A graduate of the Imperial Academy of Arts, Zabolotsky had been giving drawing lessons to Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841) during 1836–1837. Most likely the artist got acquainted with him chez the Filosofovs’ – the poet’s relatives. The portrait was painted in January – February 1837. The poet is depicted in the full-dress uniform of a cornet of the Life-Guards Hussar Regiment, which he was wearing after graduating from the School of Cavalry Junkers and Ensign of the Guard in 1834. But in connection with his exile to the Caucasus, following the poem Death of the Poet that he wrote in the wake of A.S. Pushkin’s death, he lost the right to wear this uniform. The portrait was kept in the house of Lermontov’s grandmother, E.A. Arsenieva, and later passed on to her brother A.A. Stolypin and his descendants.
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