Konstantin Korovin: The First Russian Impressionist

Konstantin Korovin (1861-1939) was a notable Russian artist of the impressionist, art nouveau and realism periods, and a prominent theatre designer and writer.

Konstantin Korovin, Yaroslavna's Lament, 1909
Konstantin Korovin, Yaroslavna’s Lament, 1909

Key Details

Birth: Date: 5 December 1861, Place: Moscow
Death: Age: 77, Date: 11 September 1939, Place: Paris, France
Education: Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1878-1886); St Petersburg Academy for Art
Medium: Oil
Style: Impressionism

Konstantin Korovin, Okhotino. September, 1915
Konstantin Korovin, Okhotino. September, 1915

Art Education

At the age of fourteen, Konstantin Korovin entered the architecture department at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Quickly realising his true passion was for painting, he transferred from architecture to the painting department.

Konstantin Korovin, Balcony in the Crimea, 1910
Konstantin Korovin, Balcony in the Crimea, 1910

Artistic Style

Vasily Polonov, a professor at the Moscow School, first captured Korovin’s fascination for the emerging Paris technique beginning to be known as impressionism. It was while studying with Polonov that Korovin painted Portrait of a Chorus Girl (or The First Swallow) for which he later became known as the first Russian Impressionist.

Konstantin Korovin, Portrait of a Chorus Girl, 1883
Konstantin Korovin, Portrait of a Chorus Girl, 1883

Korovin divided his time between Paris and Okhotino, north of Moscow, where his home’s glass-enclosed terrace became the artist’s studio and social salon. One of his most famous works, The Terrace captures a social moment in this room. This is one of many works in which he has suspended in time a simple scene in the company of friends.

Konstantin Korovin, The Terrace, 1915
Konstantin Korovin, The Terrace, 1915

Occupation and Remuneration

It was in the theatre that Korovin made his living. He applied his artistic talents in costume design and onto larger canvases as a stage designer at both the Moscow Bolshoi and the St Petersburg Mariinsky theatres, as well as at La Scala Opera in Milan. He was so admired for his theatre design work on ultra-large canvases that the Russian Army consulted with him during the First World War for camouflage security for their headquarters.

Personal Life

Konstantin Korovin, Self Portrait, 1938
Konstantin Korovin, Self Portrait, 1938

Want to Learn More?

You might be interested in my Painting Academy course. I’ll walk you through the time-tested fundamentals of painting. It’s perfect for absolute beginner to intermediate painters.

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Happy painting!

Dan Scott

Draw Paint Academy

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Dan Scott is the founder of Draw Paint Academy. He's a self-taught artist from Australia with a particular interest in landscape painting. Draw Paint Academy is run by Dan and his wife, Chontele, with the aim of helping you get the most out of the art life. You can read more on the About page.


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