character. Surikov was proud of his origins and wrote: "I am a Cossack through and through, with a pedigree going back over two hundred years." The source of Surikov's conception of beauty was Siberia, with all its severity, with its sometimes cruel customs, its courageous people, the "old Russian" beauty of its girls, its majestic scenery and its living history. His first attempts at drawing also took place in his early childhood: "I was six, I remember I drew Peter the Great from an engraving. The colours I did myself: blue for the uniform and crimson for the lapels."

    The first person to notice the boy's abilities was N. V. Grebnev, the teacher of drawing at the Krasnoyarsk district school, which Surikov finished in 1861 with a certificate of merit. Grebnev gave him the task of copying etchings from the old masters. In order to support the family after his father's death, Surikov had to work as an office clerk. Sometimes, as he recalled later, he even had to "paint Easter eggs for three rubles per hundred" and once he took a commission to paint an icon entitled "The Holy Virgin's Feasts." Surikov's drawings attracted the attention of the governor of Krasnoyarsk, P. N. Zamyatin, who put in a word for him at the Council of the Academy of Arts. From St. Petersburg came a positive response, but with the reservation that he would not be provided with a scholarship. The rich gold-mine owner P. I. Kuznetsov, an art lover and collector, came to Surikov's aid and offered to pay for his studies and upkeep. In the middle of December 1868, the young artist set off on a two-month journey to the capital with a string of carts transporting Kuznetsov's merchandise. Surikov proved to be insufficiently prepared for the Academy examinations. During three summer months, he mastered a three-year course. On 28 August 1869 he passed the Academy's entrance examinations and was accepted as an external student. By the following autumn he was already at work on his first independent work: "View of the Monument to Peter the Great on Senate Square in St. Petersburg" (1870). At the Academy Surikov successfully executed a series of compositions on classical themes, and also a picture from early Russian history "A Prince's Judgment" (1874). In April 1875 the artist embarked on a program work for a gold medal "The Apostle Paul Expounding the Dogmata of Christianity to Herod, Agrippa, His Sister Bernice and the Roman Proconsul Festus." He was given a chance to travel abroad, but instead asked to be allowed to carry out a commission to decorate the Church of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. From June 1877 the artist lived permanently in Moscow, having spent two years doing frescos depicting the four ecumenical councils. Thereafter, Surikov took on no more commissions for work.

    Artists of Russia.Surikov paintings and drawings.Maria Tsaneva "The Morning of the Streltsi's Execution" (1878-81) depicts the tragic nature of one of the crucial periods in Russian history. The subject of the picture comes from the Petrine age and reflects one of the episodes in the struggle for the throne between Peter the Great and his sister Sophia, the outcome of which was the defeat of Sophia and the streltsi who supported her. "It was not the execution I wanted to convey, but the solemnity of the last minutes," wrote Surikov about this painting. The streltsi are full of dignity as they go to meet their deaths."
  • Ilya Repin
  • Nikolai Yaroshenko: Born in Poltava. His father, a highly educated man, was a military officer who had advanced to the rank of major- general, his mother was the daughter of a retired lieutenant.The boy’s propensity for drawing was clear at an early age, but in keeping with the family tradition his father wished him to have a military career and sent him at the age of nine to the Poltava cadet corps. After finishing the cadet corps, in 1863, Yaroshenko moved to St. Petersburg and entered the Pavlovsk military school, whence he was transferred to the Mikhailovsky artillery school. Artists of Russia.Artists of Russia. His interest in art did not weaken, however: he studied privately under A. M. Volkov, an artist popular in the sixties, and also attended evening classes at the drawing school of the Society for the Furtherance of the Arts, at which Ivan Kramskoi taught. In 1867 Yaroshenko entered the Mikhailovsky artillery academy and at the same time became an external student at the Academy of Arts. Two years later he graduated from the military academy with distinction in the sciences, while continuing to make progress in art. On 7 March 1876, on the strength of this picture, Yaroshenko was unanimously elected member of the Society of Peredvizhniki, and soon he was made a member of the board.

July 21, 1895, San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

Sonya Kovalevsky.

