Valentin Serov (1865-1911) was a Russian artist best known for two things: his portraits, and for introducing Impressionism to Russia. I like his portraits much better, so I focus on those. Above, K. Pobedonostsev, 1902.
Self portrait of about 1885. Serov was the son of a composer and conductor, born into the artistic elite of St. Petersburg. As you can see from this work he was something of a prodigy, and several of his most famous paintings were done before he was 25.
Here is one of those early, Impressionist landscapes, Winter in Abramtsevo: the Mansion, 1886.
Later on Serov concentrated on portraits. He worked in several media: oils, pastels, charcoal. Sophia Botkina, 1899.
Anton Chekhov, 1903.
Female Model with Loose Hair, 1899.
The mysterious Botkin, who seems not to have even a first initial, and no date. Wonderful image, though.
Isaac Levitan, 1900.
Tsar Nicholas II, 1900.
Nadehda Derviz with Her Child, and detail, 1889.
Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, 1898.
V.P. Ziloti, 1902.
Writer Nicholay Leskov.
This is the only political work I have found of Serov's, ambiguously titled All Are Heroes, 1905. However, I read that he was a democrat, and that after the Tsarist crackdown that followed the 1905 revolution he resigned from the St. Petersburg Academy.
Izabella Grunburg, 1910
And a famous portrait of Princess Olga Orlova, completed not long before Serov's death in 1911. Serov once wrote, "There is nothing more difficult than talking about art."