|Night, Arkhip Kuindhzi, c 1905-1908|
Born in 1842, his parents died when he was 6. He endured a hard childhood, raised by an aunt and older brother and working at a church building site, grazing animals and working in a corn merchant’s shop. He received a rudimentary education from a family friend and then attended a local school.
At the age of 13 or so he went to the city of Fedosia, apparently hoping to study under Ivan Aivazovsky, but wound up studying under Adolph Fessler, a student of Aivazovsky. From 1860-1865, he worked as a retoucher for photographer Simeon Isakovich. Following that, he tried his hand at opening a photography studio of his own, which failed.
Following that, he moved to St. Petersburg and studied painting both at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts and on his own. By 1872 he was painting professionally. In 1874 he received a bronze medal at the International Art Exhibition in London.
In 1880 his work Moonlight Night on the Dnieper brought considerable fame. By 1882, Kuindhzi was a millionaire, not because of his work his work, but by real estate investing. He maintained a modest lifestyle, and donated much of his money to various charities.
During this time he returned to the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts, where he achieved full professorship in 1892. In 1897 he was fired for supporting student protests.
Kuindhzi died in St. Petersburg in 1910.
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