On the whole, the condition of the
painting is very good. It has not been restored. The canvas is not lined.
The artist’s absolute mastery of the technique and technology of painting
ensured that the paint has not crumbled or faded over the course of almost
130 years, and the painting has preserved its original colours.
The short life and work of the prominent Russian artist Cosma Nikiphorovich
Kudriavtsev is not only little known to the general public, but also to
specialists in art history. It is an annoying misunderstanding – and not
even just that. Rather, it is the result of a negligent relationship towards
one’s own cultural property. The discovery in a private St. Petersburg
collection of the superb canvas Abraham Casting out Hagar and her Son
Ishmael (with the artist’s signature!), never before reproduced, and
considered lost, as well as a large quantity of unpublished documents
related to the artist, preserved in the Russian State Historical Archives (RSHA,
res. 789, inv. 7, file 139; res. 789, inv. 8, file 7; res. 789, inv. 10,
file 9 and 146), allow us to establish a great number of facts about the
painter’s biography, and to draw a whole series of conclusions about his
personality and his creative legacy. Until the present time, the information
published about him has been limited to short references to him in the
Accounts of the Imperial Academy of Arts (see Account of the IAA for
1877–1878, St. Petersburg, 1879, p. 13; Account of the IAA for 1878–1879, St.
Petersburg, 1881, pp. 14, 18, 23), and the book put together by S.N.
Kondakov, List of Russian Artists for the Anniversary Directory of the
Imperial Academy of Arts, 1914: “Cosma Nikiphorovich Kudriavtsev. Student of
the Academy of Arts from 1871 to 1879. In 1873 and 1875, received two
second-class silver medals, in 1874 – a first- and second-class silver
medals, in 1876 – a first-class silver medal, in 1878 – a second-class gold
medal for the assigned theme “Abraham Casting out Hagar and her Son Ishmael”.
In 1879, he was awarded the rank First-class Artist of the first degree for
the painting “Christ and the Adultress”. The following list of medals could
also be mentioned: 26 May 1873, he received a second-class silver medal for
a life study; 2 March 1874, a first-class silver medal for a drawing; 18 May
1874, a second silver medal for the sketch The Triumph of Haman; 22 May
1876, a first-class silver medal for drawing from life (RSHA, res. 789, inv.
10, file 146, p. 2).