Ivan Kramskoi was the famous Russian wanderer (peredvizhnik), painter and portraitist. He could remain in the history of Russian art, painting only a portrait of the Unknown Woman. This picture, one of the diamonds of the Moscow Tretyakov Gallery, is known to everyone in the territory of the post-Soviet states. It is called the Russian Gioconda.
However, the artist gave the world hundreds of paintings that delight and amaze viewers. Moonlight Night, Mina Moiseyev, Mermaids, Christ in the Desert are among them. Kramskoi became the ideologist of a whole generation of realistic artists.
The artist was born in the summer of 1837 in the Voronezh province. He was brought up in the family of an official-clerk. His parents wanted Vanya to become a clerk. However, their neighbor self-taught artist Mikhail Tulinov taught the little boy how to paint. Since then, the boy took a pencil and sketched the surrounding world at every opportunity.
At the age of 12 Ivan lost his father and went to work. He practiced calligraphy and helped the photographer with whom he traveled all over Russia.
In 1853 Kramskoi joined talented photographer Yakov Danilevsky, who taught the young man a lot. The artist moved from the provincial town to St. Petersburg.