- Project Runeberg -  Impressions of Russia /
168

(1889) [MARC] Author: Georg Brandes Translator: Samuel Coffin Eastman - Tema: Russia
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Chevchenko, who has suffered so much and written so
well.

Kramskoï was born in 1837, in a village in Little
Russia, near the town of Ostrogoïsk. His father was a
petty tradesman; his mother passed her life in the
kitchen. The boy received his first education in the
parochial school. At the age of seven, he began to
model Cossacks in clay; at thirteen he begged his
parents to let him learn the art of painting.
Permission was refused, for everybody in the town knew that
painters “go barefooted.” Having, in the mean time,
drawn everything he saw, and copied all the images in
the church, a year or two later he was sent to Vorónezh,
to the best sculptor there, but remained with him only
three months, being only sent on errands about the town,
and having no other amusement or recreation than a
flogging. From sixteen to twenty he roamed about
Russia, in all directions, touching up pictures for a
photographer who came through Ostrogoïsk. During this
roving life, which brought him an income of two rubles
and a half a month, he read everything he could get
hold of, and was especially enthusiastic over Gogol and
Lermontof. Finally, at twenty years of age, he entered
the streets of St. Petersburg, and was so fortunate as to
gain admission into the academy. He thought he was
standing in the temple of Art.

His disappointment was great. The instruction was
simply horrible. The drawing classes were tolerably
good, but the higher the student rose the worse was the
teaching. No attention whatever was paid to the
individuality of the young men, and there were always the
same biblical or antique subjects. It was then just
twenty years since Ivánof had suffered a similar
disappointment in the academy. But it was just in 1858 that

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