Mefodii Georgievich Lukianov (1892-1932) was a close friend of Somov. Their friendship began in 1910 and continued some twenty-two years until Lukianov's death from tuberculosis. In a letter to his sister following the funeral, Somov wrote: I must be grateful for this good fortune, that I had such a great and devoted friend.
Letter dated 28 April 1932, p. 395
Lukianov modelled for Somov several times. A large oil portrait, dated 1918, is in the State Russian Museum, St Petersburg (Catalogue of the State Russian Museum, Leningrad, 1980, p. 308, no. 5545).
In 1928 Somov thought that he would: ...try to do some quick sketches that will be material for a portrait...I want to renew the ancient way of painting portraits as used by the Old Masters. Taking Lukianov as a model, Somov described his method: I make natural scale studies in pastel of Mefodi's head...two or three at one time. At the moment I have completed three studies.
Letter dated 23 August 1938, p. 341