In the Vasnetsov family, in addition to Victor, there was another famous artist - his brother Apollinar Mikhailovich, who became famous for magnificent landscapes and historical paintings. The sixth, the youngest child in the family of a parish priest of the Vyatka province, he was born on July 25, 1856.
At the age of ten, his mother dies, and at fourteen, after the death of his father, the boy remains an orphan. He continues to study at the Vyatka Theological College, now his older brother takes care of him, advising him to do drawing. The first painting lessons were given to him by the exiled Polish artist Elviro Andriolli.
Having finished his studies, at the age of 16, the young man moved to St. Petersburg to Victor and studied for the next three years, preparing to take exams for the course of a real school as an external student. Apollinaris continues to draw enthusiastically; acquaintance with famous Russian artists and their works has a great influence on him. However, at this time, he had such a huge interest in geology that he decided to enter the Geological Institute. Brother is very hard to dissuade from this step.
But life is preparing new surprises. Returning to Vyatka in 1875, where it was easier to pass exams, the young man is seriously interested in the ideas of populism. Unexpectedly for everyone, having passed the exams for the title of public teacher and refused to enter the Academy of Arts, the young man leaves to teach in the village.
In 1878, not receiving any satisfaction from work and completely disappointed in “going to the people”, Apollinar turns to his older brother, who, in response to his letter, sends him boots and a ticket to Moscow. From this moment on, his whole life will be devoted to painting.
He travels a lot in Russia, having been to the Caucasus, in the Crimea, a little later he visits France, Germany, Italy, writes magnificent landscapes. Since 1883, the young man begins to take part in exhibitions of the Wanderers, and one of his paintings, Gray Day, is acquired by P. M. Tretyakov for his gallery.
Having been in the Urals and Siberia, and amazed at the pristine beauty of nature, the master creates majestic paintings that amaze with their power ("Mountain Lake. Ural", "Kama", "Lake in Mountainous Bashkiria").
His works are very successful and famous, and since 1900 he is already an academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts.
The artist works with enthusiasm on sets for operas on historical themes: Khovanshchina, Ivan Susanin, and the Oprichnik.
In 1891, drawing illustrations for the anniversary publication of M. Yu. Lermontov, he became closely acquainted with historians and archaeologists. Apollinaris Mikhailovich begins to enthusiastically explore the old maps and plans of Moscow streets, read out the notes of travelers, studies the annals, and becomes a member of the archaeological society.
The changing face of ancient Moscow and the Kremlin is becoming his favorite subject. The painter creates a large unique cycle of watercolors and drawings, reproducing the historical images of the capital from the 12th century to the 20th century (“The Kremlin”, “On the Sacrum in Kitay-Gorod”, “Old Moscow”).
Starting in 1901, he will work at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, leading the landscape class for seventeen years.
Calm, gentle man, very erudite, he easily converged with people. In 1902, he married Tatyana Odoevskaya, and a year later they had Vsevolod, their only son.
Apollinaris Mikhailovich very joyfully welcomed the 1917 revolution, but soon everything changed. A year later, he was expelled from school, but he finds the strength to work further: he paints landscapes of his small homeland, continues the cycle of paintings, creating images of ancient Russian cities, the Moscow Region.
Since 1918, he leads the commission studying the old Moscow, makes reports, participates in excavations, writes and publishes literary articles.
Upon learning of the impending destruction of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the painter writes a letter to the newspaper, calling for the cancellation of this decision.
January 23, 1933 he was gone. In the apartment where the master spent the last thirty years of his life, a memorial museum was created, and paintings adorn the collections of major museums.