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Russian architect and artist, Viktor Alexandrovich Hartmann, grew up in St. Petersburg. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg and at first started working by illustrating books.
In his work as an architect, he sketched, among other things, the monument to the 1,000th anniversary of Russia in Novgorod, which was inaugurated in 1862. His watercolors and pencil drawings were often made while traveling abroad from 1864-1868. Hartmann was one of the first artists to include traditional Russian motifs in his work.
In 1870, Vladimir Stasov, the most respected Russian music critic of his day, introduced him to a group of Russian nationalist composers known as the “Mighty Five.” He became close friends with members of this group, which included Mily Balakirev and Modeste Moussorgsky. Following Hartmann’s early death from an aneurysm at age 39, an exhibition of more than 400 of his paintings was displayed in the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, in February and March 1874. This inspired Moussorgsky to compose a piano suite titled, “Pictures at an Exhibition.” Most of this collection of underlying works is now lost.
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