Vasily Polenov was a Russian landscape painter associated with the Peredvizhniki movement of realist artists. He was one of the first Russian artists who achieved a plein air freshness of color combined with artistic finish of composition. The principles developed by Polenov had a great impact on the further development of Russian (and especially Soviet) landscape painting.
Polenov’s sketches of the Middle East and Greece (1881–1882) paved the way for his masterpiece an interesting attempt to update the academic style of painting. In his works of the 1880s, Polenov tended to combine New Testament subjects with his penchant for landscape. From the 1870s, Polenov also turned to stage design.