Russian artist, master of social genre and portrait in the spirit of «Wanderers». Was born in Poltava, 1 (13) Dec 1846 in a military family. He graduated from the Mikhailovsky artillery Academy in St. Petersburg (1870), served in the Arsenal, in 1892, he retired with the rank of major-General. He studied painting at the Drawing school society for the encouragement of arts I. N. Archaeology and the Academy of fine arts (1867−1874). Traveled to the countries of Western Europe, Middle East, Ural, the Volga, Caucasus and Crimea. He was a member (from 1876) and one of the leaders of the «Itinerants society». Lived mainly in St. Petersburg and Kislovodsk.
Protest the pathos inherent in the paintings of the master, expressed in the images of the «new people» (Student, 1881, ibid; Students, 1883, the cases in the Museum of Russian art in Kiev and Kaluga art Museum) either in genre motifs of social violence (the prisoner’s car in the famous canvas of life is Everywhere, 1888, Tretyakov gallery). A special kind of disturbing, «conscientious» expression gives life to the best portraits of Yaroshenko (P. A. Strepetova, 1884, ibid; G. I. Uspensky, 1884, Art gallery, Russia; N. N. GE, 1890, Russian Museum, Petersburg).
Died Yaroshenko in Kislovodsk on June 25 (July 7), 1898.
Nikolai Alexandrovich Yaroshenko was born on 1 Dec 1846 (old style) in Poltava. His father Alexander, a well-educated man, was a military man, rose to the chip of major-General. Mother — Lubov, daughter of a retired Lieutenant. The tendency to draw the boy appeared before, but according to family tradition the father wanted the son made his career in the military and nine years gave it to the Poltava cadet corps.
Surviving drawings enable us to judge, that under the guidance of his teacher, I. K. Zaitsev, the young artist was engaged seriously and without success. After graduating from the cadet corps, in 1863, Yaroshenko moved to St. Petersburg and entered the Pavlovsk military school, from where he was transferred to the Mikhailovsky artillery school. Attraction to art has not waned, and the young man is engaged in a private way popular in the 1860-ies of the artist A. M. Volkov, and also attends evening classes drawing school Society for the encouragement of arts, where he taught archaeology. In 1867 Yaroshenko enters the Mikhailovsky artillery Academy and also became a volunteer at the Academy of fine arts. Two years later, with «great advances in science» he finishes the military Academy, continuing successfully to pursue art.
Outlook N. Yaroshenko was formed under the direct influence of the ideas of Russian revolutionary Democrats. Each Yaroshenko, the artist is Ostroukhov, recalled that «Chernyshevsky and Dobrolyubov became his leaders, and cutting-edge magazines — favorite reading.» At the Academy of arts he became close to the Wanderers and writers grouped around the progressive journal Otechestvennye Zapiski. All this affected the social orientation of art N. A. Yaroshenko. In 1875, the Fourth traveling exhibition exhibited several portrait sketches and his first painting «Nevsky Prospekt at night» (the painting was lost during the great Patriotic war). It depicts a deserted Avenue on a rainy night and two female figures: the need has expelled unfortunate on the panel. «The picture, — said Yaroshenko — makes sense only in the colors when it is seen that the yard is damp, cold and drizzling rain, in a word this kind of weather, what a good dog owner in the yard will not drive».
March 7, 1876 this painting Yaroshenko was unanimously accepted as a member of the Association of traveling exhibitions and was soon elected to the management Board. More than ten years he, together with I. N. Kramskoy directed by the Partnership, and after the death of Kramskoi became his ideological successor, the guardian of the best traditions peredvizhnichestva. Nesterov wrote about Yaroshenko: «He becomes with the death of archaeology is one of the most active leaders of the community… his Voice sounds in the meetings and listen to him as carefully as used to listen Kramskoy. Yaroshenko was modest, picky, discreet and at the same time solid. Soft in appearance — he flint spirit.» «Artists of conscience» called his contemporaries.
Yaroshenko, following the advanced trends of the time, says his creativity is the image of the positive hero. A wide public response were shown in 1878 at the Sixth traveling exhibition two pictures — «Stoker» and «Prisoner».
