Olga's Gallery

Semion Shchedrin Biography

Semion Shchedrin was born in St. Petersburg into the family of a Life Guard of the Preobrazchencky Regiment. In 1759, he entered the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg, and in 1765 graduated with a gold medal and grants to study abroad as a pensioner of the Academy. First Shchedrin went to Paris, then to Rome. In Paris he studied the works of old and contemporary painters. Under the influence of the Enlightenment, the idea that beauty exists not only in classic patterns of arts but also in everyday life and nature, Shchedrin worked much en plein-air. In Rome, however, he fell under the influence of classicism with its ideas that real life needed improvement by antiquity. Unfortunately he would not be able to overcome this influence.

Shchedrin returned to St. Petersburg in 1776 and became a professor of landscape painting in the Academy of Arts; besides, his duties were to draw views of the palaces and parks of Catherine II, the Great. View of the Large Pond Island in the Tsarskoselsky Gardens (1777), View of the Large Pond in the Tsarskoselsky Gardens (1777), View of the Farmyard in the Tsarskoye Selo (1777) are some examples. After 1780, Shchedrin also participated in the restoration of pictures in the Hermitage, in 1799 he headed a new class of landscape graphics. The prime of his art career is in 1790s. The most famous of his works of the period are views of parks and palaces in Pavlovsk, Gatchina and Petershof: The Mill and the Peel Tower at Pavlovsk (1792), View of the Gatchina Palace from the Silver Lake (1798), View of the Gatchina Palace from Long Island (1798), The Stone Bridge at Gatchina (1799-1801), View of the Kamennoostrov Palace through Bolshaya Nevka from the Stroganov Seashore (1803). The composition of all of his works is the same in accordance with the rules of academic classicism. His landscapes are comfortable, well balanced, and lyrical. But if compared with the best European landscape masters of his time, Shchedrin looks a timid student. His own pupils and successors, his own nephew, Sylvester Shchedrin, went further and made Russian landscape paintings of a very high level.


Russian Water-Colour in the Collection of Hermitage, Leningrad. Moscow. Iskusstvo. 1975.