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The first finished work of the artist Vasily Surikov was the winter landscape “View of the monument to Peter I on the Senate Square in St. Petersburg”, it is curious that the artist painted two such paintings that are misleading to many viewers.
There may be several reasons for creating a second similar work: firstly, the artist was not very pleased, even in a letter to his relatives, he admits that the picture was not bad, but it was possible to write much better.
Secondly, at the exhibition in 1970, Surikov saw a picture of A.I. Kuindzhi “View of St. Isaac's Cathedral under moonlight”, this picture is similar to the work of Surikov, but with the difference that the picture is more attractive in the play of colors, in the second version, the painting of Surikov, thanks to the brighter colors, is even more similar to the work of Kuindzhi.
Vladimir Kemenov, who researched Surikov’s works, compared both versions of the picture and noticed that the landscape itself remained the same, only the small details (density of shadows, evenness of the tracks from the wagon, emphasis of the cold) that were noticed by an art critic or experienced artist changed.
An interesting version is that the picture is incredibly similar to Vorobyov’s work “St. Isaac’s Cathedral, a monument to Peter I”, which was painted 26 years earlier. Surikov in his picture changed only the time of year and the angle. Did Surikov see the picture of his colleague, or is it just an incredible coincidence, no one can say that Vorobyov’s painting is only known for the year it was shown in Russia, it happened in 1908, and the artist died 15 years before writing a painting similar to his own .
Be that as it may, “View of the monument to Peter I on the Senate Square in St. Petersburg” will forever remain Surikov's copyrighted work, despite all the speculations and assumptions of historians and art historians, because there is no direct evidence of plagiarism.