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Ermen Ivan
(1746 - after 1792),

"Weirdness full story of Ivan Ermeneva. Few mysteries are allowed for decades since the first, annoyingly later publication in 1834 of his works and biographical information, and even these meager" - wrote A. Savin, author of the only monograph on the artist ( 1982).

Since nothing has changed. Not found new documents. Did not increase the list of his works, consisting of a dozen titles. Significantly, little is known about the artist.

In 1767 the son of Ivan Ermen court groom graduated from the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. Here he was engaged in architectural classes at AF Kokorinov and JB Vallin de la Mothe, and graduated in the class of the picturesque S. Torelli , known for his allegorical paintings, executed with all the pomp of baroque style.

Tribute to Baroque and gave Ermen in the earliest of the known compositions, allegories "In marrying Crown Prince Paul Petrovich and Natalia Alekseevny" (1773) and "The welfare of Russia" (1774).

However, the most significant work of the artist, has ensured him a place of honor in the history of Russian art, was a series of watercolors 8 "Beggars". About its dating from the experts there is no single opinion. Apparently, the series is still made ​​in the period from the mid 1760s until 1775, that is, before the departure of the artist in Paris. Six sheets depict ragged blind old men and women, sometimes accompanied by a seeing-eyed child. Strong impression is made ​​devoid of these individual features, rigid, as tragic sculptures, figures, monumental towering against the low horizon. Two other watercolors - "Singing blind" and especially "The peasants at dinner" - features a genre of the theme, the closing of the works of contemporary Ermeneva - painter M. Shibanov .

However, none of the Russian artists, either before or after Ermeneva failed to show the human suffering on an epic dimension, fill them with a truly biblical sense, as he did.

In the spring of 1775 Ermeneva name listed among admitted to study at the Paris school of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. In France, the artist remained until 1788 Of all the things he has created here, now known only to a few drawings. "Genre Scene. Man at the table" and "Allegory" dated by the artist himself: "1788." Earlier dating of three other paintings offered AN Savinov: "Christ among the teachers," "Good Samaritan" (both the second half of the 1770s - early 1780s.), "The Adoration of the Shepherds" (no later than January 1781 .)
 As you can see, the subject of earlier drawings corresponds to the academic direction of the time. They are made ​​in the tradition of French academic school. The more important figures relating to the last month Ermeneva stay in Paris and showing his outstanding skill. On the one represented by household situation may be sad reflection of the artist. Another figure in allegorical form conveys a vague and heavy atmosphere of anticipation of impending terrible events. Ermen was forced to leave France on the eve of revolutionary upheaval.

On the latter, the St. Petersburg period the artist's life almost nothing is known. Not kept any product other than a miniature portrait of an army infantry officer (1792), which could be attributed with certainty Ermenevu. Nor do we know the date of his death.

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