The Unknown Speransky
Not only famous masters give us an idea of the times of their lives and work, but amateur artists as well. Their works, created to the best of their abilities, have mostly been preserved in family archives and known to only a narrow circle. At times imperfect, these pictures reflect the genuine interests of their authors and their perception of the surrounding reality. This article tells the story of one of such dilettantes, N.I. Speransky (1846–1905), a combatant officer, army lawyer, professor, and an amateur graphic artist. He began to draw when on active service at the Asian Front of the Russian-Turkish war. The boredom and monotony of Speransky’s garrison service in the remote Kars was assuaged by correspondence with his wife and by drawing, which he at first regarded as a way of chronicling his life away from his family and in an alien country.
Key words: N.I. Speransky, V.O. Kluchevsky, P.M. Boklevsky, the Alexandrovsky Military School, amateur artists, family collection.