Sonya Kovalevsky: Her Recollections of ChildhoodRussian Artist Sonya Kovalevsky. (1895, Cornell University Library) have attracted much attention in Europe and will probably prove as interesting to American readers. They have three distinct charms. First, they are the records of the life and experiences of one of the most gifted and remarkable women of the century; second, they reveal new aspects of that strange evolution that is going on in the higher circles of Russian society, and out of which have come such extraordinary developments as Nihilism and anarchy; and, thirdly, they narrate the events of a career sufficiently varied and adventurous to be interesting as a work of fiction had there been no reality in it.

Artists of Russia.Artists of Russia.

Sonya Kovalevsky, the daughter of General Krukovsky, was born in 1850, and as her nurse afterward told her she came into the world at the wrong time. Her birth, it seems, occurred just at a time when her father, through bad luck at cards, had lost so large a sum of money he was compelled to let everything go and pawn his wife's diamonds in order to pay his gambling debts. He and his wife, moreover, were very desirous the child should be a boy, as they had already a daughter. The family, therefore, was in no good humor when the little girl was born. Sonya always believed her parents did not love her as they loved her sister and the brother who came afterward, and perhaps this feeling nurtured in childhood had much to do with the development of that jealous trait in her disposition, which became in afterlife so serious a defect in character and the source of so much wretchedness to herself.

In a great rambling country house in the pine forests of Russia, the two Krukovsky sisters grew up together. The elder sister Aniuta, being a favorite with her mother and a spoiled beauty, soon managed to get herself emancipated from the schoolroom, and thereafter Sonya had her struggles with the English governess single-handed. In the chapters of recollections of childhood which the memoir contains, there are some excellent pictures given of Russian country life. The relations of master and servant as they appeared in the eyes of a child and incidents trowing out of that relationship furnish onya with some of the most impressive of her memories. One was the awful story of an aunt who was murdered by her servants because of her cruelty, and another the strange story of a middle-aged woman among the servants, who fell in love with a young man and then systematically robbed the house in order to provide him with luxuries and presents. As the two sisters grew to young womanhood their minds and feelings became affected by influences outside the narrow domain of their country home. Sonya says: "Between the years 1860 and 1870 all the educated classes of Russian society were occupied exclusively with one question; the family discord between the old and the young. Ask about whatever noble family you would at that time, you always heard one and the same thing the parents had quarreled with the children.

The Krukovsky girls did not come wholly unscathed from this epidemic. Aniuta, under the influence of Bulwer's novels, set about writing stories herself, and was so successful as to obtain the immediate acceptance of them by Dostoevsky, at that time one of the leading literary men and foremost editors in Russia. When Krukovsky discovered that his daughter was not only writing stories, but was accepting money for them, his rage knew no bounds.

"Anything," he said to his daughter, "may be expected from a girl who is capable of entering into a correspondence with a strange man unknown to her father and mother and receiving money from him. You sell your novels now, but the time will probably come when you will sell yourself."

For a time the storm raised in this way crushed the aspirations of the sisters, but in the end the old general relented. He heard Aniuta read her story, and promised her to make Dostoeveky's acquaintance on his next visit to St. Petersburg. After this the girls themselves were taken to the capital, where the poet became a frequent visitor to the house. Then came the complication that Dostoevsky fell in love with Aniuta, and Sonya, though a child, fell in love with him.

Sonya's biography is then taken up then by her friend, Anna Charlotta Leffler, Duchess of Cajanello, who begins her story when Sonya, at the age of 17, was taken by her parents to pass the winter at St. Petersburg. Just at that time in 1867 a strong movement was making itself felt among the thinking portion of the rising generation in Russia. This movement, which may be described as an ardent desire for the freedom and progress of their fatherland, especially affected young girls, and hundreds of them belonging to the best families abandoned their homes and betook themselves to foreign universities in order to study science. As the parents in a majority of cases opposed the movement, the daughters had recourse to strange tactics characteristic of the time and the country to effect their purpose. They went through the form of marriage with young men devoted to the same ideas, which they held sacred, and in this manner as married women they escaped from parental authority and were enabled to go abroad at the first opportunity.

