Portrait L. 98 x 79.5
One of the most famous paintings by Kramskoy is a magnificent portrait of the Russian classic Leo Tolstoy.
The background to the portrait is very fascinating. Pavel Tretyakov decided to put together a gallery of portraits of people whom Russia is proud of. Of course, even during the life of the legendary figure, the great writer should have been immortalized on canvas, however, Tolstoy did not give consent for a long time.
Then Kramskoy decided to try his luck, especially since he then lived near the estate of Yasnaya Polyana. Having reached the estate, the artist found a writer chopping firewood. Simple vestments, a long beard did not immediately allow the gentleman to be recognized.
Having spoken, Kramskoy kept returning to the request to paint a portrait, which he was resolutely refused. In the end, the artist announced that anyway, such a great person as his interlocutor would be embodied in the portrait only with other hands. Lev Nikolaevich knew Kramskoy’s paintings and decided that if there was no portrait at all, then let this talented judicious artist become his portrait painter, but he stated one condition - he would keep the portrait for himself.
As a result, Kramskoy began to paint two identical portraits in parallel, while working on two works with great pleasure. Now one of them can be seen in Yasnaya Polyana, and the other has been exhibited in the Tretyakov Gallery for more than a hundred years.