TROPININ, Vasily Andreyevich
(b. 1776, Karpovo, d. 1857, Moscow)
Russian painter. He was a portraitist, representative of the Moscow school of painting, but painted also typical images of Russian life and everyday scenes.
He was born a serf and in 1790 was apprenticed to a pastrycook in St Petersburg. From 1793 he attended classes at the Academy of Art there, in 1799 becoming a pupil of the portrait painter Stepan Shchukin (1762-1828). In 1804 he was sent to work as a pastrycook and manservant on an estate in the Ukraine owned by his master, General Morkov. Tropinin's Ukrainian period (1804-21) was interrupted by frequent visits to Moscow. During these years he copied a great deal, drew landscapes from nature and also painted religious subjects.
He was freed from serfdom in 1823 and shortly thereafter he became a nominee to the Academy, then in 1824 he became an Academician. The following years were the most prolific for Tropinin. He settled in Moscow and opened up his own art studio. He continued to paint portraits, his models ranged from peasants to the members of the most noble Russian families.