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Shchedrin was born in 1792 in St. Petersburg into the family of a famous
sculptor Pheodosiy Shchedrin (1751-1825). His uncle, Semion
Shchedrin, a landscape painter, was considered to be the founder of
the Russian landscape genre. In 1800, Sylvester Shchedrin entered the Academy
of Arts in St. Petersburg, in which he specialized in landscape. He graduated
with honors and a gold medal, which gave him the right for studies abroad.
But he had to wait with his postgraduate studies because of the wars with
Napoleon (Napoleon's invasion of Russia started in 1812). Sylvester left
for Italy only in 1818.
In Italy, he studied the works of great masters of the past, worked much
himself. The biggest achievement of that period is New
Rome. The Castle of the Holy Angel (1823). It was a great success
and was imitated much. Sylvester himself was commissioned for 8-10 copies
of the picture, though he never copied it, but drew different variants
changing time, angle of view, details. His pension came to an end in 1823,
but he decided to stay in Italy as a freelance painter. His works of the
time were already so popular that he had many commissions to support himself.
He lived in Rome and Naples, working much out-of-doors, drawing nature,
bays and cliffs, views of small towns and fishermen villages. View
of Sorrento (1826), A
Terrace on a Seashore. A Small Town of Capuccini near Sorrento
(1827), A Porch Twined with Vines
(1828), Terrace on the Seashore
(1828) are the examples of his work. He liked to draw terraces in vines
with a view of the sea. In 1825-1828, he drew a lot of “terraces”, which
were a great success. For him they embodied the idea of harmony between
the lives of people, and nature. At the end of the 1820s, Sylvester Shchedrin
started to draw nighttime landscapes full of an uneasy, anxious mood. His
sickening might be the reason. After his early death in 1830, his friends
tried to bring Shchedrin’s pictures home, to Russia, but failed. Most of
his pictures are in private collections all over the world.
Russian Water-Colour in the Collection of Hermitage, Leningrad.
Moscow. Iskusstvo. 1975.