Mokrytsky, Apollon

Image - Apollon Mokrytsky: The Artist's Wife (1853). Image - Apollon Mokrytsky: Portrait of Yevhen Hrebinka (1833). Image - Apollon Mokrytsky: A Girl during a Carnival.

Mokrytsky, Apollon [Мокрицький, Аполлон; Mokryc’kyj], b 12 August 1810 in Pyriatyn, Poltava gubernia, d 8 or 9 March 1870 in Moscow. Painter; full member of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Arts from 1849. He studied painting under Kapiton Pavlov at the Nizhyn Lyceum and under Oleksii Venetsianov and Karl Briullov in Saint Petersburg (1830–9). In spite of financial hardships, Mokrytsky successfully completed his course of study at the academy thanks, to a large extent, to the support of his Ukrainian compatriot Vasyl Hryhorovych. After working in Ukraine and visiting Italy Mokrytsky was appointed a professor at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture (1851–70). His students included Ivan Shyshkin and Kostiantyn Trutovsky. Many of Mokrytsky’s paintings, particularly the early ones, are executed in the style of academism. His later works, including portraits of Yevhen Hrebinka (1840) and Nikolai Gogol, a self-portrait (1840), and Italian landscapes, are painted in a lucid, more realist style. Mokrytsky played an important role in the process of purchasing Taras Shevchenko’s freedom; he introduced Shevchenko to influential Russian and Ukrainian intellectuals in Saint Petersburg, in particular, his teachers, artists Briullov and Venetsianov, and poet Vasilii Zhukovsky, who later helped to secure Shevchenko’s freedom from serfdom. Mokrytsky left a diary (published in 1975) containing, among other things, information about Shevchenko.

[This article was updated in 2020.]

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