After reviewing the circle of their acquaintance, the three girls decided to invite a young professor at the university to marry one of them. The call was made and the proposal offered in due form, but the professor declined. A second attempt was more successful. A young student, Kovalevsky, who was about to go to Germany to complete his studies, was proposed to, and he consented to enter upon the mock marriage, and selected Sonya as his partner. To force her father's consent to the marriage, Sonya left her home, went to Kovalevsky's room, and in the evening sent back a note containing only these words: "Father, I am with Vladimir, and beg you will no longer oppose our marriage.'' General Krukovsky read the note and surrendered. The marriage took place at once, and Sonya, with her sister, their friend Inez and the mock husband, Kovalevsky, set out for Heidelberg.

In Paris, Aniuta became infatuated with a young Frenchman, a leader in the commune, and went to live with him as his wife. The two were afterward married, and returning to Russia they lived on the estate of General Krukovsky, the gifted Aniuta seeming to have no other ambition afterward than that of winning the love of her husband, which she never did.

Sonya visited England, made the acquaintance of such people as George Eliot, Darwin, Huxley and Spencer. She made a real marriage with her husband and at the same time studied with new ardor. It was not long before she became distinguished as a mathematician, and when, in 1874, they returned to Russia both herself and her husband had become persons of distinction in intellectual circles. In St. Petersburg the gifted woman turned from mathematics to literature and began to write, anonymously, newspaper articles, poetry, theatrical criticisms, and she also completed a novel, "The Privat-Docent," descriptive of life in a German university town.

A few years later Sonya, her repute as a mathematician, which by this time was widely established, obtained for her an appointment as assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Stockholm. Here she performed her greatest work and for relaxation undertook the writing of dramas and novels. In 1888 she received from the French Academy of Science the Prix Bordin, the greatest scientific honor which any woman has ever gained, and one of the greatest honors indeed to which the votaries of science can aspire. In this supreme triumph, however, she was not happy. She had exhausted herself by her ambitions and her passions and two years after her success at Paris she died.

Russia.Russia.Dostoevsky's Spiritual Art: 
The Burden of Vision 

(Library of Conservative Thought)
George A. Panichas
Fyodor Dostoevsky's highest and most permanent achievement as a novelist lies in his exploration of man's religious complex, his world and his fate. His primary vision is to be found in his last five novels: Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Devils, A Raw Youth, and The Brothers Karamazov. This volume culminates twenty years of the authors studying, teaching, and writing on Dostoevsky. Panichas views Dostoevsky not as a religious doctrinaire, but as a visionary whose five great novels constitute a sequential meditation on man's human and superhuman destiny.

Russian Art: From Neoclassism to the Avant Garde 1800-1917: Painting Sculpture ArchitectureRussian Art.
Dmitri V. Sarabianov

Russia.Russian Art. Seeing Chekhov: Life and ArtChekov.
Michael C. Finke
Chekhov was a master at deflecting critical attention away from his own personality, both in his writing and in his private life. But he reckoned without the supreme forensic skills of a scholar such as Michael C. Finke, who seeks to probe beneath the layers of dusty cliché that have accumulated during the past century. In his incisive new book, Finke lays Chekhov bare by marshaling an impressive arsenal of analytical tools and by playing the writer at his own game, using X-ray vision to penetrate the unexpected points of contact between the life and the creative work. It is exhilarating to see Chekhov through Finke's eyes."—Rosamund Bartlett, author of Chekhov: Scenes from a Life

Russia.Russia.Kandinsky's Quest:
A Study in the Artist's Personal Symbolism, 1866-1907

(Hermeneutics of Art)
Igor Aronov
By studying Vasily Kandinsky’s personal and intellectual life, Igor Aronov deciphers the artist’s hitherto puzzling early works and provides the key to understanding the vital ‘inner meaning’ of his later abstractions. No future writer on Kandinsky will be able to ignore this analysis. (Ziva Amishai-Maisels, Academic Chair of the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Center for Art History, Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Kadinsky and Old Russia.Nina Kandinsky has stated Kandinsky would sit down by candlelight and relax. He let the images flow and then he would sketch and later turn them into paintings. He also had a photographic memory. Nina also stated that from 1938 on that Kandinsky saw the entire painting in his mind before he painted.

