Arkhip Kuindzhi was a landscape painter of Greek descent. He grew up in a poor family; his father was a Greek shoemaker. Arkhip was six years old when he lost his parents, so he was forced to make a living working at a church building site, grazing domestic animals, and working at the corn merchant’s shop. He received the rudiments of an education from a Greek friend of the family who was a teacher and then went to the local school.
In 1855, at age 13–14, Kuindzhi visited Feodosia to study art under Ivan Aivazovsky, however, he was engaged merely with mixing paints and instead studied with Adolf Fessler, Aivazovsky’s student.
During the five years from 1860 to 1865, Arkhip Kuindzhi worked as a retoucher in the photography studio of Simeon Isakovich in Taganrog. He tried to open his own photography studio, but without success. After that Kuindzhi left Taganrog for Saint Petersburg.
He studied painting mainly independently and at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts (from 1868; a full member since 1893). He was co-partner of traveling art exhibitions, a group of Russian realist artists who in protest to academic restrictions formed an artists’ cooperative which evolved into the Society for Traveling Art Exhibitions (Peredvizhniki) in 1870.
In his mature period Kuindzhy aspired to capture the most expressive illuminative aspect of the natural condition. He applied composite receptions (high horizon, etc.), creating panoramic views. His later works are remarkable for their decorative effects of color building.