T00653 The Monastery at Zagorsk c.1911
Inscribed in cyrillic 'K. Yuon' b.l.
Oil on wood, 12 7/8 x 5 7/8 (32.5 x 40.5)
Bequeathed by Peter Provatoroff 1964
Prov: Peter Provatoroff, London (acquired in Russia c.1928-30)
The artist painted a number of pictures and studies of the Troitse-Sergieva Lavra (Monastery of the Trinity and St Sergius) from about 1903-23. The view from the south-east was a favourite one, which he painted at all seasons. This small picture is very similar to a larger painting 70.5 x 90cm in the National Russian Museum in Leningrad known as 'Spring. Troitse-Sergieva Lavra', which is said to have been painted in 1911 (repr. N. Tret'yakov, Konstantin Fedorovich Yuon, Moscow 1957, p.148). The other picture also shows the scene under snow but is viewed from a few yards further back and is slightly wider in format, so that it includes a little more of the buildings on the left. Nothing in the two works corresponds exactly, but they are so alike in general appearance (even with the same theme of birds in flight) that they would seem to have been done within a short time of one another.
The monastery, one of the richest and most strongly fortified in Russia, is situated about forty miles north-north-east of Moscow and was founded by St Sergius of Radonezh (1314-92). It was burnt down by the Tartars in 1408 and rebuilt soon afterwards with subsequent additions. The view shows the eighteenth-century belfry and the sixteenth-century cathedral of the Dormition on the left, and the surrounding walls and fortified towers. The town which sprang up round the monastery was renamed Zagorsk after the Revolution.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.766