Ivan Fomich Khrutsky was born into a family of Polish gentry in the village of Ulka, Vitebsk region. Little is known about his youth. In 1827, Khrutsky came to St. Petersburg and in 1830 entered the Academy of Arts. The first known works are dated 1832. The composition of the works is very simple, but the artist is very precise with details. Already in the late 1830s his compositions become more and more complicated. The abundance of items painted with thoroughness and care roused admiration both in the public and the critics. The artist became very fashionable, everyone wanted his still-lifes to decorate their houses.
In 1836, Khrutsky was awarded the Major Silver medal of the Academy for his still-lifes. Though his still-lifes were of abundant success and the artist carried them out in dozens to secure his financial situation, he never dropped landscape painting and also executed nice genre pictures and portraits. Old Woman Knitting a Sock, brought him the Minor Gold medal of the Academy. In 1839 he was awarded the title of the Academician.
After his father’s death in 1840 Khrutsky left St. Petersburg forever and settled in the family estate Zakharevichi, Polotsk region. He did not drop painting, but completely changed the subjects; from now on he mostly executed commissions from Uniate churches and cathedrals of Vilnus, Kaunas and other cities of Lithuania. Besides religious paintings he also worked on portraits, such as I. I. Glazunov, Joseph Semashko (Metropolitan of Uniate Church), Mikolay Malynovsky and others. On the whole, Khrutsky is a little bit stiff and too naturalistic in portraiture, nevertheless there are some really good works. In the history of the Russian art he entered as the author of impressive still-lifes, maybe because they were executed for the mass market in accordance with the tastes of the public and nowadays practically every art museum has a sample. It’s a pity that his other works are difficult to find.
De l’histoire du realisme dans la peinture russe. Moscow. 1982.