Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821–1881)
Biografiia, pis’ma i zamietki iz zapisnoi knizhki / Biography, Letters and Notes from Notebooks
St Petersburg: Tipografiia A. S. Suvorina, 1883
Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky was born on 11 November 1821 in Moscow, Russia, the second child of a doctor. He trained as an engineer but instead pursued writing as a career path and published his first novel, Poor Folk, in 1845 followed by The Double in 1846. Through his membership of the Petrashevsky Circle, Dostoevsky was sentenced to death in 1849. His sentence was commuted to hard labour, served in Siberia, followed by mandatory military service. Dostoevsky’s most notable works after exile include Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov. He died on 9 February 1881, after suffering several pulmonary haemorrhages.
This portrait of Dostoevsky comes from the first volume of an edition of his collected works published in 1883. The engraving is signed by its artist, Viktor Bobrov. Bobrov was born to a merchant family in 1842 in the village of Gatobuzhi, St Petersburg province. Popular for his watercolour paintings of attractive women, Bobrov had taken up engraving after becoming inspired by etchings from Ivan Shishkin. Bobrov’s solemn black and white engraving, completed two years after Dostoevsky’s death, portrays the writer in the later years of his life.