(b St Petersburg, 16  July 1806; d St Petersburg, 3  July 1858). Russian painter. He was born in St Petersburg and studied there at the Academy under his father, the painter Andrei Ivanov (1772–1848). Most of his career was spent in Rome, where he settled in 1831. Initially he was preoccupied with subjects from the classical world, but partly under the influence of the Nazarenes (he was a friend of Overbeck) he turned to religious painting, and his fame is inseparable from his main work, which occupied him for twenty years, Christ's First Appearance to the People (1837–57, Tretyakov Gal.
, Moscow). This enormous painting achieved European celebrity long before its completion, but it had a disappointing reception when it was finally exhibited in St Petersburg in 1858, its Raphaelesque composition being at odds with the naturalistic setting and details, based on hundreds of preparatory studies. Ivanov accompanied the painting to St Petersburg and died there of cholera a few months afterwards. He had no immediate followers, but the moral sincerity of his work was influential on many Russian painters, notably Kramskoi and Repin: when Repin first saw Christ's First Appearance to the People in 1867 he pronounced it ‘the greatest work in the whole world, by a genius, born in Russia’.
Text Source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)