Portrait of an unknown woman (1840s). Sergey Zaryanko (Russian, 1818-1870). Oil on canvas. Tumen Regional Museum of Fine Arts.

In 1843, Zaryanko moved to Moscow, where he taught drawing in Alexandrovsky Institute for Orphans and Moscow Architectural College. In 1846, he returned to St. Petersburg to teach drawing. He lived in St. Petersburg for 10 years and painted his best portraits there, such as this lady reading books.

Sergey Konstantinovich Zaryanko entered the history of Russian art as a good portraitist. He started as a pupil of Venetzianov, who managed to make him a free student of the Academy of Arts. Studying in the class of professor M. N. Vorobyov, Zaryanko continued to use Venetsianov’s advice: to try different genres, to paint from nature, to go from easier to more complicated things. Thus Zaryanko did not start with portraits, which made him famous, first he painted interiors.