Vasily Ivanovich Surikov was the foremost Russian painter of large-scale historical subjects. His major pieces are among the best-known paintings in Russia.
Surikov was born in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, where a monument to him was recently opened by his great-grandsons, Nikita Mikhalkov and Andrei Konchalovsky. In 1869-1871 he studied under Pavel Chistyakov at the Imperial Academy of Arts.
In 1877, Surikov settled in Moscow, where he contributed some imposing frescoes to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. In 1878 he married Elizabeth Charais, a granddaughter of the Decembrist Svistunov. In 1881 he joined the Peredvizhniki movement. From 1893 he was a full member of the St.Petersburg Academy of Arts. Surikov was interred at the Vagankovskoye Cemetery in Moscow.