Pavel Semyonovich Zhukov (Па́вел Семёнович Жу́ков) (Simbirsk, 1870 – Leningrad [St Petersburg], 1942) was a renowned Russian photographer who had a career spanning several decades.
As he was brought up by his aunt who was married to the poet and photographer Konstantin Shapiro (Wikipedia article, the link opens in a new window) he began his photography journey as an apprentice in St. Petersburg. As a young photographer, he was given the opportunity to visit the St. Petersburg College of Arts and the Academy of Arts in Rome, where he honed his skills as a portrait photographer.
Zhukov in the 1910s
Before the Russian Revolution, Zhukov took a series of portraits of some of the most distinguished personalities from Russian literature and art, such as Leo Tolstoy ("War and peace", "Anna Karenina" and others), Anton Chekhov (playwright and short-story writer, famous for "The Lady with the Dog", "Uncle Vanya" and "The cherry orchard" among others), Alexander Kuprin (best known for "The duel"), Pyotr Tchaikovsky (think about "Romeo and Juliet", "The Nutcracker" and "Swan Lake") and many others. In addition to capturing the likenesses of these famous figures, he also took many photographs in factories, theatres, shops, and on the streets of St. Petersburg, documenting the everyday lives of the people.
Zhukov in the 1920s
After the October Revolution, Zhukov was appointed chief photographer of the political administration of the Petrograd military district and he travelled to the fronts of the Civil War, taking pictures of military events, Red Army soldiers, commanders and political workers of the Red Army. In 1920, he was transferred to Moscow, where he photographed leading political and social figures, such as Mikhail Kalinin (Soviet politician and Old Bolshevik revolutionary), Anatoly Lunacharsky and Georgi Chicherin (both Russian Marxists and Soviet People's Commissars).
Zhukov in the 1930s
During the 1930s, Zhukov photographed 5-year-plan projects around the country, leaving a valuable visual record of the Soviet Union's industrialization. A large part of his collection is held in the State Archive in St. Petersburg.
The Siege of Leningrad
The Siege of Leningrad (Блокада Ленинграда) was the protracted siege of the Soviet Russian city of Leningrad by German forces on the eastern front of World War II and one of the bloodiest episodes in it. The German plan of attack that led to the siege was called Unternehmen Nordlicht. Zhukov died on February 9, 1942, by German troops.
Zhukov's archive, stored in his house on Nevsky Prospect, 18, was destroyed during the war years in a direct hit by a shell. Surviving works by Zhukov were reproduced in albums devoted to the history and culture of St. Petersburg and Moscow, the portraits of artists and politicians, made by him, were used to illustrate schoolbooks.
Photographing Lenin in 1920
One of Zhukovs most iconic photographs is the one of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known as Vladimir Lenin, which is considered one of the best-known photographs of the revolutionary leader.
We are offering a big photograph of Vladimir Lenin taken by Zhukov, in our collection. The photograph is made in 1920 — the photomechanical print we're offering is from February 13th 1981. This is a historic piece and testament to the skill and artistry of this famous photographer.
By the way, do you want to read more about Lenin? Why the pseudonym "Lenin"? We've got an article about Vladimir Lenin. And for the Lenin-collectors: we've got some new postcards with pictures of Lenin as well. Please note, the photographs on the postcards are mostly captures from newsreels or other photographers than Zhukov.