Olga's Gallery

Zinaida Serebriakova

Portrait of Sergei Prokofyev.

1926. Pastel. 29 x 24.5 cm. The Theater Museum of A. A. Bakhrushin, Moscow, Russia. Read Note.

Zinaida Serebriakova. Portrait of Sergei Prokofyev.

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) - Russian composer and conductor, considered one of the greatest composers of the 20th Century. He left Russia after the Bolshevik revolution and spent many years in exile in Paris, the US and Germany. While in Paris, he worked with Sergei Diaghilev for his Ballets Russes. The Great Depression put the Prokofiev family in dire financial straits, and the composer turned to his erstwhile homeland for support, returning there in 1936. He fell out of favor with the authorities in 1948, with his work criticized and his political views questioned. His wife Lina was arrested on trumped-up charges of espionage and sentenced to 20 years of hard labor (she was released in 1953, after the death of Stalin and the political changes that followed). His works were banned from the stage and the concert halls, meaning the composer no longer had a way to support himself, and he quickly began accumulating debt. All of these events took a toll on the composer’s health and he died on 5 March 1953, the same day as Stalin, at the age of only 61.

His most famous works include The Love for Three Oranges, Lieutenant Kije, the ballet Romeo and Juliet, Peter and the Wolf, the opera War and Peace, as well as several of his piano concertos, sonatas and symphonies