He was born to merchant who was originally from Yaroslavl Oblast. In 1770, he was enrolled in the elementary classes at the Imperial Academy of Arts and later studied under Ivan Akimov. He graduated in 1785 and was awarded a gold medal for his painting of Hagar and Ishmael in the desert. In 1787, he received a fellowship to study in Italy, where he made drawings of the statues, especially those of Paolo Veronese and Guido Reni. Upon his return, he became a teacher of history painting at the Academy.
In 1794, he became a Candidate Academician and was awarded the title in 1797 for his painting of the legendary 10th century hero Jan Usmar. By 1800, he was a Professor and sat on the board of the Academy. In 1820, he became the Rector of History Painting.
He won the favor of a succession of Tsars and Tsarinas, executing large works at the Trinity Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky Monastery, Saint Michael's Castle, Kazan Cathedral and the church of the Finland Guard Regiment. He was also well known for his portraits of notable people outside of the nobility.
- Z. Zonova and A. Skvortsov, Григорий Иванович Угрюмов. 1764—1823, Leningrad (Saint Petersburg), Искусство (1947) 2nd ed., Moscow (1966)
- Nonna Alexandrovna Yakovleva, Григорий Угрюмов. 1764—1823, Leningrad (Saint Petersburg), Artists of the RSFSR Publishing (1982)
Media related to Grigory Ugryumov at Wikimedia Commons