Kustodiyev was a famous portrait painter, whom the then dignitaries and rich people literally chased after. He gained fame in this capacity even within the walls of the Academy, writing a number of portraits of his fellow practitioners – in particular, exquisite and completely impressionistic in the performance “Portrait of I. Ya. Bilibin”, 1901.
Subsequently, the artist created a whole gallery of “Russia in the faces”; among the heroes of Kustodiyev are the famous “world artists”, G. Vereisky, I. Brodsky, K. Igumnov, M. Voloshin, F. Sologub, V. Mate, D. Mordovtsev,
Gradually, the intensity of work in this genre fell, and the style changed. In the end, Kustodiyev withdrew from impressionistic airiness and obsessive character, and to a greater monumentality and sculptural nature – an example of this approach is the “Portrait of RI Notgaft”.