Grand Prince Sviatoslav Kissing His Mother and Children after Returning to Kiev from the Danube. 1773
102.5 х 139.5 Oil on canvas Tretyakov Gallery, Hall 4

Akimov’s works of art were exemplary for this time. The artist turned to ancient Russian history for inspiration – in particular events from the tenth century. In this painting he portrays the Grand Prince Svyatoslav, son of Prince Igor and Princess Olga Svyatoslav, who was told of the assault on Kiev by the Pechenegs while he was staying in Pereslavl on the Danube. He returned to Kiev with his army and drove out the enemy. He was then greeted by his family whom he had rescued. When portraying events from Russian history, Akimov, who lived in the era of artistic Classism, completely ignored historical and national characteristics. His paintings depict heroes who are dressed in cloaks and togas and who have no resemblance to the actual inhabitants of ancient Russia. The artist’s objective was not to portray a true representation of the distant past in Russia’s history, but simply to take a historical event and use it as a vehicle for high art by instilling a "thirst for virtue" and heroism, and a striving to follow the example of great men, in the hearts of his fellow citizens.

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