Russia.Russian Art. Siberia and Russian America/Sibirien Und Russisch-Amerika: Culture and Arts from the 1700s: The Asch Collection Gottingen/Kultur Und Kunst Des 18. JahSiberia and Russian America.
Brigitta Hauser-Schaublin
Baron Georg Thomas von Asch was an eighteenth-century physician in the Russian Imperial Army, a pioneering explorer of Siberia and Russian America, now known as Alaska. His life's work, gathering ancient artefacts from this region and copious documentation about the lives and cultures of its inhabitants, remains the most exhaustive cultural record we have about this area. The Asch collection includes books, manuscripts and maps, as well as medals, minerals, plants, clothes and other items of scientific interest.

Russia.Russia. Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia Russia.
Orlando Figes
Beginning in the eighteenth century with the building of St. Petersburg and culminating with the Soviet regime, Figes examines how writers, artists, and musicians grappled with the idea of Russia's character, spiritual essence, and destiny. Interweaving great works (Dostoevsky, Stravinsky, and Chagall) with exquisite folk embroidery, peasant songs, religious icons, and daily customs, Figes reveals uplifting, complex and contradictory spirit, one more lasting than Russian rulers or states.

Russia.Russia. Land of the Firebird
The Beauty of Old Russia
Suzanne Massie
A highly-regarded, in-depth look of Russian history from 987-1917, spanning the ascension of Vlad and the Orthodox Church to just before the Revolution. The author, wife of Russian historican Robert Massie, details the variety of Russian existence--tsars and serfs and merchant-princes and babushkas. This work has been compared to Natasha's Dance (above) as one of two outstanding single-volume histories of early Russia.

Folktales of the Amur: Stories from the Russian Far EastFolktales of the Amur.Folktales of the Amur.

Dmitrii Nagishkin, Darlene Geis

Thirty-one traditional tales from the far eastern part of Russia tell of life along the banks of the Amur River.

This is one of my all-time favorite books. I have a first edition and while I've parted with many things, never this! The art is alive. It is absolutely beautiful.

Illustrations can be viewed at Cizgili Masalli's blog

1899. World's Fleet. Boston Daily Globe

Lloyds Register of Shipping gives the entire fleet of the world as 28,180 steamers and sailing vessels, with a total tonnage of 27,673,628, of which 39 perent are British.

Great Britain10,990 vessels, total tonnage of 10,792,714
United States 3,010 vessels, total tonnage of 2,405,887
Norway 2,528 vessels, tonnage of 1,604,230
Germany 1,676 vessels, with a tonnage of 2,453,334, in which are included her particularly large ships.
Sweden 1,408 vessels with a tonnage of 643, 527
Italy1,150 vessels
France 1,182 vessels

For Historical Comparison
Top 10 Maritime Nations Ranked by Value (2017)

  Country # of Vessels







1 Greece 4,453 206.47 $88.0
2 Japan 4,317 150.26 $79.8
3 China 4,938 159.71 $71.7
4 USA 2,399 55.92 $46.5
5 Singapore 2,662 64.03 $41.7
6 Norway 1,668 39.68 $41.1
7 Germany 2,923 81.17 $30.3
8 UK 883 28.78 $24.3
9 Denmark 1,040 36.17 $23.4
10 South Korea 1,484 49.88 $20.1
Total 26,767 87.21 $466.9

The Project

Maritime Nations, Ships, Sea Captains, Merchants, Merchandise, Ship Passengers and VIPs sailing into San Francisco during the 1800s.



Merchant Shipping

Merchant Shipping.Merchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.  
History of Merchant Shipping and Ancient CommerceMerchant Shipping and Ancient Commerce.
W. S. Lindsay

Kindly Kindly Donate.


DALevy @


Sources: As noted on entries and through research centers including National Archives, San Bruno, California; CDNC: California Digital Newspaper Collection; San Francisco Main Library History Collection; and Maritime Museums and Collections in Australia, China, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, etc.

Please inform us if you link from your site. Please do NOT link from your site unless your site specifically relates to immigration in the 1800s, family history, maritime history, international seaports, and/or California history.