Polenov was born in an intellectual and noble family. His father was a high-rank official and at the same time a historian-archaeologist. His mother was an amateur engaged in painting. Their son inherited both talents - scientific and artistic. In the paternal estate of Imochency on the riverside Oyat' in the Olonetskaya province young Polenov enjoyed wonderful Russian nature. And in 1858 he first saw "Christian people" And. And. He met with Ivanov. As it will turn out later, these two meetings will appear major in the fate of Polenov as an artist.