«Stoker» (TG) — first in Russian painting vivid realistic image of a worker. The picture made a huge impression on the writer Garshin, which he managed to convey in his story «Artist». It is the idea of responsibility for the heinous operation, which falls on the shoulders of the worker. But Stoker created Yaroshenko, is not the victim — that force, generated by capitalism and opposes him.
In the film «Prisoner» (TG), the artist expresses his sympathy for the fighters for freedom and denounces autocracy. Study for «the Prisoner» Yaroshenko wrote with his close friend writer’s assumption. The creation of both works step forward in the development of democratic realism in the 1870s, and «Stoker» — the first image of a worker in Russian art, the painting «the Prisoner» is one of the first works of art of that period dedicated to the revolutionaries.
The beginning of the 1880-ies noted in the work of Yaroshenko development of the theme of the revolutionary struggle of the Russian intelligentsia in connection with the new public lift in Russia. The plot is «Lithuanian castle» (1881, not preserved) is associated with the attempt of Vera Zasulich in St. Petersburg mayor. This event was seen as a protest against the terrible conditions of detention of political prisoners who were in the Lithuanian castle. The police power has forbidden to exhibit this painting in a traveling exhibition, which opened on the day of the assassination of Alexander II. The artist himself during the week was under house arrest, and, moreover, come for «a conversation» the Minister of the interior Loris-Melikov.
Simultaneously with the «Lithuanian castle» was exhibited painting «Old and young» (1881, RM), reflecting typical for that time the conflict between «fathers» and «children," the clash of two ideologies — conservative and rebellious.
Yaroshenko was married to the former students of M. P. Navratnas, and in their house «on Arsenalski Saturdays» were not only writers, artists, scientists, and youth. This helped the artist to be aware of the most pressing issues of his time, and then reflect them in acute psychological works, which became a milestone in the development of Russian democratic art.
A significant place in the work of Yaroshenko take portraits; he wrote around a hundred. The artist drew people of intellectual labour: the progressive writers, scientists, artists, actors, the best representatives of modernity, writing of which Yaroshenko considered his public duty. Student of archaeology, he saw the task of the portraitist above all, to know human psychology. This was the artist’s wife said, «He could not write individuals who no spiritual of no interest».
Interestingly, the Stasov believed Yaroshenko «essentially a portrait of the modern young generation, the nature of whose life and character he deeply understands, grasps and transfers».
Among the works of the artist, dedicated to youth, the most famous «Student» (1881, TG) and «Students» (1883, State. the Museum of Russian art, Kiev; - the Kaluga regional art Museum). It is, in fact, paintings-portraits, shadows of whom was a student of the Academy of arts F. A. Chirov and listener Bestuzhev courses A. K. Chertkov.
Written in N. A. Yaroshenko portraits I. N. Kramskoy (1876, RM), G. I. Uspensky (1884, Ekaterinburg art gallery), Mendeleyev (1885, the Mendeleyev Museum at St. Petersburg University), GHE (1890, state Russian Museum), and Vladimir Korolenko (1898, not preserved) and others revealed the spiritual wealth of these people. One of the best — portrait of the P. A. Strepetova (1884, TG), actress, expressed in scenic images of the tragedy of disenfranchised women. The artist revealed the inner beauty and fortitude of this man, endowed with the highest civil feelings, longing about free life. Estimated Kramskoy portrait as one of the «most remarkable» portraits of time and saw in him a generalized image, «the artist» written on «about the car was even out».
At the end of 1880-ies was one of the most popular paintings Yaroshenko «life is Everywhere» (1888, TG): the lattice Windows in the prisoners ' car languishing unfortunate victims of social reality, not criminals — as if the artist claims.
In the future, the artist creates a series of genre paintings — «swing» (1888, state Russian Museum), «Girl-woman» (1891, Nizhny Novgorod state art Museum), «In the car» (late 1880s, private collection), etc.
In the last years of his life, despite serious illness, Yaroshenko travelled extensively in Russia and abroad, was on the Volga, went to Italy, Syria, Palestine, Egypt. Shortly before his death the artist was working on sketches in the mines of the Urals, for they conceived the big picture of the life of miners.
For excellent service in 1892 Yaroshenko produce to major General, then the same condition forces him to move to Kislovodsk. Next year he will retire, continuing to engage in social activities, constantly exhibited in traveling exhibitions. The artist was full of creative plans, but on June 25, 1898 (old style) died suddenly from heart failure.