The Easel

Russian portraiture: Icons of early modernism

Although politically feeble, the last Russian czars presided over a remarkable cultural moment. Their last half century saw the emergence of Chekov, Dostoyevsky, Tchaikovsky, Tolstoy – and more. All feature in an acclaimed show at London’s Portrait Gallery. Taken together these portraits hint at a coming modernity in Russia and with it “the shattering of the old order”.