Surikov Vasily Ivanovich made a great contribution to the development of the Russian art school. Surikov's parents, father Ivan Vasilievich Surikov, who served as the provincial registrar and mother Praskovya Fedorovna, nee Torgoshina, were among the descendants of the first Cossack clans. His paternal ancestors may have come to these parts from the Don almost at the time of Ermak. Cossack origin was a special pride for Surikov - this is evidenced by the fact that Vasily Ivanovich directly called himself a Russian Cossack.
We know about Surikov’s early years, childhood, mainly from the work of the poet M. Voloshin. Shortly before the death of the painter, in 1913 M. Voloshin, working on a monograph on Surikov commissioned by I. Grabar, often met and talked with an outstanding artist.
In 1859, the artist’s father dies, his family is in a difficult financial situation. Praskovya Fedorovna was forced to rent the second floor of her house to the tenants, and she herself did not refuse casual earnings. Surikov graduated from the Krasnoyarsk district school in 1861 and entered the service of the provincial administration as a clerk. By this time, he had already decided that he would become an artist. Great luck and luck for Surikov was his acquaintance with N. Grebnev, who became his first mentor and teacher. Grebnev recognized the great potential in the teenager, and gently but persistently began to direct him in the right direction.
The governor of Krasnoyarsk P. Zamyatin also took part in the fate of the talented man, who sent a petition to Petersburg asking him to enroll Surikov at the Academy. Despite the fact that the application was accepted, the scholarship was refused to the Academy at the Academy. Industrialists from Siberia in those days were distinguished by the breadth of their philanthropic activities, did not spare money on cultural and educational work. Among them was the gold miner P. Kuznetsov, who undertook to provide Surikov with everything necessary for the period of his training at the Academy. At the end of 1868, Surikov with the industrial convoy of Kuznetsov went to conquer the art world. The road to St. Petersburg took two months.
However, Surikov was not immediately accepted to the Academy - he had to study a little at the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, where he “stuffed” his hand while painting plaster casts, only after that he was enrolled in the Academy as a volunteer. Surikov became a full-fledged student of the Academy in August 1870, having completed a three-year training program on his own.
Triumphs followed. Unfortunately, Surikov’s teacher P. Chistyakov, who guarantees overseas training for a gold medal, did not receive Surikov after graduating from the Academy. Six months later, Surikov was still offered a trip abroad, but he refused it, taking up the painting of frescoes in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Belokamennaya.
Thanks to the work in the temple, the artist received financial independence and a new environment. Once in Belokamennaya, Surikov immediately felt his native and permanently moved to the Mother See. The Menshikov in Berezovo created here, the Boyar Morozov, and the Morning of the Archery Execution brought Vasily Ivanovich a well-deserved recognition and a place among the outstanding painters of that era. After showing the “Morning of the Streltsy Execution” in 1881, Surikov became an active participant in the Wanderers movement, for as long as 26 years, leaving the Partnership only in 1907, realizing that this movement impeded the further development of painting.
As for the personal life of Vasily Ivanovich, it is necessary to note here his marriage with Elizabeth Augustovna Shara, concluded in 1878. They lived ten happy years; Elizabeth Avgustovna gave birth to Surikova two daughters. After a serious illness, she died in 1888, her death caused the most severe depression of Surikov. He stops writing and in 1889 leaves with his children in Krasnoyarsk, hoping to stay in the "city of childhood" forever.
Here, in the "small homeland", depression recedes. Almost forcibly, Surikov’s brother makes him start writing “Take the Snowy Town”. Surikov is fond of work, and already in the autumn of 1890 he returned to Moscow. The entire period of the 1890s was marked by a new substantial and coloristic search - and, of course, by new picturesque masterpieces, always exhibited among the “Wanderers”.
In this and the next decade, Vasily Ivanovich traveled a lot and often. He traveled to Siberia, the Crimea, the Oka and the Volga. Visited Spain, Switzerland, Italy, France. At the sunset of his life, Surikov remained fascinated by grandiose ideas. But, unfortunately, the Krasnoyarsk riot, Pugachev, and Princess Olga remained unfinished. While on vacation and treatment in the Crimea in 1915, Surikov writes his last self-portrait, which serves as a suitable illustration to the characterization given by Voloshin.
An outstanding Russian artist-wanderer died on March 19 (March 6 - according to the old calendar) in Moscow. Vagankovskoye cemetery was the last shelter of the artist.