Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov

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Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov
Александр Андреевич Иванов
Sergey Postnikov [ru], Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov, c. 1873, oil on canvas after the 1846 daguerreotype, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
Born(1806-07-16)July 16, 1806
DiedJuly 3, 1858(1858-07-03) (aged 51)
Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire
EducationMember Academy of Arts (1836)
Alma materImperial Academy of Arts (1827)
Known forPainting
AwardsBig Gold Medal of the Imperial Academy of Arts (1827)

Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov (Russian: Алекса́ндр Андре́евич Ива́нов; 28 July [O.S. 16 July] 1806 – 15 July [O.S. 3 July] 1858) was a Russian painter who adhered to the waning tradition of Neoclassicism but found little sympathy with his contemporaries. He was born and died in St. Petersburg. He has been called the master of one work, for it took 20 years to complete his magnum opus The Appearance of Christ Before the People.[1]


Early years and education[edit]

Alexander Andreyevich was born to an art professor Andrey Ivanov. Aged 11, he entered the Imperial Academy of Arts and studied at his father's course together with Karl Briullov. For his good achievements he was awarded with two silver medals, in 1824 he received a golden medal for the painting 'Priam Asking Achilles to Return Hector's Body'. In 1827 he was honoured with the Big Gold Medal of the Imperial Academy of Arts for 'Joseph interprets the butler's and the baker's dreams' and was promoted to the XIV grade artists.

Ivanov's benefactors decided to send him abroad to study art, but required one more picture, thus he creates 'Bellerophon sent to a campaign against the Chimera'. In 1830 Ivanov departs to Europe, first in Germany, then to Italy.

Italian years[edit]

Ivanov's first works in Rome were copies of The Creation of Adam of the Sistine Chapel and some drafts of Biblical scenes. He dreamed to create an epic painting of the Messiah coming to people, but first he decided to try himself on lesser-scale picture. In 1834–1835 he finished Appearance of Jesus Christ to Maria Magdalena. The painting had great success both in Rome and St. Petersburg. The Russian Imperial Academy of Arts granted Ivanov an honorary academic degree in 1836.

He spent most of his life in Rome, where he befriended Gogol and was influenced by the Nazarenes.

The Appearance of Christ Before the People[edit]

Ivanov spent 20 years (1837–1857) in Rome, working on his greatest masterpiece The Appearance of Christ Before the People.[2]


Ivanov died of cholera on July 3, 1858. He was buried in St. Petersburg at the Novodevichy Cemetery. In 1936, he was reburied with the transfer of the monument to the Tikhvin Cemetery of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra.

Influence and critics[edit]

Critical judgement about Ivanov improved in the following generation. Some of the numerous sketches he had prepared for The Appearance have been recognized as masterpieces in their own right. The most comprehensive collection of his works can be viewed at the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.


A. A. Ivanov 1956 commemorative postage stamp of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.


  1. ^ Sibbald, Barbara (February 5, 2002). "If the soul is nourished..." Canadian Medical Association Journal. 166 (3): 357–358. PMC 99322.
  2. ^ Apresyan, A. (2020-01-25). "5 eccentricities of great Russian painters". Russia Beyond the Headlines. Retrieved 2020-02-19.

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